Businesses in England impacted by the Omicron variant during what would have been their busiest period of the year are now able to apply for a share of £700m funding.
The one-off cash grants of up to £6,000 aim to protect jobs and help businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors who were hit by a decline in footfall and a rise in cancellations before Christmas due to fears of the spread of the new variant.
The size of the grants will depend on the rateable value of the business and the funding is being delivered through local councils.
Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or more can apply for £6,000. Those with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 are eligible for a grant of £4,000 and businesses with a rateable value below £15,000 could receive £2,667.
The Government says businesses eligible for grants are those that offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises, in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation. Businesses that fall outside this definition will include, for example, premises where 50% or more of their income comes from takeaways.
This grant funding will come as a welcome relief for many hospitality businesses. Although the recent announcements appear to herald a return to normality, the sector has experienced difficulties over the Christmas period with many cancellations to bookings and a decline in general footfall for those with food and beverage offerings.
The provision of this grant aims to supply relief for those impacted by these issues due to the Omicron variant.
In addition, more than £100m worth of discretionary funding is also being made available for local authorities to support other businesses, such as those that supply the hospitality and leisure sectors, through what’s known as the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).
Some councils have already started to administer this latest round of funding and businesses are encourage to check their council’s website for details of how to apply.