Thursday, July 18, 2024

COVID payments spreading

The first payments from the new COVID Support Payment have gone out today after applications opened yesterday.

As of midnight last night, 29,851 applications have been made for the payment. At 1pm today the first businesses received their payments – a total of $117.5 million paid to 24,044 businesses.

The new payment has been put in place to provide additional certainty for businesses struggling with the Omicron outbreak.

“A business is eligible for the support if they can show a 40 percent or greater drop in a seven day period since 16 February this year compared against a typical seven day period in one of two timeframes,” Minister Grant Robertson said.

“The first time period is 5 January 2022 to 15 February 2022 and the alternative option of 5 January 2021 to 15 February 2021. The alternative option covers a period when all of New Zealand was at Alert Level 1.

“The comparator period is the same approach as used for the Resurgence Support Payment taken up by thousands of businesses last year.

“This first payment will remain open for applications for at least six weeks, so even if a business is not eligible right now, they may find they become eligible during this six week period.”

The payment remains the same, with eligible businesses receiving $4,000 per business plus $400 per full-time employee, capped at 50 FTEs or $24,000, the same rate as the most recent Transition Payment.

It will be available on a fortnightly basis for six weeks, meaning three payments in total, each of which needs to be applied for separately. This reflects the international experience that the peak of the Omicron outbreak should pass after about six weeks.

“We will continue to closely monitor the situation and have the option to extend the payment if this is necessary,” Mr Robertson said.

Other support including the new Small Business Cashflow Loans Scheme top up loan will be available later this month.

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