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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. There are no set dates for implementation of steps but the Executive started to relax restrictions on 18 May 2020. The Executive have guidance on their regulations. The Economy Minister published a detailed recovery plan.


Finance Schemes Latest Updates written on white background


COVID Social Enterprise Fund

Fund information


£7m fund for Social Enterprises has opened today (28 September) and will close on 23 October 2020. The fund will be administered by Community Finance Ireland and will provide grants up to £75,000. 


Social Enterprises who meet all of the following eligibility criteria can apply:

  • A social enterprise with a base in Northern Ireland and/or primarily delivering services/activities to Northern Ireland communities
  • Have a legal format and governing documents/profit re-distribution policy that meets Social Enterprise NI guidelines e.g. Company Ltd. by Guarantee/Community Interest Company) 
  • Have been trading in excess of one year and have demonstrated sustainability.
  • Our funding need is directly as a result of the impact of COVID-19.
  • Have a clear understanding of the negative financial impacts of COVID-19 on the organisation over the six-month period March 2020 - August 2020
  • Are applying for funding to stabilise our short-term future cashflow need and to ensure resilience of business model

Find further information on the COVID Social Enterprise Fund

Winter Economy Plan


The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, set out the Winter Economy plan which includes:

  • Job Support Scheme
  • Extension of Self Employed Income Support Scheme
  • Extension of VAT defferals
  • Flexibility for businesses to pay back loans

Find out more about the Winter Economy Plan

Invest NI COVID-19 Grants


Digital Selling and Capability Grant

The Digital Selling and Capability Grant is aimed at helping retail and wholesale businesses grow online sales. The grant is part of a wider COVID-19 support package to help eligible businesses progress recovery plans, strengthen supply chains, develop new products and access finance.

DSCG can help any small or medium-sized Northern Ireland retailer or wholesaler prepare for growth, develop their customer base and find new markets by enhancing their digital offering, building e-commerce capability and increasing online sales.

The call for applications is open until 6pm on Wednesday 7 October 2020.

Find out more

COVID-19 Equity Investment Fund

The COVID-19 Equity Investment Fund will help early stage high-growth potential businesses in Northern Ireland access financing to progress their business plans and prepare for recovery and growth. 

Support, up to a maximum of 50% of the funding round, is available:

  • through equity investment or convertible loan notes of up to a maximum of £700,000; and
  • on pari passu terms (meaning on substantially the same terms) as other investors in the funding round.

Support in excess of £700,000 may be available by way of a commercial loan.

Applications for CEIF open on Wednesday 9 September. All legal documentation must be completed by 12 noon on 31 December 2020.

Find out more

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme


This scheme is now closed. Participating restaurants can continue to claim until 30 September. 

Find out more about the scheme

COVID-19 Charities Fund


The COVID-19 Charities fund is administered by the National Lottery (TNL). Applications for this fund will close Friday 21 August.

This funding programme will support this aim by providing financial support to charities who:

  • have lost income due to the impact of COVID-19
  • will not be able to cover unavoidable costs until September 30 2020.

Read more

Childcare Recovery Support Scheme


The Childcare Recovery Support Scheme is to support the reopening of childcare provision in July and August 2020, to ensure childcare is available as far as possible for parents who need it. There are two strands of the fund, Childminders and Daycare. Applications are now open.

Find out more

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

Update 15/07/2020

This scheme is currently closed. Applications open for the second grant on 17 August and will give eligible individuals a final grant of 70% of their average trading profits over a three month period provided your business has been adversely affected by COVID-19 on or after 14 July 2020

HMRC Guide

Find out more about the scheme

Check your eligibility

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: NOW OPEN

Update 06/07/2020

The Chancellor announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until October 2020. The scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June 2020. Find out more information on key dates.

View HMRC Guide on the scheme

Scheme is Now Open

Scheme Extension

From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.

The scheme closed to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3 week period prior to 30 June.

This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June, in order for the current 3 week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.

Find out 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

Business Rates Support


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

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan: NOW OPEN


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.


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


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


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


Apprenticeship Guidance for Employers


Guidance and temporary measures for employers that the Department for the Economy (DfE) is making to its apprenticeship programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

View guidance

BT Small Business Support Scheme


BT have launched their Small Business Support scheme; introducing a range of new measures to help small business boost their connectivity, cash flow and confidence. Through this scheme BT is:

  • helping small businesses fund the cost of an ultrafast business connection 
  • launching bursaries for UK tech start - ups 
  • helping small businesses go cashless

Find out more


COVID-19 Supply Chain Checklist


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


Tourism NI: Tourism Industry Scheme


Tourism Northern Ireland has announced the launch of the Website Development Programme 2020-21. The programme will assist tourism providers to market and sell their experiences through improved web provision given the market pressures within the post COVID environment. It will provide guidance to experience providers to enhance their website and provide financial assistance for necessary improvements thereto, including search engine optimisation, provision of the right content, and the use of the right tactics to capture sales.

Find out more

Enterprise Nation - Free Advice for Businesses


Enterprise Nation, supported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, is offering free advice to small and medium enterprises to help them recover from Coronavirus and the impact it has had on their business. Enterprise Nation is providing free access to the platform, until 31st December 2020, to enable small and medium sized businesses in need of advice and support to connect with business advisers offering to help.

Find out more

Guidance for Food Businesses wishing to Re-Open


Food Standard Agency (FSA) has published new guidance for food businesses who may have to undertake a rapid shutdown in response to Coronavirus. The guidance has been produced to assist Food Business Operators when a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the workplace results in a requirement to cease operations.

Read more

Deferred VAT Payments


The VAT payment deferral period ends on 30 June 2020. This means you’ll need to:

  • set-up cancelled direct debits in enough time for HMRC to take payment
  • submit VAT returns as normal, and on time
  • pay the VAT in full on payments due after 30 June

Any VAT payments you have deferred between 20 March and 30 June should be paid in full on or before 31 March 2021. You can make additional payments with subsequent returns.

Find out more

SERC: Skills Intervention Programme


The Skills Intervention Programme, funded by the Department for Economy, offers the opportunity for candidates to gain a recognised qualification in three pathways, Health and Social Care, Digital Skills and Leadership and Management. The courses, set to commence from 29 June for 8 weeks, are subject to specific eligibility criteria.

Find out more

Find Earlier Updates Below

Workplace Safety Guidelines


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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