To assist non-domestic customers preparing to re-use buildings after a period of closure or under-utilisation, Irish Water has launched a new section on water.ie with advice and practical tips to help ensure internal water and wastewater systems are made safe for staff, customers and visitors.
A number of issues can arise when buildings are left un-used for a period of time. These include leaks that cause damage to premises and stock; blockages in pipes from fats, oils or greases; dead rodents in water tanks that can cause contamination; and stagnant water in plumbing and cooling systems that can create serious health risks such as Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and hospitalisation is generally required to treat symptoms. There are number of measures that business owners and facility managers can take to mitigate these risks and these are all outlined on water.ie
Yvonne Harris, Head of Customer Operations, says: “Business owners and facility managers can reduce water related risks when reopening buildings and premises by following our guidelines. Irish Water has detailed some simple steps on water.ie that business owners and facility managers should take that will help to protect the health of staff, visitors and customers. The safe re-opening of buildings will require the use of considerable amounts of water, which is one of the reasons we emphasised the need for water conservation in the home recently. The priority must be the health and safety of anyone entering or working in a recently closed building so business owners and facility managers should take all the necessary steps.”
When bringing water systems and devices safely back into use businesses should:
Full information, as well as a booklet are available on https://www.water.ie/for-business/covid-19-reopening-busine/ As every building is different, building managers should get specialist advice if in-house expertise is not available. Some businesses, such as the hospitality sector, healthcare providers and leisure centres, may need more detailed measures associated with water-using equipment. The HSE has useful resources on its website such as its Checklist for Leisure Centres.
Irish Water continue to work with our Local Authority partners to maintain a safe and reliable public water supply and to safeguard the health and well-being of staff and the public as Covid-19 restrictions are eased and businesses begin to re-open.
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Health have on 9th May 2020, published a "Return to Work Protocol" dealing with COVID-19 Specific National Protocols for Employers and Workers. It is designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, when the economy begins to slowly open up, following the temporary closure of most businesses during the worst phase of the current pandemic.
The details of the phased re-opening of our country are now available on gov.ie Please stay the course, and please continue to save lives by staying apart.
The Roadmap includes:
Please bear in mind that the National Public Health Emergency Team’s (NPHET) Public Health Framework is a living document and will be subject to regular review in the context of the progression or suppression of the disease in Ireland at different points in time; new guidance and evidence which emanate from the research, experience and findings of international bodies and of other countries.
A new Business Continuity Voucher, available through the Waterford Local Enterprise Office, for businesses that employ up to 50 people. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the COVID-19 emergency. Clients of Enterprise Ireland, IDA or Údarás na Gaeltachta should contact their relevant agency, which have other appropriate supports in place. Download an application form and email it to the Waterford Local Enterprise Office. It may be useful to have an initial conversation with one of the LEO’s mentors before completing your application form. For details of how to avail of FREE mentoring support, contact Waterford LEO on 0761-102905.
A new Trading Online Voucher Scheme, available through Waterford Local Enterprise Office aims to help small and microenterprises get online. The voucher is worth up to €2,500. A second voucher of up to €2,500 can be sought once the first has been successfully utilised. Voucher numbers are limited - contact Waterford LEO for more information and application details.
The NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland) has produced a 'Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide' which will take you through the various steps and risk assessment to ensure the safety of your staff and customers.
Essential retail services that are still open during the Covid-19 pandemic will need to scrutinise and implement precautions at every step of their supply chain, from truck to till. The NSAI has also produced a 'Retail Protection and Improvement Guide' which consolidates practical guidance on how to manage continuity of the retail sector during Covid-19.
Enterprise Ireland opened the Call for funding for the COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme on Wednesday April 29th 2020 to support retail companies to enhance their digital capability. Full details of application process and eligibility criteria are available on the EI website now with the link to the application: www.enterprise-ireland.com/retail
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) has proposed this scheme in response to the Covid-19 crisis. This is a competitive fund which will be administered by Enterprise Ireland on behalf of DBEI with a total fund size of €2 million. Applicants must be an Irish-owned retail enterprise that had 10 or more employees on or before 29 February 2020, derive their primary income from an existing retail outlets and have an existing online presence.
The Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme is complimentary to the Online Trading Voucher provided by Local Enterprise Offices for companies with less than 10 employees. The maximum grant available is €40,000. Successful applicants will be awarded funding to support a maximum of 80% of the project costs. The minimum grant amount payable is €10,000. Costs which successful companies will be eligible to claim for include: salary costs and external service provider fees to develop a digital strategy, enhance the company’s website or to provide in-house training.
The final date for companies to submit an application is 3.00 pm on Wednesday 27th May 2020. No applications will be accepted after this time.
A Scheme Guidance Document was also prepared and is regularly updated. It can be found here and a link to a webinar hosted by Enterprise Ireland Friday April 17th is available here. If you have any queries on the application process, please email Enterprise Ireland at firstname.lastname@example.org