Coronavirus: Latest Updates

Read more on the latest updates about Coronavirus and how it might affect your business and what support is available for you.

Coronavirus Recovery Plan

The NI Executive have released their Coronavirus Recovery Plan, while there are no fixed dates for the implementation of the steps to recovery, it is expected that step one will begin to be implemented w/c 18 May 2020. Find out more

Businesses to Remain Closed

The NI Executive announced on 15 April 2020 that the NI wide 'lockdown' was extended, the NI Executive will review the measures again before the 30 May 2020. All businesses ordered to close must remain closed. 

Finance Schemes Latest Updates written on white background

 

Arts Council Funding

27/05/2020

Arts Council NI have announced two funding schemes for artists and art organisations. 

  • Artists Emergency Programme (temporarily closed)
  • Organisations Emergency Programme (opening 1 June 2020)

Read more

Artists Emergency Programme: TEMPORARILY CLOSED

This fund is temporarily closed due to a high volume of applications

Arts Council NI opened their Artists Emergency programme for applications on Monday 27 April 2020. This is a rolling programme. The Artists Emergency Programme (AEP), worth £500,000, offers freelance artists, creative practitioners and performers the opportunity to apply for grants of up to £5,000 each.

*Find out more*

*View Application Materials*

Organisations Emergency Programme

Arts Council NI will be administering the Organisations Emergency Programme which will offer individual grants of up to £25,000 to small-medium sized organisations. 

This scheme will open for applications on 1 June 2020. 

*Read more*

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

Update 26/05/2020

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate scheme is available to employers who need to reclaim employees' Coronavirus-related statutory sick pay. The scheme is now open for claims.

Claim now

Find out more

Microbusiness Hardship Fund

Update 26/05/2020

This fund is being made available to all micro-businesses in NI, including social enterprises, comprising one to nine employees and who have not been able to avail of the existing business support schemes. This fund is now open. You must check your eligibility, if you are eligible you will be directed to apply. Call the NI Micro-business Hardship Fund helpline on 0800 952 4422 or make an enquiry online.

Check your eligibility and apply

Read more

Business Rates Support

19/05/2020

A new package of business rates support has been announced by Finance Minister Conor Murphy. The sectors hardest hit by the pandemic pay no rates for the full financial year up until 31 March 2021. All other business will receive a one-month extension of the rates holiday up to 31 July 2020.

These sectors include; hospitality, tourism, leisure, childcare and retail (excluding certain supermarkets and off-licenses) 

Read more

COVID-19 Childcare Support Scheme

18/05/2020

The COVID-19 Childcare Support Scheme, a £12 million package of measures to support the childcare sector, has opened to eligible childcare providers.

The Department of Health has written to registered childcare providers and issued applications to those eligible to apply. Application forms for closed and open daycare and school aged childcare settings issued on Wednesday 6 May 2020. Applications for childminders and the Bespoke Approved Home Childcare Scheme issued on Thursday 7 May 2020.

Read more

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

Update 13/05/2020

This scheme is now open for claims. 

Those who believe they are eligible to claim should check their eligibility

To check your eligibility you will need your:

  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) Number
  • National Insurance Number

Claim now

Find out more about the scheme

Check your eligibility

Register for HMRC Webinar

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: NOW OPEN

Update 12/05/2020

The Chancellor announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until October 2020.

View HMRC Guide on the scheme

Scheme is Now Open

HMRC Webinar on Job Retention Scheme

An HMRC Webinar is available to understand the Job Retention Scheme. 

HMRC's free webinar will cover:

  • furloughed workers
  • who can apply for the scheme
  • following the rules of the scheme
  • how much may be claimed
  • how to claim and what you’ll need to claim

You can watch a pre-recorded version.

*Watch webinar*

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - How to make a claim

This webinar gives information on how to make a claim through the scheme, including:

  • essential information you need before you start
  • how to work out your claim
  • what happens after you submit your claim

A range of dates and times are available

*Register now*

COVID-19 Charities Fund

07/05/2020

Communities Minister Deidre Hargey has announced that a COVID-19 Charities fund will be made available, worth £15 million, to help support those local charities that have been negatively impacted by the current Covid 19 crisis.

More information is expected in the coming weeks.

Read more

£5k Innovation Voucher

04/05/2020

A call for applications is open from 4 May to 29 May 2020 at 3pm, for customers to avail of a £5,000 Innovation Voucher. This will allow businesses or potential entrepreneurs to work with a public sector knowledge provider e.g. SERC on an Innovation Project.

Applications are particularly welcome for projects that might help alleviate issues that businesses are facing as a result of COVID-19.

Find out more

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan: NOW OPEN

04/05/2020

The Bounce Back Loan scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Eligibility

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has been negatively affected by coronavirus
  • was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019

Who cannot apply

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • further-education establishments, if they are grant-funded
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

You cannot apply if you're already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), however, if you have received a loan through CBILS you can transfer it to the Bounce Back scheme. 

The Bounce Back loan is available through Danske Bank, Santander, Ulster Bank and Barclays. 

Businesses should apply directly through a lender.

Apply with Ulster Bank

Apply with Santander

Apply with Danske Bank

Apply with Barclays

Find out more

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme: NOW OPEN

Update 04/05/2020

This scheme is open. The Large scheme is now available to all viable businesses with a turnover of £45 million or more. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is available to small/medium sized businesses with a turnover of less than £45 million. 

Read more

Watch InvestNI Webinar

Intertrade Ireland COVID-19 Supports

05/05/2020

InterTradeIreland also has a number of specific Covid-19 programme supports available, including the Emergency Business Solutions and E-Merge programmes for businesses involved in cross-border trading.

Emergency Business Solutions

Professional advice, to the value of £2,000/€2,250 inc VAT (100% funded), is available for cross-border companies in manufacturing and tradable services, to address key business challenges related to Covid-19.

Find out more

E-merge

The E-Merge programme provides £2500/€2800 fully funded consultancy support to help businesses develop online sales and eCommerce solutions.

Find out more

Other Updates written on white background

 

COVID-19 Supply Chain Checklist

28/05/2020

NI Business Info have prepared a COVID-19 Supply Chain Checklist for businesses preparing to re-open. The checklist will help businesses to identify possible opportunities to improve their supply chain. 

Open checklist

 

Trade Credit Insurance Guarantee

22/05/2020

Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will get support from the government.

Read more

Guidance for Food Businesses wishing to Re-Open

22/05/2020

Food Standard Agency (FSA) has published new guidance for food businesses looking to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidance offers practical information and advice to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely in the food sector, specifically:

  • farming and agriculture
  • food manufacturers
  • restaurants and takeaways

There is a re-opening checklist published for businesses to use to prepare.

Read more

Tax Rules on Waiving Income

20/05/2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are choosing to give up part of their income to support their business or employers, or donate to charity.

HMRC is keen to support people who choose to waive - or give up – part of their income, particularly when it comes to understanding any tax implications.

Read more

Working Safely During Coronavirus

19/05/2020

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have released guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Read more

Find Earlier Updates Below

Workplace Safety Guidelines

12/05/2020

As an employer, you must protect the safety and health of everyone in your workplace. This applies to businesses who continue to operate under current the impact of coronavirus. 

Health and safety law requires employers to do ‘what is reasonably practicable’ to protect their staff and members of the public.

Read more

Priority Sectors

12/05/2020

The Department for Economy and NI Business Info has put together a list of priority business sectors, to clarify what constitutes a priority sector at this time. 

They have also released a workplace safety guide which includes practical steps for employees and employers.

Read more

NI Hospitality Sector Road to Recovery

11/05/2020

Hospitality Ulster, along with The NI Hotels Federation and BDO have produced a road to recovery document to outline how the hospitality sector can expect to re-open.

Read Document

Businesses against Scams

07/05/2020

Malicious email attachments, false government grant phone calls and CEO impersonation scams are among a raft of scams undermining businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The increasing risk has led National Trading Standards to launch Businesses Against Scams – a free online training tool to protect businesses, employees and customers from costly scams.

Businesses can take training to help them identify and prevent scams.

Find out more

£700 million City Deal investment will help Belfast Region bounce back from Covid-19

06/05/2020

Belfast Region City Deal partners have said that confirmation of the NI Executive’s match funding of new investment for infrastructure, regeneration, and tourism projects will help the region’s economy recover from the effects of Covid-19.

The announcement from the Finance Minister brings the overall investment in the Belfast Region City Deal to £850 million, including £150m from the Belfast Region City Deal partners.

Read more 

Guidance for Manufacturing PPE

06/05/2020

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is focusing on the key issues surrounding Government measures to protect the public during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. They have produced guidance for businesses on manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hand cleaning products to help them understand regulatory requirements.

Read more

Little Book of Cyber Scams

01/05/2020

Criminals, using computer technology, may attempt to commit different types of crime, ranging from the theft of personal information, the transfer of financial assets to the seizing of business computer systems for ransom. 

The PSNI have put together a "Little Book of Cyber Scams" to inform people on what to look out for in a scam and how to protect yourself from a scam.

View Little Book of Cyber Scams

Open4Business Funding Search

29/04/2020

The Open4Business portal provides businesses an opportunity to search a regularly updated directory of funding content. Businesses can search for funding specific to their industry and business size. 

Access the portal

Exporting PPE

29/04/2020

During the coronavirus outbreak anyone wanting to export personal protective equipment (PPE) to areas outside the EU and EFTA member states and certain other territories will temporarily need a PPE licence.

The Department of Health and Social Care has published guidance that sets out the exporting restrictions on PPE products.

The licencing procedure is being jointly operated with Department of International Trade. Any queries on the licensing procedure must be emailed to ppeexports@trade.gov.uk.

Read more

Earlier updates

Coronavirus Business Advice and Support

The AND business team is here to support you.

For further information or if you need help and advice, please get in touch via email or telephone 028 9147 3788