Agri stores listed as ‘essential retail outlets’ by Government

Agricultural stores supplying animal feed, medicines and bedding, as well as shops supplying farming equipment, have been listed among stores deemed to be “essential retail outlets” by the Government.

Announced following its clampdown measures to further limit the spread of Covid-19 earlier today, Tuesday, March 24, the “indicative list” includes 14 definitions of such vital outlets, ranging from banks and laundries to food stores, pharmacies and safety supply stores.

Two definitions of key interest to farmers in particular, however, include:
  • “Retail sale of essential items for the health and welfare of animals, including animal feed and medicines, animal food, pet food and animal supplies including bedding”; and
  • “Hardware stores, builders’ merchants and stores that provide hardware products necessary for home and business maintenance, sanitation and farm equipment, supplies and tools essential for gardening/farming/agriculture”.

The measures come in a ramped-up effort to halt the spread of Covid-19, with the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar making an address to the Irish public this evening, announcing the closure of a number of public gatherings and outlets – including livestock marts – until Sunday, April 19.

Covid-19 income support scheme

To keep people around the country afloat during such turbulent times, the Government also announced a new Covid-19 Income Support Scheme.

The scheme includes a number of strands; firstly, a temporary wage subsidy of 70% of take-home pay up to a maximum weekly tax free amount of €410 per week is included to help affected companies keep paying their employees.

Meanwhile, workers who have lost their jobs due to the crisis will receive an enhanced emergency Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week (an increase from €203)

The self-employed will be eligible for this Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, rather than the Revenue scheme, the Government noted.

The Covid-19 illness payment will also be increased to €350 per week, while enhanced protections are provided for people facing difficulties with their mortgages, rent or utility bills, the Government has assured.