Northern Ireland businesses forced to close due to new coronavirus restrictions will be able to access additional financial support, the NI Executive has confirmed.
The Localised Restrictions Support Scheme provides financial support to businesses which have been required to close or have had business activities at their premises directly curtailed by health protection restrictions that have been put in place by the NI Executive
The scheme is only open to businesses which have been required to close or have had business activities at their premises directly curtailed by the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020.
If you consider that your business is eligible for support from the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme in line with the legislation, you must apply online only. Support payments are only issued when an online application for the relevant business premises has been submitted and is found to be eligible for the support payment according to the scheme’s criteria.
The scheme is designed to support the occupying business in a property, not the landlord or managing agent. Applications must only be submitted by an authorised representative for the business which occupies the premises, such as the business owner, director or a senior manager. Landlords must not complete this application form on behalf of tenant businesses who rent their premises.
If you operate from more than one eligible premises, you may apply for support in respect of each one. You must complete a separate online application for each separate premises that you consider may be eligible for support.
Businesses must meet 3 eligibility criteria:
• The business must operate from a property within Northern Ireland
• The business must fall into at least one of the following categories:
• It has been registered with, or is in the process of registering with their local council environmental health department as a business operating in one of the following categories: cafe, restaurant, hotel, guesthouse (including registered bed & breakfast) or pub.
• It operates as a campsite or caravan park for touring caravans, cinema, a museum, a gallery, a bingo hall, a funfair, an indoor amusement arcade, an indoor visitor attraction, a trampoline park, an inflatable park, an escape room, a bowling alley, or an ice rink; or close contact services that operate from commercial premises (as detailed in the Health Protection Regulations) such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, day spas, nail bars and tattoo parlours.
• It is a business which has been required to close or has had business activities at their premises directly curtailed by the Health Protection Regulations.
• The business must have been open to the public and trading at the start of the restriction period set by the Health Protection Restrictions (unless the applicant business is a wet pub which serves drink only)
The following businesses are excluded from receiving support through the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme:
• Public sector bodies
• Businesses which have failed to comply with a COVID-19 prohibition notice served by the PSNI
• Off-licences and supermarkets selling alcohol solely restricted by closure times
• Premises solely restricted by latest ordering time of 11pm on takeaway orders
The level of support that successful applicants will receive is based on the Total Net Annual Value (NAV) of the property from which the business operates:
• Lower rate: £800 for each week that the restrictions apply for:
- a business that is the sole occupant operating from a property with an NAV of £15,000 or less,
- a guesthouse or bed & breakfast with a capital value (which means it is valued as a domestic property for rates); or
- a business that is a joint occupant of a property with any NAV.
• Standard rate: £1,200 for each week that the restrictions apply for:
- a business that is the sole occupant of a property with an NAV between £15,001 and £51,000.
• Higher rate: £1,600 for each week that restrictions apply for:
- A business that is the sole occupant of a property with an NAV of £51,001 or more.
You can find the NAV of business properties in the Non-Domestic Valuation List which is published online by Land & Property Services. Search the Non-Domestic Valuation List.
Support payments will be issued to successful applicants for the period that the localised restrictions apply. If localised restrictions are subsequently extended, support payments will automatically continue. Support payments will stop when localised restrictions are ended.
Further information about this scheme is available in the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme Guidance. You should read this guidance to check eligibility before you apply.
How to apply
You must use the online form which can be found in the below link to apply for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme.
Applicants should be aware that if any information provided on their application form is later found to be fraudulent or false, repayment of funding will be required.
Your application will be processed as quickly as possible. Please note that it may take up to 3 weeks to verify and process your application. If you have not received confirmation that your application has been successful within this period, the Department of Finance (DoF) may need to contact you for more information. DoF appreciates your patience.
If your application is successful, the support payment will be sent directly to your bank account and you will receive an email confirming that payment has been issued. Please note that payments may take up to 7 working days following the remittance email to appear in your bank account.
Urgent queries about your application can be sent to LocalisedRestrictions@finance-ni.gov.uk. Please ensure that you quote your application reference number in any correspondence about your application.