GOVERNMENT RECOVERY ROADMAP & SUPPORT PACKAGES FOR BUSINESSES ANNOUNCED
Sat May 2 2020
An Taosieach Leo Varadkar announced yesterday evening the Government’s roadmap for reopening society and business over the coming months. The government has urged everyone to stay in their home wherever possible until Monday 18 May 2020 as staying at home is the best way to minimise the risk of COVID-19.
The changes to the public health guidelines that will come into place next Tuesday 5 May 2020 are that people will be able to go up to 5 kilometres from their home to exercise and those who are cocooning can leave their homes for exercise as long as they avoid all contact with other people.
There are exceptions for some workers in key businesses but for the majority of people, the rule is simple: Stay at home. This is the best way to minimise the risk of COVID-19 to your friends, families and communities. Travel to and from work where work is considered an essential service is allowed.
The full list of essential services is available here (as outlined in our earlier COVID 19 communications, Brokers are deemed an essential service). Everyone who can work from home must work from home and this includes essential workers. All essential services should ensure safe working conditions are in place. Specific advice will be available from the Health and Safety Authority
A five-phase plan, which if adhered to, will see the COVID-19 lockdown being eased in stages, commencing 18 May 2020. Full details of the proposal to Roadmap to ease COVID 19 restrictions and the outline five-phase plan may be found within the enclosed link.
It should be noted that the roadmap has been described as a “living document” which is subject to ongoing review. The outline five-phase plan is just an indication of how the restrictions may be lifted if everything goes well with restricting the spread of COVID-19 in Ireland. The phases of the plan will only come into place when the National Public Health Emergency Team says that the conditions are right.
Brokers Ireland will continue to monitor the situation as regards COVID 19 restrictions to ensure that we keep members informed.
Phase 1- 18 May 2020
Phase 1 of the easing of COVID 19 restrictions will commence 18 May 2020. On that date, it is important to note that remote working is to continue for all workers or businesses that can currently do so. It is clear therefore that the majority of Brokers and their staff, who as at 2 May 2020 are working remotely, rather than being in the office, should continue to work remotely. The guidance requires that as at 18 May 2020 you should still stay at home as much as possible.
Phase 2 – 8 June 2020
These measures are part of the second phase of lifting the public health restrictions that were put in place to protect us all from COVID-19. They come into effect on top of the phase 1 measures. The advice will be to stay at home and continue to avoid unnecessary journeys wherever possible. You will be able to travel up to 20 kilometres away from your home, as opposed to the 5 kilometre limit in place since 5 May 2020.
Workers, such as those who work alone, or who can work safely whilst maintaining a 2-metre distance from others, can return to work. Social distancing requirements continue to apply. Please refer to our earlier COVID 19 advices for advice on social distancing. Continue to maintain remote working for all workers / businesses that can do so.
Employers are to develop plans for a return to onsite working by employees in light of COVID-19, considering:
- social distancing compliance
- hygiene and cleaning
- compliance in higher risk situations
- plans for medically vulnerable or pregnant people
- extended opening hours to enable social distancing
Phase 3 – 29 June 2020
These measures come into effect on top of the phase 2 measures. The advice will be to stay at home as much as you can, with travel to be permitted no farther than 20 km from home. Businesses may open where employees have low levels of daily interaction of people and can work safely whilst maintaining 2-metre distance from others. Remote working is to continue for all workers or businesses that can currently do so. Travel restrictions may be implemented at this time, as regards both vehicles and public transport.
Phase 4 – 20 July 2020
The measures that form part of Phase 4 will come into effect on top of the Phase 3 measures. As part of phase 4, it is planned that you will be able to travel outside your region and beyond the 20 kilometre restriction in phase 3. Employees who cannot work remotely are to be considered first for return to onsite working. Depending on the business, measures such as shift work and staggered hours should be implemented to increase the numbers of workers available for work in any 24-hour period, as long as the business can limit the number of workers interacting with each other. It should be noted, however, that remote working during this phase will continue for all workers or businesses that can do so. Restrictions will gradually be decreased on the numbers travelling in major urban centres on public transport and in private cars.
Phase 5 – 10 August 2020
As in phase 4, you will be able to travel outside your region. Social distancing and hygiene measures are to continue for public and private transport. There is to be a phased return to work across all sectors. ‘Higher risk’ organisations which, by their nature cannot easily maintain social distancing, will implement plans for how they can progress towards the onsite return of a full staff complement. Remote working continues for all workers or businesses that can do so.
As outlined above, Brokers Ireland will continue to monitor the position as regards the return to work and will provide further advice and updates to members when we are in a position to. The guidance currently provided in the Roadmap and the five-phase plan is that remote working is to continue where possible.
Additional Measures for Businesses Impacted by COVID 19
The Government roadmap for reopening the country has referenced that the Government will shortly introduce a number of additional measures to assist affected enterprises which are facing acute liquidity pressures as a result of the further extension of the shut-down period. It will also develop targeted measures to assist enterprises as and when sectors are permitted to re-open under the gradual relaxation of restrictions. In developing its approach, the Government will ensure that Ireland makes maximum use of EU funding and support where available and appropriate, including the European Investment Bank.
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe unveiled today (Saturday 02 May) a suite of measures worth up to €6.5 billion to help businesses impacted by Covid-19. According to the Irish Times, these measures include a commercial rates holiday and up to €2 billion in State-backed loans to be made available for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The loans will range from €10,000 to €1 million and will be 80% guaranteed by the State and offered at below market rates.
Further information will be provided on these measures when it becomes available. Brokers Ireland understands that legislation will be required to introduce taxation and SME credit guarantee measures, which may require a new government to be formed.
Brokers Ireland will continue to work on your behalf and do our upmost to keep you fully informed as updates become available. We welcome any member queries that you may have and we ask that you directly email queries to the following contacts:
- Life/Financial Services – firstname.lastname@example.org
- General – email@example.com
- Compliance/Central Bank – firstname.lastname@example.org
CEO, Brokers Ireland