Coronavirus: Wet Pubs Business Support Scheme

News article

The Minister for the Economy has launched a new Wet Pubs Business Support Scheme to provide support to wet pubs, whose premises were required to close or cease trading during the period from 4 July to 23 September 2020.  

The Wet Pubs Business Support Scheme (WPBSS) scheme is aimed at helping to keep companies in business and protect jobs, and to help prevent business closure and promote economic recovery. 

Eligibility Criteria

Who is eligible
Businesses meeting the following criteria will be eligible for the WPBSS:

  1. The business is named within the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020.

    AND
     
  2. The business is eligible for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme.
  3. The business was closed for at least one full week during the period 4 July to 23 September 2020. The applicant will be eligible to apply for the number of full weeks it was closed during this period.
  4. Wet pubs who have an attached off licence business are eligible for support if the wet pub element of their business was closed.  
  5. Businesses must have been actively trading before they were forced to close due to COVID-19 lockdown/restrictions. 

Exclusions
The following will be ineligible:

  1. Businesses who operated at a reduced capacity (for example those who offered a takeaway service only).
  2. Businesses which have failed to comply with a prohibition notice under regulation 7 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020(b)) would not be eligible for support under the scheme.
  3. Businesses that are: 
    • dissolved or about to be dissolved, insolvent or for whom insolvency action had been instigated; or
    • dormant - ie not trading but not insolvent.

Application process

There is no requirement to make an application for the WPBSS through an online portal.  The Department for the Economy (DfE) has worked with Land & Property Services to identify potentially eligible businesses within the ‘wet pubs’ industry.  

Once the payment for a business, identified as a wet pub, has been verified and processed for the Department of Finance Localised Restrictions Support Scheme, DfE’s Wet Pubs Business Support Scheme team will contact those potentially eligible businesses via email and provide a scheme supplementary information form to businesses identified as pre-eligible which asks businesses to declare when they were closed during the 4 July to 23 September period.  It is anticipated that all emails will be issued by 22 January 2021. 

The form must be completed in full and returned to WPBSSforms@economy-ni.gov.uk within five days of issue.  You will receive an acknowledgement email when the form has been received.

Find further information on the application process in the Wet Pubs Business Support Scheme - frequently asked questions (PDF, 409K).

Any business who has not been contacted by the Department for the Economy is not considered eligible for the scheme.

If you consider your business to meet the wet pub criteria set out in this guidance note, have received an LRSS payment and were closed from 4 July to 23 September,  and have not received an email from the Department for the Economy by 22 January 2021 then please email your details to wpbss@economy-ni.gov.uk.  You will need to provide evidence of how your business operates as a wet pub and confirm that you were closed for at least one week during the period 4 July to 23 September.   This information must be provided by 29 January 2021 

DfE will assess your details and if you are considered to be pre-eligible, based upon the evidence provided, will issue you with an invitation to complete a scheme supplementary information form. This should not be taken as a guarantee that your payment will be approved as other validation checks will be completed.

Data and privacy

You should note that your data will be shared and handled in line with the Department for the Economy’s Privacy Notice.

The Department reserves the right to publish the list of successful support scheme recipients. 

When completing the scheme’s supplementary information form, businesses will be asked to confirm they consent to their information being shared with other Government/public bodies for the purposes of fraud prevention and avoidance of misuse of public money.

Further information

The Wet Pubs Business Support Scheme - frequently asked questions (PDF, 409K) provide further information on the scheme and the verification process.  

If you have any queries about the Wet Pubs Business Support Scheme, please contact wpbss@economy-ni.gov.uk with as much information as possible relating to your request.  Please be aware that the Department is dealing with large quantities of queries on COVID-19 support schemes and will respond to your query as quickly as possible.  

When will I receive my payment?

Please do not contact the scheme mailbox for payment timescale updates. Information provided via the scheme’s supplementary information form will be verified as quickly as possible and payments made as soon as the verification process is complete.  If the Department for the Economy requires further information to validate your information, it will contact you by email so please monitor your email account regularly including the junk email folder.