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Business Update: Monday 10th August 2020

Welcome to the latest update for our members. You may have noticed the slight change in the format. This is the first in our new series of Business Updates covering COVID-19, Brexit and other current business issues.

In this edition, we have info on the new mandatory regulations for face coverings and we also have info on the new Trader Support Service announced by the government.

If you trade between GB and NI it is essential that you register for this scheme.

The Chamber is conscious that for many businesses, Brexit has not been on their agenda because of COVID-19. The new NI Protocol will come into operation from the 1st January 2021 and it is important businesses understand what it means for them and are prepared.

In the coming weeks, the Chamber will be running a number of Brexit webinars to support businesses. Further info on the webinars is contained in the update below.

We also have info on Openreach’s Broadband Network, SRC fully funded courses and a reminder about the Chamber’s Golf Classic which is nearly fully booked.

Join over 12,000 people who follow us on Social Media:

Follow us on Facebook HERE.
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You can contact me at:

Colm Shannon,
Chief Executive Officer
Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade


From today, Mon 10th Aug 2020, it has become mandatory to wear a face covering in a relevant place. A relevant place generally means a shop or shopping centre.

As well as ordinary day-to-day shopping, a face covering is required in any other indoor place where goods or services are available to buy or rent.

This includes (e.g.) a bookmakers, a food takeaway business or a dry cleaner.

You must also wear a face covering on public transport.

The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, the wearing of a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.

It is not mandatory to wear a face covering in a business that is able to maintain social distancing by using a system of ticketing or appointments.

This might include (e.g.) a cinema, a hairdresser or a solicitor.

You don’t have to wear a face covering in a bank/business that operates like a bank.

There are circumstances where it is not possible to wear face coverings, for example, where you are eating or drinking in a pub, restaurant or café.

You don’t have to wear a face covering in a gym or other places where the purpose of your attendance is aerobic exercise.

If you remove your face covering to eat, drink or exercise, you should replace it as soon as practicable afterwards and maintain social distancing of at least 2 metres if you are in an enclosed space.

If you are in any doubt about whether you are required to wear a face covering, you are advised to use one.



In advance of the introduction of the NI Protocol to manage trade between GB and NI from 1st January, the gov’t has announced a new free-to-use Trader Support Service.

Backed by funding of up to £200 million it will complete digital processes on behalf of businesses importing goods into NI. It will become operational from September 2020 but you can register to use the service from today.

If you trade between NI and GB it is important that you register.

A further £155 million will be used to fund the development of new technology to ensure the new processes can be fully digital and streamlined.

The Trader Support Service will guide you through any changes to the way goods move between GB and NI as well as into NI from outside the UK.

You can also use it to get declarations completed on your behalf.

The service is outlined as part of the publication of new guidance on NI Protocol for businesses moving goods into and from NI. The new online pages can be viewed HERE and will be updated as implementation work and UK-EU discussions proceed as part of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee.

This provides further clarity to businesses following the publication of the Government’s Command Paper in May, with additional details to be outlined in the coming months to support preparations for the end of the transition period.

Businesses in NI can sign up for further information about the scheme from today, before it becomes operational in September 2020.

If you trade between GB and NI it is vital that register your interest for the Trader Support Service:

The gov’t also confirmed £300 million of funding to the PEACE Plus Programme to support peace and reconciliation across the island of Ireland.



As part of our support for businesses in the Greater Newry Area, Newry Chamber will be running a series of Brexit webinars in the coming weeks.

The transition period ends on 31st Dec and it is important that businesses are ready.

Our first webinar will be on Wed 26th Aug 2020. We are delighted that we will be joined by Katy Hayward, Professor of Political Sociology, Queen’s University Belfast and Senior Fellow in the UK in a Changing Europe Think Tank. 

Katy will give an overview of the key Brexit-related developments that have happened in the past few months and provide a summary of what we know and what businesses need to prepare for.

In early September, we’ll have further webinars on Services and Transport of Goods.

Details on how to register for these events will be published later this week.


The following SRC fully funded courses throughout September 2020 are:

• Open to companies with less than 250 staff.
• Private sector NI companies eligible only.
• Must operate for profit and not a charity or social enterprise.

Fully Funded Dreamweaver Adobe Level 2 Course:
This course will allow individuals to quickly create and publish web pages almost anywhere with web design software that supports HTML, CSS, JavaScript and more.

Fully Funded InDesign Adobe Level 2 Course:
Adobe InDesign is a desktop publishing and typesetting software application produced by Adobe Systems. It can be used to create works such as posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, presentations, books and ebooks.

Fully Funded Cyber Security Course:
This introduction to cyber security course covers three main areas:

  1. Be aware of physical and virtual risks to security of information and strategies to prevent this occurring.
  2. Be able to install and update protection software and passwords to minimise unauthorised access.
  3. Be able to protect data on devices vulnerable to unauthorised access.

Fully Funded Adobe Photoshop Level 2:
The Adobe Photoshop course is designed for individuals who want to learn more about this industry standard graphic design software package.

Microsoft Excel Newry Course – £75.00:
This course demonstrates how Microsoft Excel can be used to improve productivity and is a time saving tool for manipulating numeric or statistical data.

The course will provide practical experience of:

  1. Creating and managing workbooks
  2. Manage data cells and ranges
  3. Perform operations with formulas and functions
  4. Create charts and objects



With many people working from home, good broadband is an essential requirement for your job, rather than just something to support your home entertainment. 

On behalf of our members, Newry Chamber has recently engaged with Openreach about the roll out of their broadband network in the Greater Newry Area.

Newry has been identified as a key area for their programme to deliver superfast and fibre coverage.

In addition to Openreach’s Commercial Build Plan there are government funded options available for properties currently outside of the Commercial Build Plan.

The Universal Service Obligation is an undertaking by the BT Group on behalf of the government for those with speeds of under 10 Mbps.   

The USO is chiefly a fixed wireless mobile data solution. Initially an assessment is made to see if it is possible for the householder to achieve 10 Mbps via a fixed line mobile data connection.   

We understand that BT Group are in the process of writing to householders who qualify for the USO with information about how they can apply.

You can find info about the solutions offered, the criteria and how to apply HERE.  

The second option is Project Stratum. This is the NI Assembly Project to bring gigabit capable broadband to households who are achieving less than 30 Mbps.  

There is currently a closed competitive tender process underway with guidance that a contract will be awarded to the successful bidder in the Autumn. 

There are approximately 79,000 addresses in the Stratum Intervention Area and the build work to those properties included is to be completed by March 2024. 

You can check if an address is in the Stratum Intervention Area HERE.

The third option is a Community Fibre Partnership, an Openreach scheme helping homes and business to avail of DCMS Rural Gigabit Broadband Vouchers. 

Households with less than 30 mbps broadband speed can claim £1,500 and businesses £3,500 towards the cost of building a full fibre broadband connection. There is also an option for properties with speeds between 30 to 100 Mbps.

The vouchers can be pooled as part of a scheme to upgrade a neighbourhood. Openreach puts a joint funding arrangement in place, which means they contribute some of the costs and the community funds the rest using the vouchers.

You can find out further info on the Community Fibre Partnership HERE.


Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade is set to tee off with this year’s Golf Classic kindly sponsored by Matt D’Arcy’s Irish Whiskey on Friday 28th August 2020 in Warrenpoint Golf Club, with tee times available between 11:30am – 3:30pm.

The timesheet is nearly full but if you are interested in entering a team or sponsoring a tee box please contact us via admin@newrychamber.com.

A range of attractive individual and team prizes are on offer, as well as prizes for the ‘Nearest to the Pin’ and ‘Longest Drive’ competitions.

Your business can also avail of hole advertising at a cost of £100.00 + VAT by getting in touch with us. This is a great opportunity to reward your staff or entertain your clients with a round of golf. 

In line with social distancing guidelines, there will be no shotgun start this year and instead, the tee is reserved between 11:30am – 3:30pm. 

Four balls will eat at the end of their individual rounds.

It is sure to an enjoyable day so please book your preferred tee slot below.