Grants of between £10,000 and £20,000 will be made available to help more than 3,200 hospitality businesses following the announcement that nightclubs would close on 26 December and that from the 27 December there will be requirement for customers to be seated in all indoor hospitality settings with a maximum of six people, or 10 people from a single household, allowed at a table.
The Northern Ireland Executive had faced criticisms for failing to confirm any additional financial support for businesses affected.
Premises will be assessed based on their NAV (Net Annual Value), which is essentially its current rental value.
Premises with an NAV of up to £15,000 will receive up to £10,000, premises with an NAV between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive up to £15,000, and premises with an NAV over £51,000 will receive up to £20,000.
Eligible businesses include nightclubs, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bistros, snack bars, pubs/bars, social clubs and private members’ clubs.
The package is significantly more generous that than offered by Westminster. The Chancellor's package - which includes grants of up to £6,000 per site and the return of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences - has been met with a lukewarm reception by the hospitality industry.
Reacting to the latest news on financial compensation for the Hospitality sector by the NI Executive, Colin Neill, chief executive, Hospitality Ulster said: “This is a very welcome move to bring forward financial compensation funding to this side of Christmas; we appreciate that we were listened to.”
“There was a sense of shock across the entire industry when further restrictions were announced yesterday without mention of any support. We appreciate the amount is more than was given in England and are glad and relieved that this assistance has been accelerated."
"It is now vital that the money gets to those in the sector who need it as swiftly as possible and that the anxiety created in the last 24hrs alone can be reduced. This support will mean that business owners and staff can breathe a small sigh of relief and go into the holiday period with at least some sort of short term security."