Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has announced the Omicron Hospitality Payment scheme will be extended to include hotels and certain sports clubs.

Under the scheme, following Executive agreement, hotels will be eligible for a one-off grant between £10,000 and £20,000 depending on their rateable value.

Making the announcement, Minister Murphy said: “Hotels are a vital part of our hospitality industry and have undoubtedly been impacted by Omicron facing cancellations over the festive period.

“I was determined to ensure hotels were not left without support and in the absence of a bid for funding for a scheme to help this sector being brought forward, my Department has again taken the lead and obtained Executive approval to include hotels in the Omicron Hospitality Payment scheme. My Department will move at pace to get financial assistance out to hotels.”

From next week, Land & Property Services will contact Tourism NI certified hotels by email if they previously received a payment under the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme (LRSS). The email will include a link to an online form, where businesses will be asked to confirm some relevant information and complete a declaration in order to enable payments for the Omicron Hospitality Payment Scheme to issue.

Welcoming the addition of hotels, NI Hotel Federation Chief Executive Janice Gault added: “The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF) welcomes the decision and support of the Finance Minister to ensure the inclusion of the hotel sector in the Omicron Hospitality Support scheme. The agreement of The Executive is seen as recognition of the role hotels play in the local economy.

“For most hotels December is their busiest month and trade secured helps to mitigate losses that traditionally occur in the first two months of the new year.  Hotels premises experienced a reduction of up to 60% on food, beverage and function business.

“Hoteliers are pleased their plight has been recognised in a similar way to other components of the hospitality industry and welcome the inclusion of the sector in the scheme.  To date, January has been quiet but with the relaxing of restrictions, the removal of the Covid passport and hospitals coping with infection levels, the climate is becoming more favourable.”

The Executive has also agreed to extend the Omicron Hospitality Payment to include certain sports clubs with a licensed bar or restaurant facility.  A maximum one-off £10,000 payment will be available to sports clubs that operate a bar or restaurant, have a liquor license and received less than £50,000 in total from the Department for Communities Sport Sustainability Fund last year. Further information will be available on the nibusinessinfo website next week: www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-omicron-hospitality-payment.

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