There was widespread criticism from small business owners to changes from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme to the new Employment Wage Subsidy scheme (EWSS) - a decision the Government has now backtracked on.

Business owners had said many of them are facing the prospect of having to work without pay come September as 'proprietary directors' are excluded from the scheme.

When his business closed temporarily due to Covid-19, Karl Purdy, owner of Coffeeangel, adapted by delivering bags of coffee to people's homes.

He has since reopened his coffee chain in Dublin.

However, he said that the change from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme to this new Employment Wage Subsidy scheme (EWSS) "just makes it more difficult to survive".

"For small business owners it's kind of kicking us when we're down. For us, we are just trying to see the rest of the year through.

"The Wage Subsidy Scheme has been a huge help and support for us getting through each day, [visitor] numbers are down and it just makes it more difficult to survive. Firefighting is part of the job and overcoming obstacles, and this is just another one.

"We've cut and we've changed to this Covid world and our staff numbers are down, as low as we can get them. Sometimes that's even too many for the customers we have. We'll find a way, I'm an eternal optimist, it just makes things much more difficult," Mr Purdy said.

'People like me and all small business owners across the country are coming in everyday, we're sweeping floors and for me, grinding coffee. So I think it’s going to be tough but we will get through it," he added

However, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has now confirmed that proprietary directors are being reinstated to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme from 1 September, where they retain "ordinary" employees on payroll.

Additional reporting: John Kilraine