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Government to announce revamped restriction supports for businesses by Tuesday at the latest

Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath said that the Government was asking businesses to keep employees on their books if they can.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath.

PUBLIC EXPENDITURE MINISTER Michael McGrath said that the Government is examining additional supports for businesses impacted by the Covid restrictions announced last week as a precaution against the spread of the Omicron variant.

He said that announcement would be made by Tuesday “at the latest”.

McGrath said that his colleague Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Revenue are this weekend examining the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), and the Government is also considering a further scheme called the ‘Business Resumption Support Scheme’.

The CRSS was previously only available to businesses that were fully closed, or those that suffered a 75% drop in turnover. McGrath said that there would need to be “design changes and some eligibility changes” made to the scheme before it’s opened for applications in order for it to apply to businesses impacted by reduced opening hours.

Speaking to RTÉ’s This Week programme, McGrath said that they are considering various issues before finalising the support schemes – such as the supply chain sector, whose hours have not been affected by restrictions, but are dependent on businesses that have been restricted.

“Ware receiving the feedback, we are considering the issues carefully, and certainly by Tuesday at the latest, we will confirm the changes that are necessary to ensure that the supports are extended to those that need it most.”

McGrath acknowledged that the numbers of people losing their jobs as a result of the latest restrictions will be “significant”, and in the “tens of thousands” – but the Government is asking businesses to try to keep employees on their books using Covid supports from the State.

“We have, as you know, reinstated the enhanced rates, the full rates of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, and we have committed those already to the end of January.

“So where at all possible, we would ask employers to keep the employees in the books because maintaining that relationship and that connection has proven to be indispensable, and has helped us to see a really strong recovery in many sectors of the economy.”

The Covid Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is also open for applications online, he said, and will be open until the end of January.

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McGrath said that over €700 million has been paid out through the CRSS for about 25,000 businesses.

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