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Greece’s Relief Package for 2nd Covid-19 Lockdown: €3.3bn for Businesses, Workers

Greek Finance Minister Christos Staikouras. Photo source: @cstaikouras

The Greek Finance Ministry announced on Thursday that it would be releasing 3.3 billion euros in aid to support businesses and workers impacted by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic as Greece enters a second lockdown on Saturday.

The measures concern employees who have been suspended from work (furlough scheme), and aim to provide liquidity for businesses and additional support to property owners who have been required by law to lower rents as part of ongoing relief efforts.

More specifically, according to Finance Minister Christos Staikouras:

– the long-term unemployed will receive a one-off subsidy of 400 euros,

– employees in affected companies can go into furlough and receive a special-purpose allowance. Employees whose contracts were suspended in November will receive an 800-euro stipend (based on the number of days suspended) and Christmas allowance will be covered,

– companies that suspend operations will be able to postpone VAT payments for November until April 30. Dues can be repaid in 12 installments with zero interest or in 24 installments with an interest rate of 2.5 percent as of May,

– November debt for businesses that shut down can be pushed back to the end of the arrangement period,

– employees on temporary work suspension can freeze November debt payments and pay at the end of the due period,

– all loan installments have been suspended until the end of the year,

– unemployment benefits expiring in November and December have been extended for two months,

– approximately 130,000 long-term unemployed are entitled to a one-off 400-euro handout,

– impacted companies on the list of KAD activities are entitled to a 40 percent reduction in rent. The same applies to rents for affected workers’ first residence or student housing,

– the government will cover one-third of losses incurred for property owners forced to reduced rents,

– companies that suspend operations can tap into the fourth round of the “refundable advance payment” scheme – a security fund for SMEs – and receive 2,000 euros in support,

– the government is also examining the extension of the payment period for checks.

“The government is taking strict restrictive measures to stem the spread of the pandemic. These measures will have a major impact on the real economy and on public finances. This impact can be eased with public interventions to support households and businesses,” said Staikouras adding that Greek authorities have displayed quick reflexes are dealt with the Covid-19 shock in a timely, targeted and effective manner.

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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, 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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