Omicron: 450 businesses urged to apply for support grant before deadline

Finance Minister Conor Murphy with Catherine McClelland from Roar and Explore soft play. Picture by Matt Mackey

AROUND 450 hospitality businesses eligible for a Covid-19 support grant have not applied for the scheme, the Department of Finance has said.

The £40 million Omicron Hospitality Payment scheme was launched last month offering a one-off grant of either £10,000, £15,000 or £20,000, based on the rateable value of a premises.

Land and Property Services (LPS) estimated that at least 3,200 businesses would be eligible.

But despite the scheme being extended to hotels and soft play venues, hundreds of potentially eligible firms have yet to lodge claims.

The Department of Finance said with just seven days left to apply some £34.1m had been paid to 2,731 business.

Visiting Roar and Explore soft play in west Belfast, Finance Minister Conor Murphy said: “In recent weeks I have visited a range of different businesses which have benefitted from the Omicron Hospitality Payment.

“From speaking with business owners, it’s clear the scheme has been invaluable in helping them as they work to recover from the impact Omicron had on their Christmas trade.

“My department has delivered £34.1m of support to over 2,700 businesses. We believe around 450 businesses who might be eligible for the funding haven’t applied yet.

“I’m keen to ensure that no eligible business misses out on this grant and would appeal to them – don’t delay, apply today.”

Along with hotels, restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, bistros, snack bars, nightclubs, pubs, and social clubs, the scheme is open to sport clubs with a licensed bar or restaurant, and soft play venues, trampoline parks and inflatable parks with a café on their premises.

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