58,000 people have applied for the COVID-19 unemployment payment to date, the Social Protection Minister has said.
Regina Doherty says her department has already processed 43,000 of those applications for the €203 base payment.
Minister Doherty said the modeling for the number of workers likely to be impacted changes daily, with different industries being impacted every day.
She should the number of impacted workers could be "as drastic" as 500,000 - but that they'll do everything they can to ensure anyone who needs income support gets it.
She again called on employers to pay affected employees the equivalent amount to the six-week COVID-19 welfare payment - saying they will be reimbursed by the Revenue Commissioners.
Meanwhile, weekly social welfare payments will now be paid every two weeks, to ensure people who collect their payments from the post office only need to go once every two weeks.
Min. @ReginaDo - We have made a decision to change our weekly payments of our social welfare payments. We are going to move to pay people on a fortnightly basis. We are doing this so if you do continue to go to the post office, you will only have to go fortnightly. @welfare_ie
— MerrionStreet.ie (@merrionstreet) March 19, 2020
Minister Doherty praised her department's staff for their work in recent days, saying what had "happened over months and months in 2008 and 2009 is happening over the last three days”.
It came as the Government announced a number of supports for businesses impacted by the coronavirus situation.
A €200m working capital scheme for businesses is being established, with loans of up to €1.5m available at reduced rates.
A €200m package for enterprise supports is also available through Enterprise Ireland for ‘vulnerable but viable firms’.
The maximum loan available from Microfinance Ireland has been increased from €25,000 to €50,000.
Business Minister Heather Humphreys said there will be a range of supports for firms experiencing trading difficulties and short-term shocks, and that her department will write to all companies on the Companies Register to highlight the various measures in place.
Acknowledging that the current situation is unprecedented, she said: “Businesses can adapt and economies can recover.
"We can make the decisions and take the actions that will ensure we minimise the worst impacts of this disruption.”