Eligible businesses affected by local and national coronavirus restrictions are being encouraged to apply for the latest round of Government grants.
Following the recent publication of a number of new Government grants, Durham County Council is contacting businesses that may be eligible for funding across the county to highlight the support available.
A page has also been created on the council’s website – www.durham.gov.uk/covid19businessgrants – where business owners can find out about the funding and the eligibility criteria, as well as applying for one or more grants online.
The new grants are:
• The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open): This is for businesses affected by restrictions on socialising between 18 September and 4 November. Businesses that remained open but were severely impacted by the Tier 2 restrictions introduced in the North East on 18 September may be eligible for a grant of up to £3,675 for the period up to the start of the national lockdown on 5 November. The support is specifically aimed at the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors, including hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, sports and leisure centres, local community buildings and charity shops. It also covers the supply chain to these businesses, such as food suppliers to restaurants and hotels. It does not cover businesses associated with personal care, such as hairdressers or tattooists, general retail businesses and garden centres, and businesses that operate from home, with the exception of registered bed and breakfasts.
• The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed): This is for businesses impacted by the national lockdown between 5 November and 2 December. Businesses that are required to close their main services in accordance with Government requirements during this period are eligible for a grant of up to £3,000. Businesses may also be eligible if the main part of their operation is closed but they are offering new services, such as ‘click and collect’ or takeaways. Suppliers to these businesses may also be eligible. This scheme is not open to businesses that can remain open but have chosen to close or those that operate from home, with the exception of registered bed and breakfasts. AirBnBs are also not eligible.
• The Local Restriction Support Grant (Sector): This is for businesses that have not been allowed to re-open since 23 March, such as nightclubs. Grants of up to £3,000 are available for four-week periods starting on 1 November 2020. It is not possible for these payments to be back dated.
Earlier this year, the council was among the fastest local authorities in the country to administer the first round of Government grants, with more than £104m paid to more than 9,500 businesses across the county.
A number of businesses praised the council for working with them to establish a simple claims process, which the local authority has sought to replicate this time, as well as continuing to provide quick, efficient support.
Having only received clarification on a number of matters on Monday evening this week the council has again sought to make these schemes available as quickly as possible.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Cabinet member for economic regeneration at Durham County Council, said: “We know how challenging the coronavirus restrictions have been for businesses in County Durham and across the country, and it is crucial we support those affected.
“In a situation where people’s livelihoods are at stake, responding quickly and efficiently is vital, which is why our staff have been working tirelessly to set up the application process as soon as possible after the full details were provided.
“This support is not only important for individual companies and their staff, but for the county’s economy, as businesses will play a key role in ensuring the resilience of our towns and villages as we move into the recovery phase of the pandemic.
“If you think your business may be eligible for one or more of the grants mentioned, please visit our webpage, www.durham.gov.uk/covid19businessgrants, to find out more and to make your application.”
As well as the latest national grants, the council and other North East organisations are offering a range of support programmes for businesses.
To find out more, visit www.businessdurham.co.uk/covid-19-recovery/covid-recovery-for-businesses. Advice and information about support for tourism businesses is available at www.visitcountydurham.org/covid-19.