As another bank holiday approaches Minister for the Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates has been urging people to stay home and stay local.
The minister, said:
“Although it goes against our normal welcoming nature, we’ve been asking people to please stay home. We want nothing more than to welcome visitors to enjoy our wonderful scenery and attractions but to protect our NHS and keep people safe – stay home.
“We are all acutely aware of the impact Coronavirus is having on the tourism and hospitality sector. As the industry remains closed to help stop the spread of the virus, we are also doing all we can to help the industry at this difficult time.
The minister has this week announced that the Economic Resilience Fund eligibility checker will be available for new applications by the middle of June, allowing companies time to prepare their applications. This will enable access to the remaining £100 million of the £300 million already approved and allocated to support micro businesses, small and medium enterprises and large businesses.
Phase 2 of the fund will operate in the same way as Phase 1 but with an update to the micro scheme. This will enable limited companies who are not VAT registered to access the fund, something which many small businesses, especially those in the hospitality sector, have been calling for.
“Our tourism industry is at the very foundation of our economy and plays such an important part in many communities across Wales. Many businesses have adapted to help their communities and the NHS – by accommodating key workers and vulnerable people or running food delivery schemes for local hospitals.
“Although the sector has been hit hard by this crisis, it’s brilliant to see the welcome and caring nature of the industry still shining through – even these difficult times.
The minister has outlined this week that the package of support offered by the Welsh Government is the most generous for businesses anywhere in the UK including:
- £100 million in loans to more than 1,000 businesses through the Development Bank of Wales
- a £400 million Economic Resilience Fund grant scheme – which for phase 1 has received more than 9,500 applications, with over 6,000 offers already made to date worth over £100 million
- non-domestic rates based grant support for small businesses and businesses operating in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, awarding to date 51,100 grants worth more than £626 million
- a total package of £1.7 billion worth 2.7% of GDP.
The minister concluded:
“The rules don’t change because it’s a bank holiday, lifting restrictions now would risk increasing spread of the virus, which could endanger more lives and cause longer term disruption and hardship for our visitor economy. Along with the industry, I look forward to welcoming people back - but not now – later.