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Six further Covid deaths in 24 hours as financial support scheme opens for businesses

There have been six further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health today (Monday).

Those deaths occurred in the last 24 hours, according to the official dashboard, which has the overall total now at 621.

There were a further 820 cases reported in that timeframe, with 92 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, and a further 68 in Newry, Mourne and Down.

A total of 3,869 individuals were tested.

There are 261 people now in hospital – up 30 more from Saturday – as a result of the virus, 29 of whom are in intensive care units.

Sixty-four patients are in Craigavon Area Hospital today. To date, 363 patients have been discharged from the Co. Armagh hospital.

Meanwhile, a financial support scheme for businesses subject to the latest restrictions has opened for applications.

Opening the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme, Finance Minister, Conor Murphy said: “From today, businesses across all council areas, required to close or severely limit their operations by the regulations, will be able to apply for financial support.

“I am determined to get money out to businesses as quickly as possible. This scheme opened to businesses in the Derry and Strabane District Council area last week – with the first payments issuing today.”

Under the scheme businesses will receive the following amounts for every week these restrictions apply:

Small businesses (up to £15,000 Net Annual Value) – £800
Medium businesses (£15,001 – £51,000 Net Annual Value) – £1,200
Large businesses (over £51,000 Net Annual Value) – £1,600

Full details on eligibility and how to apply be found at www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/LocalisedRestrictionsSupport.

The Localised Restrictions Support Scheme that will apply to businesses, subject to eligibility, includes:

– Cafes, pubs and restaurants that are required to close or limit their services to a takeaway service instead;
– Hotels, guest houses and registered Bed and Breakfasts;
– Close contact services detailed in the Health Protection Regulations which use commercial premises;
– Indoor visitor attractions;
– Other businesses which under the Health Protection Regulations are required to cease to carry on that business or service, such as; campsites and caravan parks for touring caravans, cinemas, museums and galleries, bingo halls, funfairs, inflatable parks, indoor amusement arcades and skating rinks.

Recognising the importance of supporting businesses not subject to the Health Regulations but impacted indirectly by the restrictions, Conor Murphy added: “I realise many businesses, not just those required to close will see an impact on their business activity and footfall. For many businesses, their biggest concern is wage costs. I have written to the Treasury and asked that urgent consideration is given to bringing forward the start date of the Job Support Scheme.

“I have also encouraged Executive colleagues to urgently bring forward proposals for sectors they have responsibility for and which will help address funding pressures experienced by supply chain businesses and the self-employed.”

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