Shetland businesses struggling in level three Covid-19 restrictions are able to seek financial help through a new grant.
The Island Equivalent Payment launched yesterday (Monday) to support businesses which had been ineligible for previous grants aimed at those in full lockdown on the mainland.
Isles businesses have been able to remain open throughout the latest mainland lockdown but many in Shetland said they struggled as folk stayed home amid concerns about the virus.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had announced earlier this month £3m would be available to support the island regions in recognition of these challenges.
However, there had been growing concern over the lack of clarity on how the new fund would be delivered.
Now, it has been revealed that it will be managed by Business Gateway, with equivalent support to level four.
Shetland MSP, Beatrice Wishart, welcomed the decision, saying many businesses in Shetland were “merely treading water in the current environment”.
“Level three restrictions have effectively posed the same significant challenges for businesses in Shetland as those in other parts of the country given that everyone is being encouraged to stay home at the moment,” she added.
“Some businesses have also voluntarily closed to help stop the spread of the virus.”
Ms Wishart said she was glad businesses could now apply for much-needed support and the priority must be ensuring the” vital funding gets out the door and into the coffers of businesses as quickly as possible”.
Businesses can apply every four weeks until restrictions are lifted.
Grants of £2,000-£3,000 are available for eligible businesses depending on their rateable value.
One-off payments to retail and leisure businesses of £6,000-£9,000; and hospitality business of £6,000-£25,000 are also available, again depending on rateable value.
The top up grant is not available to self-catering properties and B&Bs but Business Gateway said schemes were currently being developed to help those businesses.
Businesses that have already applied for the Strategic Framework Business Fund, will receive payments automatically and do not have to reapply.
New applications should be made via this form.
People can email firstname.lastname@example.org with queries.