Cork County Council is acutely aware of the severe challenges facing business as we experience the unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government has mobilised a range of supports across many of its departments and it is vital that businesses familiarise themselves with the various options that are designed to help them through this difficult time. Below are set out a number of key supports along with links and contact points to get the very latest information on an ongoing basis.
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation is now operating a Business Support Call Centre advising on these supports for those businesses directly affected by COVID-19. This can be accesses at (01) 631 2002.
Our Local Enterprise Offices, along with their colleagues throughout the country, are providing ongoing information and support to you and we would urge you as an initial step to review the Business Continuity Planning Checklist COVID-19 which will identify a number of the key risks your business may be facing and the actions that you can take by way of response.
A range of Government supports are available to support your working capital during this time and these include the Credit Guarantee Scheme, the SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme, a €200m Package of Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructure Scheme through Enterprise Ireland for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business.
The latest Government announcement, addressing closures and daily updates is available here
The Local Enterprise Offices will be providing Business Continuity Vouchers to support business continuity preparedness, innovation and productivity. The Department is working on the detail of the LEO voucher and, as soon as this is released, we will be publicising it widely and will update the link here to the latest information. Critical for businesses right now is to undertake cash flow management and to this end the LEOs are offering free mentoring to help businesses address this. All our mentoring services for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency will be free.
The COVID-19 Business Loan from Microfinance Ireland is a government initiative to support small businesses through the current period of uncertainty and protect job creation or sustainment in Ireland. If your business is impacted or may be impacted by COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of 15% or more in actual or projected turnover or profit, AND you are having difficulty in accessing finance from commercial lending providers, the MFI COVID-19 Business Loan may be able to help your business. To find out further information and details on how to apply, click here.
If you have concerns about your ability to pay your tax liabilities speak to the Revenue Commissioners, who have advised:
"On an on-going basis, Revenue engages with viable businesses experiencing temporary cash flow or trading difficulties that affect the timely payment of tax. Revenue works very successfully with businesses that engage early to resolve their tax payment difficulties. Revenue will engage with any viable business that experiences temporary cashflow difficulties, including difficulties arising from exceptional circumstances such as the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.” See www.revenue.ie".
Revenue has also posted advice for businesses experiencing trading difficulties as a result of COVID-19. This includes information on tax returns, the application of late payment interest, debt enforcement, tax clearance and customs.
Further national supports that you need to be aware of are set out below:
- 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.
- The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has introduced a refund scheme for employers. Under an arrangement developed with Revenue, employers who have to temporarily lay-off staff and who are not in a position to make any wage payment to them, are asked to keep their employees on the payroll and pay them an amount of €203 - the equivalent of the COVID-19 Support Payment. When they submit payroll returns to Revenue via their payroll provider, Revenue will refund the employer the €203. Please see COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme for full details.
- For those workers who have been laid off without pay, there is no need to visit an Intreo Centre. The DEASP has introduced a new support payment for the self-employed who have lost business and to those who have lost employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This support pays a flat rate of €203 per week for a six-week period.
- The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant supports will be available to firms to help with strategies to innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness.
- 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, with objective of avoiding mass lay-offs and buying time for firms to work through the short-term disruptions.
- A Finance in Focus grant of €7,200 will be available to Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta clients that want to access consultancy support to undertake immediate finance reviews.
- Enterprise Ireland has a number of supports available to help businesses mitigate the impact of Covid-19. Their COVID-19 Business Response Plan outlines the COVID-19 supports available.
- The Department of Health has prepared COVID-19 guidance for supply chain workers.
- HSE information on COVID-19
- HSE COVID-19 guidance for the business and retail sector
- Department of Health updates
- Department of Foreign Affairs travel advice
- Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) advice and guidance including guidance for workers dealing with the general public
- DEASP information for employers and employees
- HSA COVID-19 advice including advice for employers and FAQs for employers and employees on home-working
- FSAI information on COVID-19 and food safety
- Data Protection and COVID-19
- EU Export Controls for Personal Protection Equipment
- Support for businesses impacted by COVID-19 through commercial rates deferral
- CIF Statement on COVID-19 and Construction