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COVID-19 UPDATE: Wednesday 15th April 2020 (Issue No.18)

I hope you enjoyed your Easter Break.

The social distancing measures made this Easter very different but it will be worth it, if it saves lives.

Following the Economy Minister’s statement on Friday evening, I put out information on social media about her decision to extend the £10,000 Small Business Grant and confirmation that the £25,000 Grant for the Hospitality, Tourism and Retail Sectors will open for applications on Monday 20th April 2020.

I have published more information below.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey. I would still be interested in your views, so if you haven’t responded yet please see the update below and follow the link.

I hope you find these updates of value. If you have any queries which you can’t get answered, let us know. If I can, I will cover them in our next update.

You can contact me at:

Stay safe.

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


Thank you to everyone who has already completed the short survey we published before Easter. For those members who haven’t, we would really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to complete the survey. 


A few minutes of your time will ensure that the voices of businesses from right across the Greater Newry Area continues to be heard and allow us to lobby on your behalf.


The Department for the Economy has advised that it has paid out 14,000 of the £10,000 grant to small businesses.

If you think that you are eligible and have not yet received your grant, there is a useful helpline number you can ring.

Telephone: 0800 200 7809

On Friday, the Economy Minister, Diane Dodds, MLA announced that the scheme will be extended to include small manufacturing businesses that qualify for industrial derating.

This expansion will cover around 2,500 additional businesses.

This scheme will close for application on Wednesday 20th May 2020.

If you are eligible, it is important to get your application in before then.

APPLY HERE for the £10,000 Small Business Support Grant Scheme.


Businesses in the Hospitality, Tourism and Retail Sectors will be eligible to apply for grants of £25,000.

Applications to the scheme will be OPEN on Monday 20th April 2020 and will take around 15 working days to process, subject to verification of eligibility.

Information will be available this Monday on nibusinessinfo and Newry Chamber will also provide an update on Monday. The Department for the Economy has stated that more than 4,000 business will be eligible for this grant.

This scheme will close for applications on Wednesday 20th May 2020.


The Minister recognised in her statement that there are many other businesses across Northern Ireland that are being adversely impacted at present and facing financial hardship, and which have not been able to access any of the existing national or regional grant schemes saying:

“My message to them is, we are working as quickly as we can on how best we might assist you. A budget will be identified for these businesses and officials are examining how to deliver this money to where it is so desperately needed.”


Following some queries, HMRC has provided some further updates in relation to the Job Retention Scheme.

The queries include:

  • Confirmation of what should form the basis for furlough pay for employees furloughed on return from (maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption, sick and parental bereavement) leave;
  • Employees subject to TUPE transfer/business reorganisation/payroll consolidation can be furloughed;
  • Confirming position for contractors in scope of IR35 in the public sector;
  • More information on what information employers need to claim the grant; and
  • Clarifying circumstances where an employee shouldn’t be furloughed by multiple employers.

These updates can be found below:

– https://bit.ly/3cqNMu5
– https://bit.ly/2K7y4I2


HMRC has clarified queries on the self-employment scheme, including:

  • Detail of the treatment of losses, averaging and multiple trades;
  • Clarifications on the calculation of self-employed profits and what is meant by total income;
  • Confirmation that individuals are able to continue working, including taking on employment role;
  • Confirmation that owner-managers of Ltd companies can access the CJRS for their salary;
  • Confirmation that individuals can access Universal Credit and the SEISS; and
  • Clarification on overlaps between the SEISS and CJRS (e.g. you can claim the SEISS and continue working).

These updates can be found below:

– https://bit.ly/2XzJe09
– https://bit.ly/3bc2W67


 Women’s Aid are continuing to provide support to women, children and young people who are experiencing domestic abuse.

We published an update from them last Friday. If any businesses or individuals can make a contribution tomorrow, Thursday 15th April from 12pm-2pm at Women’s Aid, Portadown and Newry Resource Centres, it would be appreciated.

In light of the COVID-19 issues, Women’s Aid have made changes to the way they provide support to those who need it.

At present they have made the decision to close all of their Resource Centres across the Women’s Aid Armaghdown Area.

Whilst the refuge remains open to ensure the safety of the residents, they are unable to take new admissions but they will continue to review this safety measure on an ongoing basis.

Women’s Aid regionally are developing a pathway to support women to access safe crisis accommodation in an emergency. 

If you can help in anyway, it would be greatly appreciated.