Based on the latest ROI government announcement on March 24th, in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections, all non-essential businesses must cease operation. This includes all hair and beauty salons.
We know that this is daunting for small business owners and employees. In response so far the Government has made a €3 billion aid package available to combat the impact of COVID-19. This funding includes €2.4 billion to fund sick pay for workers infected by COVID-19, as well as €435 million contingency funding for the HSE.
As part of the wider package, there are a number of loan schemes which are being made available to businesses. For instance, Microenterprises can access COVID-19 loans of up to €50,000 from MicroFinance Ireland. Loans are available at an interest rate of between 6.8% and 7.8%. Businesses can apply through their Local Enterprise Office or directly at microfinanceireland.ie.
For your longer-term growth grants are available including:
- Strategic Consultancy Grant for SMEs to assist the company development of a strategic response plan.
- The Business Process Improvement Grant is used to support short to medium term company projects that improve efficiencies and business process improvements. Specific E-marketing support is available through this grant to develop and enhance your company’s capability to use the internet as an effective channel for business development.
A comprehensive list of these schemes can be found on the Gov.ie website.
Irish Ministers also gave the go-ahead for a scheme which will see the Government pay 70 per cent of a workers’ salary - up to a maximum of €410 per week - where the company agrees to continue paying the remainder of the salary. This is based on an average salary level of €38,000.
A Short Time Work Support is available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and is an income support payment for employees who have been temporarily placed on a shorter working week and is intended to help employers during periods of temporary difficulty.