The Government of Jersey has updated business support packages to provide further assistance to businesses, following the introduction of new Public Health measures last week.
The Co-Funded Payroll Scheme (CFPS) and the Visitor Accommodation Support Scheme have both been revised to provide more financial help, which will particularly benefit the hospitality sector. Also, an additional scheme has been launched to support the Island’s key visitor attractions and events companies.
The new measures came into effect on Friday 4 December and require all licensed hospitality venues, gyms and indoor sports and fitness classes to close. Two-metre physical distancing regulations have also been reintroduced.
The CFPS was launched in April to support businesses and employees during the Stay At Home order. It has helped to safeguard Islanders’ jobs so that unemployment in Jersey is far lower than in jurisdictions without similar wage subsidy schemes.
To qualify for the CFPS, businesses must demonstrate a loss in income compared to the same period last year. The support is tailored to a business’s financial detriment.
The updated scheme increases the maximum subsidy from 60% to 80%. It also offers 10% more support than the previous version of the scheme.
As part of the revised scheme, businesses are not required to remain open in order to claim a subsidy, although they are encouraged to continue to trade if they can do so safely within public health guidance.
In future, businesses that fail to follow public health guidance would be disqualified from claiming future Government support. This is to incentivise businesses to implement robust Covid-secure procedures.
The revised scheme will apply to claims made for December and will open from 1 January. To apply, businesses need to be in an eligible sector, and be able to demonstrate at least a 20% financial detriment.
Visitor Accommodation Scheme
An amendment to the Visitor Accommodation Scheme (VASS) has also been agreed, which will allow businesses to apply for support when they can demonstrate a 30% drop in turnover, rather than 50%. The scheme will continue to provide support of up to 80% of designated fixed costs, paid monthly in arrears, but it has been adjusted to allow accrued costs to be included.
Attractions and Events
An additional scheme will also be made available to visitor attractions and events businesses; the Attractions an Events and Support Scheme. Qualifying businesses will be eligible for a subsidy that meets up to 80% of their designated fixed costs incurred over the winter period (October 2020 to end of April 2021). The subsidy will be paid to applicants who can show a 50% reduction in turnover in the last year, when compared to the monthly average turnover in 2019.
Applications for the Attractions and Events Scheme will open this week and information on how to apply will be available on the Government of Jersey website.
The Minister for Economic Development, Senator Lyndon Farnham, said:
“The improved terms, and amended schemes, that we are introducing today will allow us to continue to protect jobs and focus our support on the businesses that have been most impacted by the pandemic as we move through the winter months.
“The Co-Funded Payroll Scheme has already supported thousands of jobs and helped hundreds of businesses to stay solvent during the outbreak of COVID-19 so it is important that the scheme remains flexible to ensure we continue to provide the appropriate levels of payroll support.
‘’I am also pleased to be able to announce the launch of the Attractions and Events Scheme which is aimed at supporting these important businesses to ensure that they can survive through the winter and are well placed to provide essential support the visitor economy as it recovers in 2021.
‘’We are currently working on further support for the hospitality, and health and fitness sectors, which remain closed.”
Minister for Treasury and Resources, Deputy Susie Pinel, said: “The Government’s response to the pandemic has consistently been focused on lives and livelihoods. Although difficult, the public health measures announced this week are essential to keep Islanders safe. This enhanced support will help to safeguard the employment and livelihoods of the workers that are affected.”