Flemish businesses losing at least 60% of their turnover to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis are to benefit from a new support mechanism announced by the regional government.
The measure, announced on Friday, covers the period from 1 August to 30 September, but the assistance can only be requested after then. It will be in the form of a financial injection with a ceiling of 15,000 euros per business, to be reduced for self-employed persons and companies open for fewer days than in August-September 2019.
While businesses can only apply for the assistance from October, they can already receive an advance of up to 2,000 euros.
The Flemish Government also decided on Friday to extend a two-month rent advance to the events sector, and plans to adapt its decree on the win-win loan to increase the amounts that businesses can borrowed to remain afloat. The Flemish Parliament still has to approve the plan.
Labour and Economy Minister Hilda Crevits and regional Prime Minister Jan Jambon stressed on Friday that the measures are aimed at protecting businesses that were sound before the COVID-19 crisis from going bankrupt. They recognised that Summer 2020 has been a nightmare for businesses in the events sector, which usually rely on this time of the year to step up their activities.
Flanders has earmarked 80 million euros from its annual budget for the new mechanism, but its real cost is still anyone’s guess.
Local Government Minister Bart Somers has called on local authorities to look into “supplementary measures” to help their enterprises.