City leaders hope the emergency cash will tide businesses over but have called on the Government to do more to save the sector.
Pubs and bars in the Liverpool City Region were mandated to close on Wednesday (14 October) unless they could operate as restaurants.
The area was the first to be placed into the “very high” risk category under the new tiered system, where different households are banned from socialising together in any setting.
Local leaders said the Government’s scheme did not provide workers with an adequate wage subsidy and warned permanent closures and mass job losses were on the horizon without additional support.
The scheme will aim to help hospitality businesses for up to four months.
Operators can apply for a grant from today (Friday 16 October) until the application window closes at 5pm on Friday 30 October, through their local authority’s website.
An initial sum is to reach businesses within 10 days of their application being approved.
In a joint statement, the metro mayor, city mayor and leaders of the city region’s six local authorities slammed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s measures for falling “far short of what our region needs and deserves”.
They said: “If 80% was the right level of support back in March, then it should be in November. Lots of the people affected by these new restrictions will be in low paid, insecure work and it is deeply unfair to expect them to survive on two-thirds of the minimum wage.”
“We know business owners and staff are absolutely at breaking point and we will do anything we can to prevent businesses and jobs going to the wall.
The leaders said they would continue to push “for a more comprehensive funding package".
Government has stepped away
They added: "We will continue to fight for a more comprehensive funding package, but in the meantime, where the national government has stepped away, we, as local leaders, will step up.
“We know that once a business is gone, they are gone, and we must do everything we can to prevent that.
“Our hope is that this fund can provide some interim support and will mean local businesses and their staff survive in the coming weeks and months, until the government does the right thing.
“Our own teams have worked round the clock, in partnership with the sector, to get this fund ready for applications.
“We are committed to ensuring that we turn applications round at pace and get money to those businesses who so desperately need it.
“If, and when, we are successful in securing more national support, it may well replace the need for this fund, enabling us to repurpose the money back to other areas where it is also sorely needed.”