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Greece Launches Financial Support Plan for All Covid-hit Businesses

Athens, Greece. Photo © Maria Theofanopoulou

Greek banks will suspend performing business loan payments for Covid-19– hit businesses as part of a package of relief measures announced on Tuesday by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Mitsotakis strongly advised against laying off staff while announcing measures applicable to all businesses in Greece impacted by the coronoavirus pandemic in efforts to keep them above water.

More specifically, according to a joint press conference by Greek economy, investments and labor ministers, the relief actions include suspending tax and social security contribution payments to 31 July 2020; subsidies of up to 1 billion euros depending on losses and jobs retained; some 500,000 employees not working due to closure are eligible for 800 euros in April and a four-month deferment in tax payments, which also applies to self-employed individuals; 1.8 billion euros from the European Investment Fund will go towards the support of business liquidity, employment and salaries; VAT will be reduced to 6 percent from the current 24 percent on products in high demand due to the coronavirus outbreak, including such items as masks, gloves, soap etc; property taxes for 2020 (ENFIA) will remain at current levels with new real estate values to take effect as of 2021; and Greek banks will be suspending the repayment of performing business loans at least until September 30.

No staff layoffs essential

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras stressed on Wednesday that businesses which closed down due to Covid-19 will receive state support as long as they keep staff.

He added that banks would remain open but with no face-to-face transactions.

“We are at the beginning of the fight. Other packages of measures will follow so that we will emerge from the battle with the fewest possible losses,” Staikouras said.

SETE sees measures as positive for tourism

Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) President Yiannis Retsos welcomed the measures noting that tourism was at the forefront of the unprecedented “historic juncture”, which has struck “the industry at its very foundation”.

Retsos added that the times now required levelheadedness, coordination, consistency and additional measures at a later stage as the situation evolves in order to move quickly for the recovery of the Greek economy, for the rapid reconstruction of Greek society.

“Tourism must rise to the occasion for the recovery of the Greek economy, for the rapid reconstruction of the Greek society. With this strategic choice, the measures announced today by the government are deemed positive, giving a first significant sign of hope,” SETE’s president said.

So far, Greece has reported at least 418 confirmed coronavirus infections and five fatalities, with the death toll in Europe at 3,422 now exceeding that in Asia (3,384).

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and SETimes.com, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.

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