'Excluded' | 

Restaurant group to meet Tánaiste after claims half of businesses will miss out on Covid support

New restrictions will come into force from Tuesday and run up until January 9. These include the closure of nightclubs and strict social distancing in bars and restaurants

Chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins. Photo: Mark Condren

Laura Lynott

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) will meet ministers tomorrow to discuss Covid-19 business supports, with the group claiming half of businesses will be “excluded” from financial aid.

The RAI will meet Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Arts Minister Catherine Martin to discuss the Covid-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS).

Chief executive of the RAI, Adrian Cummins, said: “Effectively with the new supports, there will be more losers than winners with regards to the level of support needed for the hospitality industry.

“We are meeting with the Tánaiste and Minister Catherine Martin to discuss how best supports will be administered, so all businesses can be supported.

“When you look at the new CRSS scheme, nearly 50pc of businesses will be excluded from it. The threshold to be included in it, means many businesses won’t meet that threshold.

“It’s a disincentive to open. If businesses open, their level of income will go too high to avail of the CRSS scheme. Businesses will lose out.”

The details of the CRSS are set out in the Finance Act 2020. The scheme was introduced to support businesses significantly affected by restrictions introduced to combat the pandemic.

The stimulus will be available to eligible companies, who carry on a business that is affected by Covid-19 restrictions. The business must have been required to prohibit or considerably restrict customers from accessing their business premises.

Eligible businesses can make a claim to Revenue for a subsidy known as an Advance Credit for Trading Expenses (ACTE). An ACTE is payable for each week a business is affected by the restrictions. The ACTE is equal to 10pc of the average weekly turnover of the business in 2019, up to €20,000, plus 5pc on turnover over €20,000.

In the case of new businesses, the turnover is based on the average actual weekly turnover in 2020. The ACTE is subject to a maximum weekly payment of €5,000.

New restrictions will come into force from Tuesday and run up until January 9. These include the closure of nightclubs and strict social distancing in bars and restaurants.

The rules will see the sector wind backwards to the situation before October 22, with a maximum of six people permitted at tables and no multiple bookings.

Elaina Fitzgerald Kane of the Irish Hotels Federation has already said the new support "falls far short" of what is needed.

"It is devastating that the Government has failed to restore employment supports for hotels, despite the collapse in business levels witnessed throughout the country by our sector,” she said.

"We are calling on the Government to revisit this decision and urgently restore EWSS (Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme) supports to November levels.

"The Government's failure to support our sector is all the more disappointing given the assurance received that we would not face a cliff-edge in terms of financial supports, but this is exactly what has happened."

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