The Government’s publication of the Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business is an important first step in supporting local communities and businesses to emerge from current Covid-19 restrictions, according to Fine Gael TD for Cork East and Minister of State at the Department of Justice & Equality, David Stanton.
Speaking after the roadmap’s publication, David Stanton said: “This document ensures that local communities and business in Cork East now have a definitive, five-step, phased re-opening plan for the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions and the gradual reboot of the local economy. I must acknowledge the hard work and diligence shown by those in maintaining restrictions locally and I have no doubt that this roadmap is welcome confirmation of the approach to be taken in returning the local economy to full operation.
“Some restrictions have been eased this week with the exercise distance being extended to 5km and provision for those cocooning to take daily exercise. However, it is of vital importance that we continue to physically distance and to follow health guideline in order to suppress the virus and reduce the spread of infection. Current restrictions will remain in place until Monday, 18 May when Phase 1 of the Roadmap is expected to begin.
“Under Phase 1 small groups will be allowed to meet outdoors while a phased return of outdoor workers will be facilitated in addition to the opening of mainly outdoor and home-ware retailers. Outdoor sporting and fitness activities for groups of up to four people will return and outdoor public amenities, beaches and walking routes are expected to open. Childcare services for essential healthcare workers will also be allowed.
“The roadmap aims to keep the rate of infection as low as possible while proportionately balancing continuing restrictions with the positive benefits brought about by the lifting of other restrictions. However, it has to be emphasised that the National Public Health Emergency Team will continue to closely monitor the rate of infection and should this increase when certain restrictions are lifted then they may need to be reintroduced”, said David Stanton.
The Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business and associated phases and timetables are available on the Government of Ireland website:
In addition to the roadmap, the Government has announced a suite of measures to help local businesses restart, rehire and reopen as soon as possible, provided it is safe to do so, including:
- A €10,000 restart grant for micro/small businesses based on a 2019 rates/waiver rebate;
- A three-month commercial rates waiver for impacted businesses;
- A €2 billion Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund within the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), which will make capital available to medium and large enterprises;
- A €2 billion COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme to support lending to SMEs for terms ranging from 3 months to 6 years, below market interest rates;
- The ‘warehousing’ of tax liabilities for a period of 12 months after the recommencement of trading which will be free of debt enforcement action and interest charge accruing;
- A commitment to local authorities to make up the rates shortfall, so that local authorities can continue provide full services to the public
The Department for Business, Enterprise and Innovation has also confirmed that applications are now being accepted for the new Enterprise Ireland €2 million Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme. The scheme is designed to help indigenous retailers to enhance their digital capability and increase their online presence in order to respond to domestic and international consumer demand. The scheme is open to those with a physical store and employing 10 or more people and successful applicants will receive financial support of up to 80 percent of eligible project costs, with funding ranging from €10,000 to €40,000.
The deadline for applications to the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme is Wednesday, 27 May. Further details on the scheme and the application process are available on the Enterprise Ireland website here: