Government supports for COVID-19 impacted businesses

There is a wide range of financial supports and guidance available to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Here are some practical stepssupports and guidance to help your business mitigate the impact of COVID-19:

Talk to your bank

All the banks have announced that they will offer flexibility to their customers, and they may be able to provide payment holidays or emergency working capital facilities.

Take steps to manage your cashflows

Look for scope to:

  • Lower variable costs
  • Delay discretionary spend
  • Extend your payables
  • Expedite your receivables
  • Explore supply chain financing options

Get advice

Get advice from your accountant or use the advisory support available from your Local Enterprise Office.

Engage with Revenue

Revenue has supports for businesses experiencing cashflow and trading difficulties arising from the impacts of COVID-19. Revenue’s COVID-19 information and advice for taxpayers and agents provides information on Revenue services and tax and customs measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic including information on tax returns, new ‘warehousing’ of deferred tax debts and interest suspension arrangements.

Avail of government supports

  • Credit Guarantee Scheme: The Credit Guarantee Scheme supports loans up to €1 million for periods of up to 7 years. Applications can be made to AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. Eligibility criteria apply.
  • COVID-19 Business Loans: Microenterprises can access COVID-19 Business Loans of up to €50,000 from Microfinance Ireland. The terms include a six months interest free and repayment free moratorium, with the loan to then be repaid over the remaining 30 months of the 36-month loan period. Loans are available at an interest rate of between 4.5% and 5.5%. Businesses can apply through their Local Enterprise Office or directly at microfinanceireland.ie. Eligibility criteria apply.
  • COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme: The €450m SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme for eligible businesses supports loans from €25,000 up to €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) with a maximum interest rate of 4%. Applications can be made through the SBCI website at sbci.gov.ie. Eligibility criteria apply.
  • Future Growth Loan Scheme: An additional €200 million in COVID-19 funding for the Future Growth Loan Scheme, which will be released in tranches, will provide longer-term loans to COVID-19 impacted businesses.
  • Sustaining Enterprise Fund: The Sustaining Enterprise Fund of up to €180 million is specifically aimed at firms operating in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors, with 10 or more employees, that are vulnerable but viable. The fund is operated by Enterprise Ireland, providing repayable advances of up to €800,000 as agreed with the EU under new State Aid rules.
  • Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprise: As part of the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, Enterprise Ireland will administer a specific Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprise. This fund will provide a short term working capital injection of up to €50,000 to eligible smaller companies to support business continuity and strengthen their ability to return to growth.
  • Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund: The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund will focus on investment in medium and large scale enterprises in Ireland through a Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund. The fund, worth up to €2 billion, will make capital available to medium and large enterprises on commercial terms.
  • COVID-19 Income Supports Scheme: The COVID-19 Income Support Scheme provides financial support to Irish workers and businesses affected by the crisis.
    • COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme: The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme, operated by Revenue, enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer through the payroll system. 
    • Pandemic Unemployment Payment: The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a payment of €350 per week. It is available to all employees and the self-employed who have lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MyWelfare.ie is the quickest and easiest way to apply for payments – all you need is your email address, PPSN and bank account details.

On MyWelfare.ie all customers can

  • apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
  • apply for Enhanced Illness Benefit for COVID-19 including for self-isolation cases
  • apply for a jobseeker’s payment
  • request to close their Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
  • Short-time Work Support: Employees of businesses that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short-time Work Support.
  • General grant supports: The full range of Enterprise IrelandIDA IrelandLocal Enterprise Office and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant supports continue to be available to eligible firms to help with strategies to access finance, commence or ramp-up online trading activity, reconfigure business models, cut costs, innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness. 
  • Restart Grant: The new €250m Restart Grant provides direct grant aid to micro and small businesses to help them with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures. The grant is available to businesses with a turnover of less than €5m employing up to 50 people, which were closed or impacted by at least a 25% projected reduction in turnover to the end of June 2020. The grants will be equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019, or a minimum grant of €2,000, with a maximum grant of €10,000. The application form is available online from all local authority websites.
  • Trading Online Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office Trading Online Voucher is a government grant scheme, designed to assist small businesses with up to 10 employees. It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help your business trade online. Businesses that have already received a Trading Online Voucher can now apply for a second voucher, where upgrades are required.
  • LEAN for MicroLEAN for Micro is available to Local Enterprise Office clients to help build resilience within small companies. Businesses can avail of consultancy support with a LEAN Expert or help to implement new remote working and physical distancing guidelines. 
  • COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme: Applications are open for the Enterprise Ireland Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme to support retail companies to enhance their digital capability. The call is open to indigenous retailers employing 10 or more people to develop a more competitive online offer in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Grants ranging from €10,000 to €40,000 will be awarded under the competitive scheme. The call closes on 27 May at 3pm.
  • COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant: The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant, worth up to €5,000, is designed to help companies to develop a robust financial plan, including the preparation of documentation required to support applications for external finance from banks and/or other finance providers. The grant is a new support for Enterprise Ireland clients and those manufacturing or internationally traded services companies that employ 10 or more full time employees.
  • Lean Business Improvement Voucher: The Lean Business Continuity Voucher is available to eligible companies to access up to €2,500 in training or advisory services support related to the continued operation of their businesses during the current pandemic. It is open to small, medium or large client companies of Enterprise Ireland or Údarás na Gaeltachta (including High Potential Start-ups). The voucher may be used to obtain services from approved providers. 
  • ‘Warehousing’ of deferred tax debts: The scheme, administered by Revenue, will ‘warehouse’ VAT and PAYE (Employer) debts associated with the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Commercial rates waiver: Commercial rates are being waived for a three month period beginning on 27 March 2020 for businesses that have been forced to close due to public health requirements. 
  • Cross-border companies: InterTradeIreland’s Emergency Business Solutions offers professional advice, to the value of €2,250, to address key business challenges related to COVID-19. The E-Merge programme provides €2,800 consultancy support to help cross-border businesses develop online sales and eCommerce solutions.
  • Food, drink and horticulture sectorBord Bia’s ‘Navigating Change’ COVID-19 Response programme offers a suite of supports for food, drink and horticulture businesses affected by COVID-19.
  • Seafood sectorBord Iascaigh Mhara is providing COVID-19 business support to the seafood sector.
  • Farm businessesTeagasc is available to provide support on issues facing farm businesses in light of COVID-19.
  • Restaurants to operate as takeaways:  Amendments to Planning and Development Regulations temporarily allow restaurants to operate as takeaways – whereby members of the public can order food for collection for consumption off-premises or have food delivered for consumption off-premises – without being required to obtain change of use planning permission to operate as takeaways.
  • Supply chain workers: The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department of Health have prepared COVID-19 guidance for supply chain workers. The guidance provides these essential workers with information as regards their continued work, the importance of access to sanitary facilities and the importance of maintaining all elements of the supply chain.
  • Tourism sector: In response to the COVID-19 crisis and the impact on the tourism sector, the Fáilte Ireland COVID-19 Business Support Hub is targeting its supports to respond to the most urgent challenges and threats tourism businesses are now facing.
  • Culture sector: The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has provided details of the COVID-19 supports for artists and those working in the arts sector.
  • Design sector: The Design & Craft Council Ireland delivers a range of support and development programmes, including webinars and FAQs in response to COVID-19.
  • Training and Mentoring: Enterprise Ireland’s eiLearn is an online learning resource where you can access over 400 pieces of customised content designed for Irish SMEs. The Local Enterprise Offices have moved training programmes, workshops and networking meet-ups online, covering areas such as cash management in a crisis, leading your business through COVID-19 and advice for employers impacted by the crisis – to find out more telephone or email your Local Enterprise Office.
  • Focus on skillsSkillnet Ireland is supporting enterprises, across 70 learning networks as they address issues such as business continuity, financial planning, digital transformation and service innovation. The network of Regional Skills Fora provides a single contact point in each region to help employers connect with the range of services and supports available across the education and training system. SOLAS provides training to companies and their employees through the Skills to Advance initiative and through online courses on the eCollege platform, which are now free to all learners.
  • Filing of annual returns: The Companies Registration Office has introduced changes to annual filing obligations for companies to assist companies during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • First Responder support service: The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation will provide a joint First Responder support service through the Intreo Offices and development agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in each region to provide tailored supports for impacted firms.
  • COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding: A Rapid Response Research and Innovation programme to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic has been developed by the government’s research and innovation agencies. So far, 26 projects have been approved €5 million funding under this national, coordinated research and innovation response to COVID-19.
  • Standards for medical supplies made freely available: NSAI and SAI Global have developed the COVID-19 Response Package which provides free access to Standards for medical devices and PPE.
  • Placing PPE on the EU market – new conformity procedures (HSA)COVID–19 Conformity Assessment and Market Surveillance procedures for PPE
  • Manufacturing and importing PPE and medical devices: The NSAI has produced a Quick Guide to manufacturing and importing PPE and Medical Devices to ensure compliance.
  • CCPC guidance on barrier masksGuidance for business on producing or distributing barrier masks
  • NSAI specification on barrier masksSWiFT 19:2020 barrier masks for consumers – Requirements
  • Online COVID-19 platform to help firms collaborate: Companies aiming to help healthcare responses to the COVID-19 crisis can collaborate via a new online COVID-19 platform. Spearheaded by InterTradeIreland and TechIreland, the cross-border platform allows businesses to see quickly, in and beyond their region, who they can work with to combat supply chain and manufacturing challenges generated by the pandemic.

Follow the roadmap for reopening business

The five phases of the roadmap for reopening society and business sets out Ireland’s plan for lifting COVID-19 restrictions including different starting dates for different business sectors:

The government approved the move to Phase 1 in line with advice received from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

List of additional retailers that can open from 18 May

Return to work safely

The Return to Work Safely Protocol is designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, when the economy begins to slowly open up, following the temporary closure of most businesses during the worst phase of the current pandemic.

Templates and checklists

The Health and Safety Authority’s COVID-19 checklists and templates – based on the Return to Work Safely Protocol – have been prepared to help employers, business owners and managers to get their business up and running again and to inform workers about what they need to do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Business continuity guidance

Posters and graphics for workplaces

The Department of Health has issued a range of COVID-19 posters for public use. Posters, leaflets and other resources for use in workplaces and communities are also available on the HSE website at COVID-19 posters and resources.

Download our guide to business supports

The Supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19 booklet details the key supports and resources available to help businesses.

Contact the Business Support Call Centre

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has established a Business Support Call Centre for information on the government supports available to businesses and enterprises affected by COVID-19.

Tel: +353 1 631 2002

Emailinfobusinesssupport@dbei.gov.ie

Occupational Health and Safety Helpline

For information on workplace health and safety please contact the Occupational Health and Safety Helpline.

Tel: 1890 289 389 or (01) 614 7000

Emailwcu@hsa.ie

COVID-19 related prevention and recovery measures in the workplace

For support in relation to improving your COVID-19 related prevention and recovery measures in the workplace, contact the NSAI COVID-19 helpline.

Tel: +353 1 807 3800

EmailCOVID-19-support@nsai.ie

Related information

For more information, advice and guidelines from across government visit gov.ie/covid19