Calls are being made in Clare for a scheme to help micro-businesses with the cost of re-opening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hundreds of businesses in the county have already applied for funding under the Government’s Restart Grant Scheme, but the funding is only available to those who are evaluated for rates.
It means that many sole traders have been left with no support.
The Government’s Restart Grant scheme will provide direct aid to small businesses to help them with the costs of re-opening following COVID-19 closures.
The grant is the equivalent of a business’ rates bill for last year, and is worth up to €10,000.
As of last Thursday, Clare County Council said it had already received a total of 614 applications and, given the challenges faced by businesses, says it’ll deal with applications as effectively as possible.
But concern is emerging that hundreds of traders, who have suffered a loss of income and extra costs as a result of the pandemic, are being sidelined.
These include the likes of B&B owners and sole traders such as gardeners or handymen.
East Clare Fianna Fáil Councillor Pat Hayes says it’s imperative that support is in place for businesses who didn’t pay rates.
Matt Purcell of Purcell Audio in Ennis is one of those who can’t apply for the grant.
He fears there will be irreparable damage to his sector and many others, without some form of support.
Michael Glynn, Clare FM, first for local news.