Local councils across Munster are urging small businesses to avail of a restart grant to help them to cover the cost of reopening after Covid-19.
The Business Restart grant is a national €250 million fund set up to help micro and small enterprises with the costs of PPE, floor markings, sanitisation stations and other new measures they have to adhere to.
The grant can also be used to pay ongoing fixed costs and to replenish stock.
Cork City Council has received 2,177 applications for the grant. 1,061 have been approved and 531 grants have already been paid out.
604 applications are currently in the validation stage, 118 are awaiting final approval, and 394 have been rejected as being ineligible.
John Hallahan, Cork City Council’s Head of Finance said: "We are surprised at the low level of uptake of the grant, which is approximately 30% of eligible ratepayers, but it is higher than the national average uptake.
"The application process is a straightforward online process, and any queries will be dealt with by a representative of the rates department."
To receive the grant, a business must have an existing rate account with Cork City Council, have an annual turnover of less than €5 million and employ between 1 to 50 people and have closed or suffered a projected 25% or more loss in turnover to the end June 2020.
The business must also commit to remain open or to reopen if it was closed and it must declare its intention to retain employees that are on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and to re-employ staff on the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment where applicable.
The closing date for applications is August 31 and they can be made online on www.corkcity.ie.
Cork County Council is also calling on businesses to avail of the fund.
Almost 2,000 businesses across county Cork have made online applications for the grant to date.
"Local businesses play a vital role in our communities and are crucial in our recovery from the effects of this pandemic," says Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Ian Doyle.
"I encourage all eligible businesses to apply for the grant, which may help to alleviate some of the pressures that our small businesses are currently experiencing."
Applications for the Restart Grant from Cork County Council can be submitted online at www.yourcouncil.ie.