Small and medium sized firms involved in concerts, sport, cultural events, conferences and trade shows can now apply for grants of up to €50,000 following the launch of a Government scheme to assist the events sector today.

The Events Sector Covid Support Scheme (ESCSS) consists of an €11.5m fund and aims to help firms in the sector cope with the ongoing impact of the public health restrictions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In order to qualify for the assistance, businesses must not have been eligible for the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme.

The funding is designed to help cover some of the fixed costs incurred by the firms while they remain closed or inactive.

To qualify, businesses must intend to resume trading in full once Government restrictions are eased.

Applications will only be accepted for companies with VAT-exclusive turnover of €150,000 and above.

The support will be offered by way of a single once-off payment to the value of 7.5% of the VAT-exclusive turnover of the business, up to a maximum of €50,000.

However, the business must be able to demonstrate that their turnover was no more than 25% of their average turnover for 2019 for any consecutive six months during the period of March 12 of last year through to March 31 of this year.

The scheme is to be operated by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and was launched by its minister, Catherine Martin, as well as Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar.