New grants for city businesses hit by Omicron restrictions
Applications are open now for three new grant schemes that aim to help Worcester businesses whose trade was damaged by the restrictions introduced in response to the Omicron Covid variant or who have struggled to adapt to the impact of the pandemic.
Funded by the Government, the three schemes are being administer by Worcester City Council, and city firms can apply to each of them now.
Shane Flynn, Worcester City Council's Director of Resources, said: "These latest grants are designed to help businesses that have suffered since the arrival of the Omicron variant and the resulting Plan B rules. The majority of the available support will be provided to the hospitality and leisure sector, although some funding is available for other businesses.
"Firms that have struggled to adapt to the impact of Covid in a broader sense may also be able to benefit from a reduction to their Business Rates.
"I would encourage Worcester businesses to act quickly, as applications for all these schemes will close before the end of February – and only a limited amount of funding is available under the Discretionary Omicron Grant, so that scheme may have to close early.
Details of the three schemes are as follows.
Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant
The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme is only for businesses on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) ratings list. It is a one-off grant of up to £6,000 for hospitality, leisure and accommodation business premises.
The primary principle of this grant scheme is to support businesses 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 sectors.
The deadline for applications is 28 February 2022. Businesses will need to allow up to 14 days for their application to be processed, in order for pre-payment checks to be carried out as required by Government guidance.
Discretionary Omicron Grant
This scheme provides funding for other businesses that are not eligible for the Covid Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant. The grant will help those premises-based businesses and organisations in sectors that have been significantly affected by the impact of the Omicron variant such as hospitality, leisure, travel & tourism, personal care, and events.
Grants of £500, £750 or £1,125 are available, depending on a business's rateable value or turnover, and the deadline for applications is 21 February 2022.
Funding for this scheme is limited and the City Council may need to close applications earlier if all the funding has been allocated.
Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF)
This new Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) is available to support businesses affected by the pandemic but which do not qualify for existing support linked to Business Rates.
Support will be provided as a discount on their Business Rates bill for the current financial year, rather than a cash grant.
The CARF scheme is aimed at businesses that have been unable to adequately adapt to the impact of the pandemic.
Applications must be made before 11.59pm on 21 February.