Businesses in Wales materially affected by the phased move to Alert Level One, such as indoor attractions and wedding venues, will receive £2.5m in further support from the Welsh Government, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, has announced today.
Since 17 May, businesses in Wales still affected by coronavirus restrictions have been able to apply for up to £25,000 in emergency support to help meet ongoing costs until the end of June.
Additional funding is now being made available to support businesses affected by the staged transition to Alert Level One, due to the impact the delta variant of COVID-19 is having on transmission rates. The staging takes account of concerns over the impact the delta variant of COVID-19 is having on transmission rates and potential increase in hospitalisations.
Support will be available for businesses that have capacity for events of more than 30 people indoors or in contained spaces and to businesses that are still closed because of ongoing restrictions.
To receive the funding, businesses will need to have applied to the Welsh Government’s latest round of emergency funding – the deadline for which has been extended until 12pm Wednesday 16 June 2021.
Eligible applicants will automatically receive the top-up where possible, or will be required to self-declare via a simple online process. Details are available on the Business Wales website.
Businesses will be entitled to an additional payment of between £875 and £5,000, depending on their size and circumstance, to cover the period up to the end of June.
If the public health situation allows, Ministers hope to see Wales move fully to Alert Level One on the 21st June. The First Minister will confirm any changes later this week.
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said:
“My priority as the Economy Minister is to ensure the Welsh Government stands ready to kick-start a strong Welsh recovery with the right for support Welsh businesses and workers.
“Over recent weeks, as restrictions have gradually been lifted, we have all seen many elements our old lives opening back up in a Covid-safe way. This can only be good news for our economy. However, we know that despite our success in controlling rates of Covid-19 and rolling out our vaccination programme, the delta variant continues to present new challenges.
“It means we have needed to take a phased approach to moving to Alert Level One, relaxing restrictions around outdoor events and activities first, because the evidence suggests the risk of infection is significantly lower outdoors than indoors. While this is absolutely the right decision for Wales we recognise the impact it will have on a significant number of our businesses, particularly wedding venues and indoor attractions.
“The last 15 months have been difficult and traumatic for businesses and their employees with many fighting to survive. Huge personal sacrifices have been made by many to make it through. As a Government we have pulled every lever we can to back Welsh businesses.
“Today I am announcing further funding for those businesses in Wales – such as wedding venues and indoor attractions – to help cover costs as a result of the staged transition to Alert Level One made necessary by the risks posed by the delta variant.”
Ministers have provided in excess of £2.5bn funding to Welsh businesses, in a package that has been designed to complement and build on the support provided by the UK Government.
This targeted approach, focussed particularly on backing small businesses and Welsh communities, has helped protect 100,000s of Welsh jobs which might otherwise have been lost.
Since October 2020, the Welsh Government has provided 184,890 grants worth £686.6m, with applications to the latest round of funding still being received and processed.
In addition, unlike in England, Welsh Ministers have ensured the 100% rates relief scheme for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will run for the full 12 months of this financial year. This measure is backed by £380m to help provide breathing space for around 70,000 businesses this year.
The Minister added:
“Overall, we have provided over £400 million of business support over and above Wales’ share of UK Government spending on business support in England. It has involved tough decisions but they have been necessary to protect jobs and businesses in this crisis. In short, a cut and paste approach would have cost Wales jobs and businesses.”