Foley Wants More Done To Help Small Businesses Reopen

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Deputy Norma Foley.

KERRY Fianna Fáil TD Norma Foley TD says some small business owners have been left without any government supports to help them out of the COVID-19 crisis and many fear they may never be able to reopen.

B&Bs and a wide range of other small businesses including some bus operators, tradespeople, community centres and others are excluded from the Business Restart Grant.

“The Coronavirus pandemic, and the restrictions which had to be implemented in the interests of public safety, has led to the effective shutdown of much of the economy over the past three months,” said Deputy Foley. “While efforts have been made to sustain businesses through this unprecedented shutdown, smaller businesses have been left behind.

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“B&Bs for example are a vital component of the tourism sector here in Kerry but they have been excluded from the government’s Business Restart Grant.  I am talking to B&B owners every day who are frustrated that they have been overlooked.  Many are unsure how they will be able to afford to reopen and comply with the new Covid 19 Stay Safe measures; for others reopening may simply not be an option.”

Deputy Foley said some small businesses are usually family run operations and the owners are also concerned about the impact that the loss of earnings will have on their children and their ability to qualify for the SUSI grant for third level.

“At the moment the grant is based on last year’s earnings, which will be in no way comparable to this current year.  I have previously asked for some leniency on applications for this year and am continuing to pursue it with the Education Minister,” she said.

Deputy Foley said she has raised this matter with the Department of Business and the Minister and will continue to work to establish what options and supports are open to these small business owners to ensure that they can reopen.

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