APPLICATIONS are now open for businesses in Cheshire West to access Omicron Hospitality and Leisure support grant funding.

Before Christmas, the Government said additional support would be made available for hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses, trading within the business rates system, and impacted by the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The scheme provides support in recognition of the rise in the Omicron variant, combined with the dual impact of increased staff absences and reduced footfall.

It will take the form of grant awards of up to £2,667, £4,000 or £6,000, depending on the rateable value of the business premises concerned.

General eligibility requirements are that a business must be within the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors, and has been trading and been the ratepayer on December 31, 2021.

The Government also announced a further top-up to Additional Restrictions Grant funding to be used for those businesses who don’t meet the criteria for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure scheme and are struggling due to increased infection rate, staff absence and reduced footfall.

The council is currently finalising the policy for the scheme and aims to go live early next week.

Councillor Carol Gahan, cabinet member for legal and finance, said: "Covid-19 has once again had significant impact on our businesses, particularly in the run up to the festive period.

"Our businesses have shown immense resilience throughout the pandemic and as a council it has always been our priority to get grant funding to businesses without delay.

"We would urge all eligible businesses to apply."

Eligibility criteria and grant application forms can be found at