Ministers agree more help for companies, theatres hit by coronavirus

The three ministers on their way to the press conference. Photo: Phil Nijhuis ANP

Ministers have agreed to extend financial help for companies facing difficulty meeting their fixed costs because of coronavirus to support industries, including suppliers and transport firms.

All companies which have lost more than 30% of their turnover because of coronavirus will be eligible to apply for funding under the TVL scheme to help meet costs such as rent and electricity bills. The amount of support can go up to €90,000.

The measure will only apply in the final quarter of 2020 and will cost the treasury some €140m.

The new support package was announced at a press conference held by the three responsible ministers, Eric Wiebes (economic affairs), Wouter Koolmees (social affairs) and Wopke Hoekstra (finance).

The new ruling is being introduced because the impact of the pandemic on the economy remains unpredictable, Hoekstra said.

‘The 3% economic growth forecast for next year depends on there not being a lockdown,’ he said. ‘We are now in a much more difficult situation and new economic consequences are unavoidable. There will be an impact on jobs, companies and the treasury.’

Hospitality industry

Ministers have also agreed that cafe, bar and restaurant owners will be able to claim an average of €2,500 in compensation for stock they cannot use because of the temporary closure and investments on making their premises coronavirus-proof. The amount that can be claimed will depend on their turnover.

Event organisers will also be able to claim an additional payment averaging around €14,000 and €40m has been set aside to help theatres which do not get subsidies but have been hit by show cancellations.

In addition, ministers are working on specific measures to help shops police social distancing regulations on a ‘public private basis’ and on encouraging people to take temporary jobs to bail out sectors such as the health service and education.

Plans to allow companies to take a ‘time out’ period so they can hibernate rather than file for bankruptcy are also taking shape, ministers said.

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