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Omicron ‘confidence crisis’ fears bring back business support

Omicron ‘confidence crisis’ fears bring back business support

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Omicron ‘confidence crisis’ fears bring back business support


The Government says it’s ready to offer around £500,000 in payroll support and is extending its fixed costs scheme in anticipation of a consumer confidence crisis caused by omicron.

The Co-Funded Payroll Scheme (CFPS), which closed in October, is being temporarily reintroduced for December and January.

Under the scheme, businesses whose income has fallen by more than 20% this month compared to December 2019 will be able to claim up to £1,250 per worker, if they are in one of the following sectors:

  • hotels and similar accommodation;
  • holiday and other short-stay accommodation;
  • event catering and other food service activities (when events);
  • organisation of conventions and trade shows;
  • other reservation service and related activities;
  • renting and leasing of motor vehicles;
  • travel agency and tour operator activities;
  • air transport (scheduled passenger);
  • other passenger land transport;
  • water transport (sea and coastal, inland);
  • photographic activities (when connected to events);
  • renting and leasing of other tangible goods (when connected to events).

Claims for December will be open in January, and claims for January in February.

Businesses with single full-time employees are not able to claim, however, but should be able to access income support. Also denied support are those that previously claimed covid support in error, and have not yet repaid or agreed a payment plan.

Under the Fixed Costs Support Scheme, the Government will make a contribution towards fixed costs of up to £5,000, based on the size of premises.

The scheme will become available first to a certain number of businesses this month, namely:

  • beverage-serving activities;
  • licensed restaurants;
  • unlicensed restaurants and cafés;
  • takeaway food shops and mobile food stands (includes sandwich shops);
  • creative, arts and entertainment activities;
  • motion picture projection activities.

In January, the scheme will then open up to the following additional businesses: 

  • other personal service activities not specified elsewhere;
  • physical well-being activities;
  • hairdressing and other beauty treatment;
  • driving school activities;
  • other human health activities;
  • sports activities, and recreation education;
  • cultural education;
  • printing and reproduction of recorded media (where 75% of trade is events/tourism-related);
  • most types of retail;
  • wholesale of food, beverages and tobacco;
  • non-specialist wholesalers (where 75% of trade is tourism-related).

It comes after Ministers warned islanders last week that Jersey was bracing for a "large" wave of the new variant, announcing the return of mandatory masks in public places and strong advice to work from home from 4 January. From that date, travellers will also only be considered 'fully vaccinated' if they have had three doses of the covid vaccine.

Some businesses have already reported that the level of covid in the community and omicron are having an impact.

Restaurants have been posting on social media about last-minute cancellations, including Christmas parties, due to customers either testing positive for covid, becoming direct contacts or worrying about catching or spreading the virus.

One of Jersey's largest yearly charity events, the Round Table Ball, was cancelled when case numbers hit 900. Meanwhile, the Jersey Symphony Orchestra's long-awaited return to the stage had to be put off when 10 of the 30 musicians due to be travelling to Jersey picked up the omicron variant.

Economic Development Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham said: "It is clear that omicron has affected consumer confidence, and that businesses and livelihoods continue to need support in some sectors.

"We will maintain support where it is needed, as we have throughout the pandemic."

Fixed_Costs_Scheme.png

Pictured: Levels of subsidy for the fixed costs scheme.

Treasury Minister Deputy Susie Pinel added: "We gave an assurance when we closed the last Co-Funded Payroll Scheme that we would look to reinstate it if circumstances changed.

"The omicron variant and public health guidance has meant that some businesses are seeing a downturn in trade and we see the reintroduction of the CFPS for a defined period as an insurance against the unknown factors and potential impact of omicron."

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Posted by Jon Jon on
We will have to live with covid and that means businesses also! You just cannot keep paying out cash to keep these places open.Our taxes are going to be throw the roof in years to come.I don’t think Farnham with connections to the yacht should be involved in any of this.
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