Covid-19 supports are set to be extended as the Government have announced the lifting of almost all restrictions.
As reported in The Irish Times, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar said workers and businesses “have been to hell and back”, adding that while restrictions will end, supports will not.
The move has been welcomed by businesses, as the reduced levels of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme were due to commence on February 1st. This has now been delayed by a month "for businesses that were directly impacted by the public health restrictions introduced in December 2021", a statement from the Government said.
A day of hope, and a day to look cautiously to the spring and summer. pic.twitter.com/zx1PsDTr3x
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) January 21, 2022
Meanwhile, recipients of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) will be given a restart payment of 1 week’s support to help with reopening.
The tax debt warehousing scheme, which provides liquidity support to businesses, will also be extended until the end of April.
From January 22nd, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will no longer be open to new applicants, while anyone remaining on payment will move to a weekly rate of €208 from March 8th.
From April 5th, remaining PUP recipients will be transitioned to standard jobseeker terms, if eligible.
According to Mr Varadkar, the delayed phasing out of the PUP will allow more time for the 80,000 people still getting the payment to get their jobs back or find new ones.
He said there will be no cliff edge, but there will have to be an end to the payments.
Along with the continuation of Covid-19 financial supports, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee announced that court fees and related excise duties for Special Exemptions Orders (SEOs) will be waived.
This has been welcomed by nightclubs and late bars which need to obtain SEOs every time they want to trade past normal trading hours. The price of the court fees and related excise duties usually cost €300 and of €110 respectively.
"I know that the lifting of restrictions will be warmly welcomed, perhaps no more so than by those working in nightclubs and late bars," Ms McEntee said.
"All licence holders, but particularly those serving in the late night trade, have found themselves in such a difficult situation as a result of Covid-19."
According to Ms McEntee, the Government is committed to supporting businesses and the nighttime economy to get back on their feet in 2022.
"We initially introduced the waiver in relation to SEOs for late night trade licence holders who traditionally trade past normal opening hours in October of last year, and I am delighted to be able to extend this exemption until the end of April 2022," she explained.
"It will be still necessary for the SEO court application to be made and the order to be obtained by the licensed premises."