BUSINESSES that were forced to shut down during the national lockdown can apply for a government grant aimed at helping them to operate safely as restrictions ease.

Firms that have previously received a government Covid-19 business support grant are being contacted to confirm eligibility and will be paid via their existing details held by Barrow Borough Council.

The new initiative is to support non-essential retail and hospitality, leisure, gym, personal care and accommodation businesses.

The Government’s Restart Grant was announced in the budget in March and will be administered by local councils from this month (April) and will close at the end of June.

A spokesperson for Barrow Borough Council said: "If you own a business in any of the eligible sectors, we urge that you visit our website to see whether you qualify. The scheme is now open but it will close on June 30."