COVID19: Another €30 mln per month for businesses, employees

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The government announced Thursday it would provide another €30 mln a month to further support workers and businesses affected by the pandemic and measures introduced to tackle it.

Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides and Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou announced at a joint conference a number of fresh support measures while extending already existing ones.

Pledges of extra cash come after Cyprus imposed stricter rules to contain a recent spike in coronavirus cases with Limassol and Paphos on lockdown.

Apart from travel restrictions shops, entertainment venues and catering establishments have also closed.

Petrides argued the economy could still afford to support people and businesses as the government has yet to exhaust its resources due to the way it handled the crisis so far.

“From the outset, we had said our handling should be such so as not to deplete our resources and reserves, as there is the risk the state may not be able to help workers, businesses and the health system when needed,” said Petrides.

“We haven’t reached the point of pay cuts. Our policy at the moment is a policy of supporting private consumption also. We are continuing this successful policy which we have implemented so far.”

The minister said the schemes rolled out by the government include financial support for workers, subsidies for businesses whose turnover was reduced beyond 80% and businesses which have fully suspended their operations.

In total the Finance Ministry has five support schemes up running which include:

  • Scheme to support workers unable to continue working during the new measures
  • Scheme to provide subsidies for businesses whose turnover was reduced beyond 80% due to measures adopted from the beginning of the outbreak
  • Scheme to provide subsidies for businesses which fully suspended their operations
  • Six-month extension to scheme subsidizing interest rates on new business loans
  • Six-month extension to scheme subsidizing interest rates on new housing loans.

Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou said that the last two schemes will be given a six-month extension until June 30, 2021.

Emilianidou said the new arrangements would cost the state an additional €30 mln per month, on top of the between €130 mln and €150 mln set aside for similar measures announced last week.

She said the government has dished out more than €700 mln in support around 190,000 workers.

The Labour Minister unveiled a special allowance equal to 60% of income for workers in Limassol and Paphos who cannot go to work due to restrictions while special services for vulnerable people in Limassol and Paphos will be set up.

An 8pm curfew, a ban on movement to and from Limassol and Paphos, closure of lyceums have been imposed while the rest of the island is under an 11 pm curfew with hospitality closing at 10.30 pm.