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Govenment sets up Covid-19 payment to support workers as businesses close doors

The payment is available to all employees and self-employed people who have lost their income because of the outbreak.

The Government has established a Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment to help those affected by job losses due to the spread of Covid-19.

In new guidelines issued by the Department of Social Protection after bars and pubs were asked to close, employers are being asked to keep paying their staff.

The department will reimburse employers up to 203 euro a week for each staff member, but refunds may take some time to process.

The payment of 203 euro per week will be available, for a six-week period, to all employees and the self-employed who have been affected by the closures.

People can get the payment by applying for the normal jobseeker’s payments within this six-week period.

People are being urged to download application forms online and apply via the post instead of visiting an Intreo centre, where social distancing rules will be applied and lines are expected to be long.

The department also asked members of the public not to phone its offices in order to allow staff to focus on processing applications.

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said that banks can provide working capital finance in the form of overdrafts or short-term loans to cover costs.

Ms Doherty said: “Ireland has entered uncharted territory as a consequence of the spread of Covid-19. This is now both a public health and economic issue.

“In light of the significant volumes of jobseeker applications expected this week, the Department will from tomorrow be introducing a new Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment specifically designed to get thousands of people into payment as quickly as possible.”