ECONOMY

New round of market support

Culture and food service to be the first to benefit from package of gov’t offsetting measures

new-round-of-market-support

New government measures for offsetting the economic impact of the pandemic and giving support to businesses hurt by restrictions are on the way, probably coming next week.

The focus of the measures will mainly be on the sectors of culture and food service, with support concerning workers being put on furlough and a financial boost for affected enterprises, according to Finance Ministry sources.

The main criterion will be the comparative decline of turnover, as determined by the online transaction data collected by the ministry on a weekly basis. The same sources note there will be no horizontal interventions, but targeted ones, depending on turnover fluctuations. Therefore, the preferred course of action is to wait a few days to collect reliable figures on online transactions and have the measures shaped accordingly. The sources add that the measures will be related to the economic obligations coming up for businesses at the end of the month, so any decisions will be taken before that.

The sector of culture will definitely take center stage. Several theater plays, for example, have been canceled because actors have become ill or are in quarantine, so some support is certainly due.

However, in terms of size the food service sector is considerably bigger, with Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis already suggesting there will be financial support for it too.

“We must first see the actual impact on food service before deciding what kind of support will be granted,” a senior Finance Ministry official said.

The first measure will concern the suspension of contracts and the provision of a special-purpose compensation to a broader circle of businesses, beyond those already addressed a few days ago, i.e. bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

Also on the drawing board is another support tool for corporations, not in the form of state loans (as in the successful Deposit To Be Returned) but some form of grant instead.