Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Rena Donaghey, has today called on businesses in Donegal to apply for the Restart Grant from Donegal County Council.
“To date, 1,600 businesses have applied for the business Restart Grant in Donegal and over €3.4m has already been paid out by the Council with remaining applications currently being processed,” Cllr Donaghey said.
“I am delighted to see these businesses apply for this grant but I am keen to highlight that the scheme is still open until 31 August and I would urge all eligible businesses in Donegal to apply for this grant which I know has been a life line for many businesses who have incurred so many additional costs to simply comply with the public health requirements from Covid. We have over 5,000 commercial rate payers in Donegal so there are more businesses that are eligible to apply and I strongly urge them to do so.”
The Scheme offers direct grant aid to small businesses to help towards the costs associated with reopening or remaining open and re-employing workers following the Covid-19 restrictions.
To be eligible, applicants must be a commercially rateable business and have an annual turnover of less than €5 million and have 50 or less employees; have suffered a projected 25 per cent loss in turnover from April 1 to the end of June; commit to remain open or to reopen if closed; and declare the intention to retain employees currently on the temporary wage subsidy scheme.
The grant aid payable is based on the equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019, with a minimum payment of €2,000 and a maximum payment of €10,000.
The Cathaoirleach also acknowledged the proactive approach taken by Donegal County Council in supporting businesses during this very difficult time and referred to the role of the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) in supporting businesses during the Covid lockdown with almost 600 approvals under the Business Continuity Vouchers and 189 approvals under the Trading Online Vouchers. In addition 110 businesses received mentoring support from LEO over this period as well as a range of online webinars targeting various sectors and covering a range of issues.
The Radisson Hotel in Letterkenny was one such business that availed of various supports and Paul Byrne Managing Director believes that these supports helped to significantly ease the challenges in reopening the hotel.
“We were delighted to receive the Donegal County Council Restart Grant. The grant scheme provided a prompt, much needed cash boost after months of closure which was crucial to kick start the business, reemploy our workforce and implement a range of necessary measures to ensure the highest standards of health and safety throughout the hotel. I would encourage all Donegal businesses to avail of the range of government supports available which can really help to alleviate the pressure during the reopening phase.”
Christopher Molloy, co-owner and chef of the Lemon Tree Restaurant in Letterkenny also availed of the Restart Grant Scheme and said it was a crucial support towards the cost of building business adaptability and resilience in response to the challenges of Covid-19.
“We were delighted to receive the Donegal County Council Restart Grant which enabled us to hit the ground running with new equipment and e-commerce services, providing a much needed cash flow injection within a short space of time. We were able to quickly introduce a new web based click & collect service, a new on-street street food style hatch and outdoor dining.
“We were also able to introduce an innovative new ordering system which allows customers to access menus via a QR code from the table, minimizing contact. The Restart Grant enabled the business to innovate and adapt quickly, building greater resilience in response to the Covid-19 challenges and the application process was relatively straightforward.”
Applications can be made on-line at https://restartgrant.donegalcoco.ie/RESTART.aspx and the closing date for receipt of applications is 31 August 2020.