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The Minister said: “I welcome the Executive’s decision to extend rates relief to all businesses for one more month and to extend relief to businesses in tourism, retail (excluding off-licences and certain food supermarkets), leisure, hospitality and childcare and airports until the end of the financial year.

“I have advocated for these measures for some time now because they will offer much-needed breathing space to thousands of businesses across Northern Ireland and those sectors who have suffered the worst financial impact as a result of Covid-19. The tourism and hospitality industry have been among the worst hit as a result of the pandemic and today’s announcement offers much needed further support.

“Although we are now beginning to look towards planning for recovery, this support will allow businesses to direct their resources to where they need them most. It will help not only to stave off the worst impacts of the crisis but help create a foundation to rebuild.”

The Minister added: “I would also like to take this opportunity to remind those who may be eligible, that the £10,000 Small Business Grant and the £25,000 grant for those in the retail, hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors close for applications at midnight tomorrow (20 May 2020). Both of these grants are aimed at helping businesses that have suffered as a result of Covid-19 and I would urge all of those who believe they are eligible to submit their applications within the deadline.”

To find further details of business support for businesses impacted by coronavirus visit