The portal for applications to the High Street Scheme opened yesterday. Over 400,000 applications have already been completed and around 840,000 links to apply for the Spend Local card have been issued.
The Minister said: “As expected, demand for the Spend Local card is extremely high and our response has been equal to it. In just two days, almost a third of the 1.4 million people eligible to apply have been able to complete their application. This is a formidable response and a great confidence boost for our local businesses that are at the heart of this scheme.
“We knew that demand in the first days of the scheme would be high but our systems performed well in coping with the huge volume of traffic. There is still ground to cover but the applications portal is open up to 25 October and there is plenty of time for all those eligible to apply, receive and use their Spend Local card.
“The objective of the High Street Scheme is to support local businesses across Northern Ireland adversely affected by the drop in footfall due to the pandemic. That is why I would urge everyone in receipt of a Spend Local card to think local when spending their cards and support those shops, hospitality and other services most affected by the Covid-19 restrictions.”
The first Spend Local cards will issue to eligible applicants in the week commencing 4 October.