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Government confirms details of reopened PUP scheme as ministers meet hospitality representatives

The top PUP rate of €350 is available to those earning €400 or more per week.

Image: Shutterstock

Updated Dec 6th 2021, 6:58 PM

THE PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT Payment (PUP) will reopen tomorrow for people who are laid off as a result of the latest Covid-19 restrictions introduced by the Government.

The payment will have five different rates when it reopens to new entrants. The top rate of €350 is available to those earning €400 or more per week.

Those earning between €300 and €399 will be entitled to €300.

People who were earning €200-€299 prior to being laid off will receive €250 and €203 will be paid to those in the €151.50-€200 bracket.

A new rate of €150 will be paid to those who had previously been earning less than €151.50.

The reopening of the payment is intended to support workers who lose their job as a direct result of the introduction of the new restrictions, which come into effect tomorrow.

The Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, announced details of the payment today.

“This is not where any of us wanted to be, however, reopening PUP for those directly impacted will provide vital support during these difficult times,” Minister Humphreys said.

“I want to assure everyone working in one of the affected sectors that should they lose their employment, my Department will be there to support them.”

Screenshot 2021-12-06 at 14.45.18

The minister added that the quickest and easiest way to apply for PUP is online via the MyWelfare website.

The Department of Social Protection will use Revenue data to verify employment status for all applications.

Hospitality

Representatives from the events and hospitality industries met with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Culture Minister Catherine Martin today. 

The government announced a number of new Covid-19 restrictions that will be in place from tomorrow until 9 January. They include a 50% reduction in capacity at indoor cultural, entertainment, community and sporting events. 

The current midnight curfew will also remain in place for hospitality with further social distancing measures and a limit of six people per table.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he would like to see theatres and gig venues staying open, despite the fresh restrictions.

“We don’t want people taking a financial hit in terms of organising concerts and events,” Martin said.

“We want theatres to be kept open, we want artists still performing and I believe the nature of targeted supports should be such that we can enable concerts like this to take place and also that they should be viable for participants.”

The Tánaiste and the culture minister co-chaired a meeting of the hospitality forum today to discuss the impact of the recent government decisions. 

Culture Minister Catherine Martin acknowledged the pressure the industry is under, speaking alongside the Taoiseach Martin and Tanaiste at Dublin Castle.

“I absolutely understand it is not financially viable for them to be at 50% capacity, but that’s the public health advice.

“So my focus is on now getting supports in place, a scheme that means they can keep their doors open even at reduced capacity. I’d hope to be in a position to announce something in the coming days on that,” she said.

Also attending this meeting was Elaine O’Connor, co-founder of the Event Industry Association of Ireland. 

She told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that the events sector is currently in its “worst scenario”. 

“We’re at our lowest ebb now, and while we’re grateful to be added in on this occasion to this meeting, we need more,” O’Connor said.

She called for focused meetings specifically for the event industry, more targeted supports and a cross-departmental taskforce on events. 

O’Connor said the industry has made clear that “70% capacity isn’t possible for us”.

“To run a gig at 50% capacity, you’d have to have been making 50% profit essentially beforehand,” she said, adding that 70% capacity was also a “struggle” to comply with. 

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Case numbers

The number of Covid-19 cases jumped by 10% in the last two weeks of November, new figures show.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) published figures that showed there were 30,243 cases reported in Ireland in the week ending 26 November, an increase of 10% from 27,536 in the previous week.

The research also shows that cases among those aged 14 or younger increased by 21% on the previous week and made up 27% of all cases in the week.

Almost one-third of cases were among people aged 25 to 44, while one in 20 were in those aged 65 and over, with cases in the age group 80-plus  decreasing by 11% on the previous week.

The latest figures also show that there were 249 people admitted to hospital with confirmed Covid-19 in the week ending 19 November, and 190 in the week ending 26 November.

Of these, 14 were admitted to ICU in the week ending 19 November and six in the week ending 26 November.

People aged 65 and over accounted for half of all those admitted to hospital through the whole period of the pandemic so far, from March 2020 to the end of last month.

Abroad

Looking outside of Ireland in Covid-19 news today, Italy has introduced new rules for unvaccinated people. 

People not vaccinated against Covid-19 are excluded from indoor restaurants, theatres and museums in a bid to reduce the spread of the disease and encourage vaccinations. 

Starting today and running until January 15, Italian police can check whether diners in restaurants or bars have a “super” green health pass certifying that they are either vaccinated or have recently recovered from the virus. 

The number of new Covid-19 infections in Italy has been on a gradual rise for the past six weeks, even before concerns arose about the new Omicron variant.

Additional reporting by Céimin Burke and Press Association

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