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Businesses should plan for how they can reopen while adhering to social distancing rules, says minister

Another package of business supports will be announced shortly, said Minister Heather Humphreys.

BUSINESS Minister Heather Humphreys has said companies should start planning for how they can reopen ahead of the government publicising its plans for the gradual lifting of the Covid-19 restrictions.

The minister said she is currently working with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe on putting together another package of supports to help businesses get back up and running.

“You should be thinking about contacting staff and looking at ways to use this time to think of innovative ways for your company.

“Be ready and be prepared. We cannot go back until such times are safe.

“I understand there are companies that want to get back to work. We will be making a decision on Friday. We have a plan and it will be finalised in the coming days,” she said.

Humphreys said businesses should start thinking about how they can reopen while adhering to public health guidelines such as social distancing and regular hand washing.

When asked about the plans for reopening the economy and what industries might be in the first phase, the minister said the government would be guided by medical advice.

She said the government was also looking at how people can continue to work at home in some cases.

“What I would say to companies is be ready, be prepared and we want to work with you. We cannot go back until such time as we get the medical advice, and we want to make sure that our priority has always been and will continue to be public health,” said Humphreys.

“I do understand that there are many companies that are out there that are very anxious to get back to work and we certainly will be making a further decision on Friday. In the meantime, we have a plan, it will be finalised, as the Taoiseach has said, in the coming day and there will be an announcement this Friday.”

The minister said that a number of businesses have been in contact about supports, but admitted that there were some delays in processing applications such as for the Microfinance loan.

“We are looking at a number of different supports that we can put in place to make sure that businesses get back up and running again and we’ll be doing that very shortly,” she said.

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