The Flemish government has announced that it will pay the water, gas and electricity bills for everyone who is "technically unemployed" because of the measures to contain the further spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19).
As many stores, shops and companies have to close to comply with the federal government's measures, a lot of employees cannot go to work.
"The water, gas and electricity bills for those who become technically unemployed will be covered by the Flemish government for the period of one month," said Flemish Minister for Energy Zuhal Demir during a press conference on Wednesday.
We laten de werknemers niet aan hun lot over. Vlaanderen neemt voor 1 maand de water-, gas- en elektriciteitsfactuur over van werknemers die hun inkomen zien dalen door plotse technische werkloosheid door #corona. pic.twitter.com/aKaJA388If— Zuhal Demir (@Zu_Demir) March 18, 2020
Translation: "We are not abandoning the employees. Flanders covers the water, gas and electricity bill of employees who see their income decrease due to sudden technical unemployment due to corona."
The government is currently working out how this will be handled administratively. If the shutdown measures last longer than one month, the Flemish government will draw up a system of deferral of payment for those affected.
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The Flemish government is earmarking €20 million for the measure, reports De Standaard. Additionally, the federal government announced that 400,000 people have applied for temporary unemployment because of the coronavirus. This figure is still expected to rise sharply.
"To aim is to take care of those bills for a month, to give the people a little peace of mind," said Jan Jambon, Minister-President of Flanders.
The Brussels Times