Coronavirus: Localised Restrictions Support Scheme

News article

The Localised Restrictions Support Scheme provides financial support to businesses which have been required to close or severely limit operations at their premises under the Health Protection Regulations that have been put in place by the NI Executive

Online applications for this scheme can now be submitted in relation to all Northern Ireland council areas.

Applicants should read the scheme guidance (PDF, 916K) to check eligibility before they apply.

Applications already submitted in relation to businesses in the Derry City & Strabane District Council area will automatically be considered for the increased levels of support payment announced on 15 October 2020. Applicants do not need to reapply.

The scheme is only open to businesses which have been required to close or severely limit operations at their premises under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020. The Scheme will apply to businesses, subject to eligibility criteria, including:

  • Cafes, pubs and restaurants that are required to close or limit their services to a takeaway service instead;
  • Hotels, guesthouses and registered bed & breakfasts that have been required to limit the provision of services for residents only;
  • Close contact services (as detailed in the Health Protection Regulations) occupying commercial premises who have been forced to close such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, day spas, nail bars, tattoo parlours, sports massage therapy, wellbeing and holistic therapies, tanning, dress fitting, tailoring and fashion design, electrolysis and body piercing; and
  • Other businesses which, under the Health Protection Regulations are required to cease to carry that business or to provide that service, including campsites and caravan parks for touring caravans, cinemas, museums, galleries, bingo halls, funfairs, indoor amusement arcades, indoor visitor attractions, trampoline parks, inflatable parks, escape rooms, bowling alleys and ice rinks.

If you consider that your business is eligible for support from the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme in line with the legislation, you must apply online only. Support payments are only issued when an online application for the relevant business premises has been submitted and is found to be eligible for the support payment according to the scheme’s criteria.

The scheme is designed to support the occupying business in a property, not the landlord or managing agent. Applications must only be submitted by an authorised representative for the business which occupies the premises, such as the business owner, director or a senior manager. Landlords must not complete this application form on behalf of tenant businesses who rent their premises.

If you occupy more than one eligible premises, you may apply for support in respect of each one. You must complete a separate online application for each separate premises that you consider may be eligible for support.

Eligibility

Businesses must meet 3 eligibility criteria:

  • The business must occupy a property within Northern Ireland
  • The business must fall into at least one of the following categories:
    • It operates as one of the following: cafe, restaurant, hotel, guesthouse, registered bed & breakfast or pub. This will be validated through various local government and other official information sources.
    • It operates as a close contact services (as detailed in the Health Protection Regulations) and occupies commercial premises such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, day spas, nail bars, tattoo parlours, sports and massage therapy, wellbeing and holistic therapies, tanning, dress fitting, tailoring and fashion design, electrolysis and body piercing.
    • It operates as a campsite or caravan park for touring caravans, cinema, a museum, a gallery, a bingo hall, a funfair, an indoor amusement arcade, an indoor visitor attraction, a trampoline park, an inflatable park, an escape room, a bowling alley, or an ice rink.
    • It is a business which has been required to close or severely limit operations at their premises under the Health Protection Regulations.
  • The business must have been open to the public and trading at the start of the restriction period set by the Health Protection Regulations (unless the applicant business is a wet pub which serves drink only)

Exclusions

The following businesses are excluded from receiving support through the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme:

  • Public sector bodies
  • Businesses which have failed to comply with a COVID-19 prohibition notice served by the PSNI
  • Off-licences and supermarkets selling alcohol solely restricted by closure times
  • Premises solely restricted by latest ordering time of 11pm on takeaway orders

Support payments

There are three levels of support available to businesses who fall into the eligible categories listed above and whose application is successful. The level of support that successful applicants will receive is based on the Total Net Annual Value (NAV) of the property from which the business operates:

  • Lower rate: £800 for each week that the restrictions apply for:
    • a business that is the sole occupant operating from a property with an NAV of £15,000 or less,
    • a guesthouse or bed & breakfast with a capital value (which means it is valued as a domestic property for rates); or
    • a business that is the occupier of a part of a property which is restricted with any NAV.
  • Standard rate: £1,200 for each week that the restrictions apply for:
    • a business that is the sole occupant of a property with an NAV between £15,001 and £51,000.
  • Higher rate: £1,600 for each week that restrictions apply for:
    • A business that is the sole occupant of a property with an NAV of £51,001 or more.

Received your first support payment which is lower that the amounts listed above?

You will receive an additional payment shortly. The NI Executive announced the increased support payment levels on 15 October 2020, but the associated regulations will not be in place until the week commencing 26 October 2020.

In the interests of issuing support payments to eligible businesses as early as possible, eligible businesses whose applications are approved before the new regulations are in place will receive a support payment that relates to the initial payment levels (£400 per week for lower rate, £600 per week for standard rate and £800 per week for higher rate). Once the regulations for the increased support payment levels are in place, a further top-up payment will be issued to these applicants (£400 per week for lower rate, £600 per week for standard rate and £800 per week for higher rate). Those affected will receive a remittance advice email for each payment issued.

All payments issued after the new regulations are in place will be based on the increased support payment levels (£800 per week for lower rate, £1,200 per week for standard rate and £1,600 per week for higher rate)

You can find the NAV of business properties in the Non-Domestic Valuation List which is published online by Land & Property Services. Search the Non-Domestic Valuation List.

Support payments will be issued to successful applicants for the period that the localised restrictions apply. Businesses subject to restrictions from 16 October 2020 can expect to receive 1 full payment for the period the restrictions are in place as soon as your application is approved, you do not need to wait until the end of the restriction period to receive payment. For example, if an application for support in relation to a barbers in Belfast is approved on 31 October 2020, one payment will be issued for the full 4 week period that restrictions are currently in place.

Applicants from Derry City & Strabane should note that the 2 week restrictions in Derry City & Strabane only from 5 October 2020 are considered as separate to the 4 week restrictions put in place across NI. This will be reflected in the payment schedule. Full details will be included in the email to successful applicants.

If localised restrictions are subsequently extended, support payments will automatically continue. Support payments will stop when localised restrictions are ended.

Further information

Further information about this scheme is available in the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme Guidance (PDF, 916K). You should read this guidance to check eligibility before you apply.

How to apply

You must use the online form below to apply for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme.

Applicants should be aware that if any information provided on their application form is later found to be fraudulent or false, repayment of funding will be required.

Localised Restrictions Support Scheme application form


Your application will be processed as quickly as possible. Please note that it may take up to 3 weeks to verify and process your application. If you have not received confirmation that your application has been successful within this period, the Department of Finance (DoF) may need to contact you for more information. DoF appreciates your patience.

If your application is successful, the support payment will be sent directly to your bank account and you will receive an email confirming that payment has been issued. Please note that payments may take up to 7 working days following the remittance email to appear in your bank account.

Urgent queries about your application can be sent to LocalisedRestrictions@finance-ni.gov.uk. Please ensure that you quote your application reference number in any correspondence about your application.


First published 7 October 2020

  • Localised Restrictions Support Scheme Enquiries
    LocalisedRestrictions@finance-ni.gov.uk