Children’s soft play facilities have been added to the list of businesses eligible for a Stormont-funded Covid financial support scheme for the hospitality sector.
The scheme for businesses hit by bolstered restrictions brought in to combat Omicron has also been extended to cover inflatable and trampoline parks.
Venues will be able to claim a one-off £10,000 payment if they have a cafe on the premises.
Finance Minister Conor Murphy made the announcement during a visit to Funky Monkeys soft play venue in west Belfast.
“Food services are an important source of revenue for many leisure businesses such as soft play facilities and inflatable and trampoline parks,” he said.
“These venues saw reduced visitor numbers over the Christmas period due to Omicron and were impacted in the same way as other hospitality businesses. I am therefore extending the Omicron Hospitality Payment to provide them with support.
“These businesses are an integral part of our communities. They provide a fun space for families and children to enjoy while making a vital contribution employing many people locally.”
Mr Murphy added: “My department has supported them over the last two years with a rates holiday as well as Covid grants. And while business support is not within my department’s remit, I am glad to once again step up to deliver financial assistance.
“I hope this additional £10,000 will help these businesses as we continue on the road to better days ahead.”
Soft play, inflatable and trampoline parks that previously received payment under the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme (LRSS) will receive an email on Tuesday asking them to verify their details to enable the Omicron Hospitality Payment to be made.
The majority of payments are expected to be made within seven to 10 working days.
In December, ministers announced a £40 million grant scheme that covered nightclubs, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bistros, snack bars, pubs/bars, social clubs or private members’ clubs.
It was developed after ministers decided to introduce a series of curbs on the hospitality sector in a bid to reduce Covid-19 transmission.
Grants of between £10,000 and £20,000 were made available to more than 3,200 eligible businesses.
Late last month, hotels became eligible for the scheme.
The restrictions introduced in December in response to warnings about the threat posed by the Omicron variant have all now been lifted.
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