The Welsh Government has announced a new £2.5m funding pot to support businesses affected by Wales’ phased move into Alert Level 1 coronavirus restrictions.
Indoor attractions and wedding venues are among the businesses that could be eligible for the support, which was announced by Wales’ Economy Minister Vaughan Gething on Monday.
Since May 17, businesses still affected by the ongoing restrictions have been able to apply for up to £25,000 in emergency support to meet ongoing costs until the end of June.
The new funding is being made available to businesses that have capacity for events of more than 30 people indoors or in contained spaces, as well as businesses that are still closed due to the measures.
Businesses have until 12pm on Wednesday, June 16 to apply for the funding, which will range from between £875 and £5,000 depending on the business’ size and circumstances.
This funding will cover the period of to the end of June, the Welsh Government has said.
Mr Gething said: “Over recent weeks, as restrictions have gradually been lifted, we have all seen many elements of 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.”
He added: “It means we have needed to take a phased approach to moving to Alert Level 1, 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 1 made necessary by the risks posed by the delta variant.”
Welsh Government ministers are discussing whether or not to fully move into Alert Level 1 on Monday, June 21 – with First Minister Mark Drakeford set to announce the decision later this week.
- 16-year-old suffers head injury after reported assault
- Boxer Lauren Price reaches Olympic quarter-finals
- Olympians are ‘an inspiration,’ says council leader
- Plaid Cymru vow to reject Gwent Public Services Board merger
- Vulnerable people will not be asked to shield – Wales’ Chief Medical Officer says
Reacting to Mr Gething’s announcement, FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) Wales Policy Chair Ben Francis said many businesses would be “relieved” to hear about the new funding.
But Mr Francis said he was “disappointed” that FSB’s calls for a ‘restart grant’ have been “left unanswered”.
He said: “Businesses that have been closed or severely restricted for an extended period of time need support to meet the steepest costs of reopening, and we continue to call on Welsh Government to deliver this for those firms that need it most.”
Mr Francis also said the announcement “does not appear to take into account the businesses that are able to open but subject to significant challenges due to the impact of social distancing on their ability to operate at a profitable capacity”.
He listed hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses as “some of the hardest hit sectors in this regard”.
“We hope that today’s announcement is one staging point in Welsh Government’s ongoing conversation about the support that our economy needs to get back on its feet, and that the Economy Minister will be receptive to FSB’s call for a restart grant and targeted sectoral support in the immediate future,” Mr Francis added.
Stay informed with quality, independent, local journalism…that matters
We believe the public should be informed about their community, coherently and with context. However, running a professional news service comes at a financial cost.
We are asking readers for their support to help us develop and grow our service.
Our membership costs from just £3 a month and in return, you can use our website without adverts.
Become a member – cancel anytime