Cyprus Ministers of Finance, Constantinos Petrides and Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance, Zeta Emilianidou announced Friday an economic support package to the tune of €70 million for businesses and employees in an attempt to counterbalance the extension of restriction measures.
The package includes a fourth lump sum grant for businesses of a value of €30 million and the twelfth scheme in support of employees of a value of €40 million.
The lump sum package which is to be used to subsidise loan instalments, rent or other operational costs for March includes the amount of €700 for self-employed people who do not employ others, including pensioners; €1,200 for employers who have up to one employee; €2,000 for employers with 2 employees; €3,500 for employers with 3 - 5 employees; €5,000 for employers with 6 - 9 employees, €10,000 for employers with 21 - 50 employees and €15,000 for employers with over 50 employees.
Petrides said March is a "crucial month" that will be key both for the economy and the pandemic. The outcome, he added, will not just depend on government policies but also on everyone’s behaviour despite the fatigue.
Petrides noted that the government is taking note of the anguish among the public, businesses, and employees, and is adjusting its policies to deal with this incredibly difficult crises accordingly. “We can deal with this crisis collectively,” he said.
He outlined all the different support packages which have been announced by the government since the pandemic broke out in Cyprus, which amount to a total expenditure of around €1.6 billion.
On her part, Emilianidou said that according to government estimates, around 10,000 businesses which employ over 65,000 employees will benefit from the schemes.
According to Emilianidou the first scheme will benefit employers and self-employed people who work in the catering industry, including restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and other similar businesses, as well as dance schools, gyms, conference and trade exhibitions organisers, people working in the arts, amusement parks, thematic parks, playgrounds and all activities which have to do with entertainment and recreation.
She said that that pensioners are included in this grant scheme for the first time as well as a number of business owners who can prove that they had planned to open their business but did not manage to do so.
The scheme takes into account two criteria, she explained: the drop in the turnover of a business and the number of people employed in the business.
She also said that the government hopes to be able to disburse the grants by April 9.