Retail NI has welcomed the commencement of the issuing of £72.3m in top up grants to Northern Irish businesses that remained open during the most recent restrictions.
Over 13,000 trading businesses were unable to receive the most recent financial support, but their “trade and footfall” was still impacted as a result of the restrictions.
In turn, more than 12,100 businesses will receive a £5,000 top up, while over 1,100 are set to gain a £10,000 grant.
Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI, said that when paired with the “further years rates holiday” and upcoming High Street Scheme, the grants “will greatly help our high street on the long road toward recovery”.
He added: “Retail NI is pleased that the finance minister and his department have listened to our views and concerns and responded with this grant scheme.
“These grants will support many independent retailers who had lost significant footfall and trade as a result of hospitality and offices being closed during lockdown.”
The payments will be issued following a final review to ensure property owners have remained the same since the original grants were paid.
Those businesses that commenced trading after the application process for the small business support grant and retail, tourism, hospitality and leisure grant will also be able to apply for a top up payment from late June.
Conor Murphy, finance minister, said: “I have been determined throughout the pandemic to ensure support reaches as many businesses as possible.
“These top up payments will benefit thousands of small and medium sized businesses across retail, hospitality, tourism, leisure and manufacturing which were unable to access executive business support schemes.“