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  1. The start of the new year brings some welcome news for Herefordshire’s hard-hit hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses. The government has set aside funding to help them recover from the adverse effects of restrictions introduced to reduce the spread of Covid-19. As part of the government’s £785m Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant package to help UK businesses, the council will manage the county’s allocation of £3,996,378. This means eligible businesses within the county can apply for a one-off grant up to £6,000. The funding is available immediately to support businesses in urgent need. The scheme is open for applications until 28 February 2022 and all payments under this and existing schemes will be completed by 31 March 2022. Government has also confirmed the county will receive an additional £440,262 ‘top up’ to the additional restriction grant allocation (ARG). These funds will provide up to £3,000 of support to smaller hospitality and leisure businesses without a rateable value, and to supply chain businesses that have also been affected. Cllr Ellie Chowns, cabinet member for environment, economy and skills, says: “Many hospitality and leisure businesses have been seriously affected by the recent rise of Omicron, as people minimised their social contact over the Christmas period - a time of year when seasonal businesses would normally generate a large part of their income. “And of course this has come on top of nearly two years of Covid-related disruption. “So, I am very pleased that this new grant is now available to help businesses in the worst-affected sectors. I am sure it will provide much-needed assistance and Herefordshire Council is pulling out all the stops once again to get the funding out to businesses as quickly as possible. “As we have been provided with a limited amount of funding, we aim to distribute it as widely and as fairly as possible to those that need it most.”
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