Coronavirus: Localised Restrictions Support Scheme

News article

The Localised Restrictions Support Scheme provides financial support to certain 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, subject to some exclusions.

Do I need to reapply if localised restrictions are extended?
No, you only need to apply for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme once in relation to each premises. If your application is successful and localised restrictions in your area are extended, further payments will issue automatically.

This also applies to applicants who are waiting for the outcome of their application, and to those who have requested a reconsideration of an unsuccessful application, should the application/reconsideration be successful.

Be assured that the Department of Finance are working through applications as quickly as possible and they appreciate your patience.

Eligibility for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme is linked to the Health Protection Regulations. The Health Protection Regulations are published by the Department of Health. The Regulations are available in full – see the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (as amended). Guidance to accompany the regulations is available.

You can find further information on what the restrictions mean for you.

Only certain business that are affected by the Health Protection Regulations are eligible for financial support through the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme. Applications will be processed in line with the following financial regulations: 

The table below provides a summary of the restrictions on businesses that are relevant to this scheme. This has been provided for ease of understanding, and it does not replace or supersede the regulations referenced above. 

Date Businesses forced to close or severely restrict operations due to Localised Restrictions put in place through the Health Protection Regulations
5 October 2020 (Phase 1)

Certain businesses operating in Derry City & Strabane only including: 

  • Cafes, pubs and restaurants.
  • Hotels and guesthouses.
  • Other businesses including cinemas, museums, galleries, trampoline parks, inflatable parks, escape rooms, bowling alleys and ice rinks. 
  • Private libraries.

These Localised Restrictions were superseded by the Localised Restrictions that came into force across NI on 16 October 2020.

Phase 1: 5-15 October 2020, payment for 1 week and 4 days:

  • Lower rate payment: £1,256
  • Standard rate payment: £1,884
  • Higher rate payment: £2,516
16 October 2020 (Phase 2)

Certain businesses operating in any part of Northern Ireland including: 

  • Cafes, pubs and restaurants.
  • Hotels, guesthouses and bed & breakfasts.
  • Close contact services in 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, body piercing and tutoring relating to close contact services.
  • Other businesses including campsites and caravans parks for touring caravans, hostels, bunkhouses, cinemas, museums, galleries, bingo halls, funfairs, indoor amusement arcades, indoor visitor attractions, trampoline parks, inflatable parks, bowling alleys and ice rinks.
  • Private libraries.

These restrictions were in force until 10 December 2020 (though some businesses were allowed to re-open for 1 week from 20 November to 26 November inclusive).

Phase 2: 16 October to 10 December 2020, payment for 8 weeks:

  • Lower rate payment: £6,400
  • Standard rate payment: £9,600
  • Higher rate payment: £12,800
27 November 2020 (Phase 3)

Certain businesses operating in any part of Northern Ireland including:

  • Cafes, pubs and restaurants.
  • Hotels, guesthouses and Bed & Breakfasts.
  • Close contact services in 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, body piercing and tutoring relating to close contact services.
  • Other businesses including campsites and caravans parks for touring caravans, hostels, bunkhouses, cinemas, museums, galleries, bingo halls, funfairs, indoor amusement arcades, indoor visitor attractions, trampoline parks, inflatable parks, bowling alleys and ice rinks. 
  • Private libraries.
  • Retail businesses that are not permitted to remain open (those retailers not defined as “essential” in the Health Regulations).
  • Outdoor sports and exercise facilities including activity centres, equestrian centres, marinas and venues relating to motor sport and activity centres.
  • Outdoor visitor attractions, with the exception of play areas, public parks, forest and country parks and outdoor areas of stately homes, historic homes, castles and properties operated by The National Trust.
    Indoor sports and exercise facilities including swimming and diving centres, soft play areas, leisure centres, gyms, equestrian centres, venues relating to motor sport and activity centres.
  • Guest accommodation and self-catering establishments.

Sports clubs are not eligible for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme, however they may wish to review the criteria for the Sports Sustainability Fund.

These restrictions were in force until 10 December 2020.

Phase 3: 27 November to 10 December 2020, payment for 2 weeks:

  • Lower rate payment: £1,600
  • Standard rate payment: £2,400
  • Higher rate payment: £3,200
11 December (Phase 4) 

Certain businesses operating in any part of Northern Ireland including: 

  • Pubs and licenced clubs not serving food (food means a main table meal prepared in a permanent kitchen within the premises).
  • Indoor sporting events prohibited by the regulations.

Sports clubs are not eligible for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme, however they may wish to review the criteria for the Sports Sustainability Fund.

Phase 4: from 11 December 2020 onwards to 25 December, payment for 2 weeks and 1 day: 

  • Lower rate payment: £1,714
  • Standard rate payment: £2,571
  • Higher rate payment: £3,429
26 December 2020 (Phase 5)

Certain businesses operating in any part of Northern Ireland including: 

  • Retail businesses that are not permitted to remain open (those retailers not defined as “essential” in the Health Regulations).
  • A bed and breakfast establishment, hotel, bunkhouse, hostel, guest accommodation, self-catering establishment or guest house.
  • Close contact services – hairdressing or barbering, provision of beauty or aesthetics treatments including treatments in relation to nails or makeup, tattooing,tanning, services in spas, sports and massage therapy*, well-being and holistic therapies, dress fitting, tailoring and fashion design (unless social distance is maintained), body piercing, electrolysis, training in close contact service, driving instruction for the test of competence to drive a vehicle other than a motorcycle established by Article 5 of the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1981.
  • Outdoor visitor attractions including funfairs, inflatable parks, amusements arcades and skating rinks, but not including play areas, public parks, forest and country parks, and outdoor areas of stately and historic homes, outdoor areas of castles and outdoor areas of properties operated by the National Trust.
  • Indoor visitor attractions including bingo halls, museums, galleries and cinemas.
  • Campsites and caravan parks for touring caravans including motorhomes, except to provide facilities to a person in the event of an emergency.
  • Swimming and diving pools.
  • Indoor sports and exercise facilities including, soft play areas, leisure centres, gyms, equestrian centres, venues relating to motor sport and activity centres, except those limited activities permitted by the Department of Health.
  • Outdoor sports and exercise facilities including activity centres, equestrian centres, marinas and venues relating to motor sport and water sport, except as permitted by Regulation 5B (Sporting events).
  • Car washes except for the cleaning and disinfection of commercial vehicles for the purposes of food safety and controlling risks to human, animal or plant health.
  • Private libraries.
  • A business or a members’ club which sells or provides food or drink (including intoxicating liquor) for consumption on the premises.

Sports clubs are not eligible for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme, however they may wish to review the criteria for the Sports Sustainability Fund.

Phase 5: from 26 December 2020 to 5 February 2021, payment for 6 weeks:

•    Lower rate payment: £4,800
•    Standard rate payment: £7,200
•    Higher rate payment: £9,600


*All sports and massage therapy businesses that received LRSS and CRBSS previously will continue to do so. However, if a business receives the majority of its income from providing services which are not restricted by the current regulations they will not be eligible to receive support going forward and they should contact the grant awarding body to advise them of this.

If you consider that your business is eligible for support from the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme in line with current Health Protection Regulations, 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.

Exclusions

There are a number of exclusions to the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme, including:  

  • Businesses or services which were not restricted or subject to closure as a result of regulations 4B, 4D, 4DA, 4DB or 4DE of, or paragraphs 1(4) to 1(10) and paragraph 1(12) of Schedule 1 to the Health Protection Regulations. (Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (Amendment No. 24) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020). This excludes:
    • Essential retail businesses under regulation 4C of the Health Protection Regulations
    • Off-licences and supermarkets selling alcohol, which are solely restricted by closure times under regulation 4DC of the Health Protection Regulations
    • Premises solely restricted by latest ordering time of 11pm on takeaway orders under regulation 4DD of the Health Protection Regulations
    • Sporting events under regulation 5B of the Health Protection Regulations (defined as a gathering for the purpose of exercise, competitive sport, recreational sport or sport training, and dance of any type) 
  • Businesses which do not occupy business premises, such as businesses or the self-employed who rent space on a transient basis from the occupying business or those who operate from their homes or from a vehicle. The valuation of the property for rates purposes will be used to verify business premises, with the exception of guesthouses and bed & breakfasts which may be valued as a domestic property with a capital value.
  • Public sector bodies, NI Housing Executive or Housing Associations.
  • Businesses which have failed to comply with a COVID-19 prohibition notice served by the PSNI.
  • Businesses which were not open to the public and trading immediately before they were forced to close or severely restrict operations at their premises due to the restrictions imposed by the Health Protection Regulations. This exclusion does not apply to businesses operating as a wet pub which serves drink only (see table above).
  • Hotels, guesthouses, bunkhouses, hostels, bed & breakfasts, guest accommodation and self-catering establishments which have not received certification from Tourism NI under Article 13 of the Tourism (Northern Ireland) Order 1992.

Sports clubs are not eligible for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme, however they may wish to review the criteria for the Sports Sustainability Fund.

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.

You can find the NAV and full address 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 are in force. You do not need to wait until the end of the restriction period to receive payment. 

If localised restrictions are subsequently extended, support payments will automatically continue. Successful applicants do not need to reapply. 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, 955K). 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.

Also you should be aware that any errors in entering important data such as address, bank details or other declarations will result in the rejection of your application and a need to reapply.

Do I need to reapply if localised restrictions are extended?
No, you only need to apply for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme once in relation to each premises. If your application is successful and localised restrictions in your area are extended, further payments will issue automatically.

This also applies to applicants who are waiting for the outcome of their application, and to those who have requested a reconsideration of an unsuccessful application, should the application/reconsideration be successful.

Be assured that the Department of Finance are working through applications as quickly as possible and they appreciate your patience.

Localised Restrictions Support Scheme application form


Be assured that the Department of Finance are processing your application as quickly as possible. However, it may take 5 weeks or more to process your application. This is because of the time required to complete the necessary eligibility checks of your application. Your patience is appreciated.

When 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