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Practical Steps for Businesses to take in response to COVID-19

1. Talk to your bank

 

All the banks have announced that they will offer flexibility to their customers, and they may be able to provide payment holidays or emergency working capital facilities. Engage with your bank as soon as possible to ease your cashflow issues.

 

If you require a cashflow loan and are unable to secure one through your bank, MicroFinance Ireland may be an alternative option for your business.

 

MicroFinance Ireland (MFI- the Government backed loan facility available via LEO) has extended its loan limit from €25k to a max of €50k under a new ‘COVID-19 loan scheme’ This ‘COVID-19’ loan

offers a full moratorium on repayments for the first 6 months (with no interest applied during the 6 months).

This will predominately be available to meet cash-flow/ working capital needs of microbusinesses. Visit the website https://microfinanceireland.ie/ or contact LEO Mayo on 094 9064299 for more information.

 

 

2. Take immediate steps to manage your cashflows

Look for scope to:

  • Lower variable costs

  • Delay discretionary spend

  • Extend your payables

  • Expedite your receivables

  • Explore supply chain financing options

 

 

3. Use available government supports for working capital

  • The Credit Guarantee Scheme supports loans up to €1 million for periods of up to 7 years. Applications can be made to AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. Eligibility criteria apply.

  • The €200m SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme for eligible businesses will be available within the next week. Maximum loan size will be €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) and the maximum interest rate will be 4%. Applications can be made through the SBCI website at sbci.gov.ie. Eligibility criteria apply.

  • A €200m Package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme is available through Enterprise Ireland for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business.

 

4. Get advice

 

Get advice from your accountant or use the advisory support available from LEO Mayo  https://www.localenterprise.ie/Mayo/Contact/

 

5. Check your insurance cover

Check if your insurance policy covers you for an interruption in your business, or a temporary business closure, caused by COVID-19.

 

6. Engage with Revenue

If you have concerns about your ability to pay your tax liabilities speak to the Revenue Commissioners, who have advised:
"On an on-going basis, Revenue engages with viable businesses experiencing temporary cash flow or trading difficulties that affect the timely payment of tax. Revenue works very successfully with businesses that engage early to resolve their tax payment difficulties. Revenue will engage with any viable business that experiences temporary cashflow difficulties, including difficulties arising from exceptional circumstances such as the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.” See www.revenue.ie.

Revenue has also posted advice for businesses experiencing trading difficulties as a result of COVID-19. This includes information on tax returns, the application of late payment interest, debt enforcement, tax clearance and customs.

 

7. Be aware of government supports

 

For example:

 

  • Employees of businesses that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short-time Work Support.

 

  • On Tuesday,  24 March the Government announced new measures to provide financial support to workers affected by the Covid-19 crisis. As part of these measures, Revenue will operate a Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. The scheme, enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer through the payroll system. The scheme is expected to last 12 weeks from 26 March 2020

  • For those workers who have been laid off without pay, there is no need to visit an Intreo Centre. The DEASP has introduced a new support payment for the self-employed who have lost business and to those who have lost employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This support pays a flat rate of €350 per week for a six-week period.

 

  • The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation will provide a joint First Responder support service through the Intreo Offices and development agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in each region to provide tailored supports for impacted firms, with the objective of avoiding mass lay-offs and buying time for firms to work through the short-term disruptions.

 

  • A Finance in Focus grant of €7,200 will be available to Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta clients that want to access consultancy support to undertake immediate finance reviews.

 

  • In addition to their current range of business supports to microenterprises, LEOs can also provide business continuity vouchers. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. For more information, visit localenterprise.ie/response

 

Related links

Checklist for business continuity planning

Business Continuity Planning: COVID-19 Checklist - The Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation has updated its checklist on Business Continuity Planning click here