COVID-19 Tracker

Get an overview of pandemic related restrictions impacting Shopping Places in European markets

Last update: 21 May 2021

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EU

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Concerning safe travels, the Commission urges Member States (MS) to adopt the Council’s recommendation and use the ECDC colour-coded map (available here: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/covid-19/situation-updates/weekly-maps-coordinated-restriction-free-movement) to coordinate restrictions for travellers from high-risk areas.
  • The Commission encourages all Member States to have a contact tracing app in place – these apps should be linked cross-border through the ‘European Federation Gateway Service’.
  • Please find the most recent Commission guidelines here: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_1986
  • Please find the timeline of EU action here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/coronavirus-response/timeline-eu-action_en
  • On 25 January, the Commission proposed to review the Council Recommendations which had been issued in October 2020. More specifically, the proposal includes:
    1. An update to the agreed colour code for the mapping of risk areas.
    2. Stricter measures applied to travellers from higher-risk areas.
  • On 20 May, the European Parliament and Council reached an agreement on the EU Digital COVID Certificate. As a reminder, these certificates aim at facilitating free movement within the EU. The document will attest that a person has been either vaccinated against COVID-19, holds a negative test result, or has recovered from a COVID-19 infection. The political agreement will now have to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. The Regulation will enter into force on 1 July, with a phasing-in period of six weeks for the issuance of certificates for those Member States that need additional time.

Shop owners & tenants

  • N/A

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A

On 28 January 2021, the Commission announced to extend the Temporary Framework for State Aid until 31 December 2021. Given the persisting economic uncertainty, the Commission also decided to increase the aid ceilings.

This Temporary Framework provides for different types of state aid:

  • Direct grants (or tax advantages) of up to €1.8 million (previously €800,000) per company
  • Member States will be able to convert repayable instruments (guarantees, loans, repayable advances) granted under the Temporary Framework into other forms of aid, such as direct grants.
  • Subsidised State guarantees on bank loans
  • Public and private loans with subsidised interest rates
  • Additional flexibility to enable short-term export credit insurance to be provided by the State where needed.

For companies especially hit by the coronavirus crisis (recording turnover losses of at least 30% during the eligible period compared to the same period of 2019), the State can contribute to the part of the fixed costs of companies that are not covered by their revenues, in an amount up to €10 million per company (previously €3 million).

More information here: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_26

On 17 March, the European Commission revealed its plans for a COVID-19 certification scheme, proposing a ‘Digital Green Certificate’. In hopes to stimulate travel and return to free movement within the EU, the framework looks to include information on the vaccination status of an individual against COVID-19. As a next step, the proposal is now going to the European Parliament and the Council. The Commission aims for the Certificate to be in place by mid-June, in time for the European summer holiday season.

On 19 April, the European Commission adopted revised EU guidelines on regional State aid, setting out the rules under which Member States can grant State aid to companies to support the economic development of disadvantaged areas in the EU, while ensuring a level playing field between Member States. The revised Guidelines will enter into force on 1 January 2022.

Austria

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • General Remarks: Lockdown ended on 19 May.
  • Face masks are mandatory in indoor public areas. FFP2 masks are required in public transport and shops.
  • Curfew: N/A
  • Services: Personal service services reopened on 19 May. To receive services, customers have to register and provide either a negative test result, a proof of vaccination or a proof of recovery from a COVID-19 infection. Closing hour is 22.00.
  • Non-essential shops: All shops are open (FFP2 masks required for shoppers) since 3 May. Since 19 May, the closing hour for non-essential shops is 22.00.
  • Restaurants: Since 19 May, catering establishments may receive customers again with comprehensive health measures in place. To receive services, guests will have to register and provide either a negative test result, a proof of vaccination or a proof of recovery from a COVID-19 infection. Closing hour shall be 22.00. Max. 4 adults (+6 children) per table indoors and max. 10 adults (+10 children) per table outdoors are allowed.
  • Cultural institutions: Since 19 May, leisure facilities (e.g. cinemas, theatres, operas) are open again with comprehensive health measures in place. To receive services, guests will have to register and provide either a negative test result, a proof of vaccination or a proof of recovery from COVID-19 infection. Closing hour shall be 22.00.

Shop owners & tenants

  • Since 2021, a so-called “Ausfallsbonus” will enable businesses whose turnover decrease by 40 % or more, to get reimbursed. The reimbursement will amount to 30 % of the decreased turnover. The Ausfallsbonus has been extended until June 2021. More information can be found here (in German) https://www.usp.gv.at/news/Verlaengerung-der-Wirtschaftshilfen-bis-Juni-2021.html
  • Rental reduction: if leased premises cannot be used or utilized at all due to extraordinary circumstances, the tenant does not have to pay rent for the duration and to the extent to which the premises is unable to be used pursuant to sections 1104 et seq ABGB. (Here there is only a judgement over a hairdresser in first instance)

Restaurants

  • Covered by the “Ausfallsbonus”

Culture

  • Covered by the “Ausfallsbonus”

Comprehensive help package for companies:

  • Tax payments deferrals or reductions (€10 billion allocated): With a simple form, companies can either ask for a complete deferral of their tax payments or for a reduction. No default interest will be charged for the deferrals.
  • Emergency aid (€4 billion): This finances, among other things, short-time work program and aids to small companies.

Belgium

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks are mandatory in public transport (including at stops and stations), in shops and shopping malls, cinemas, public buildings, etc. It is mandatory to wear a facemask in all outdoor and indoor public spaces in Brussels.
  • Curfew: The curfew has been replaced by a ban on gatherings: between midnight and 5.00, gatherings may only take place in public areas with a maximum of 3 people or with members of the same household (people living under the same roof). In Brussels, it is forbidden to drink alcohol in the street between 22:00 and 05:00.
  • Services: From 26.4.2021, non-medical close-contact professions, including hairdressers and beauticians, will be allowed to reopen subject to tightened protocols.
  • Non-essential shops: Non-essential shops are open. Shopping with a maximum of 2 persons and for a maximum of 30 minutes is allowed. Capacity in the shops is reduced. Night shops are open until 22:00.
  • Restaurants: Restaurants, bars and cafés are open (only outside terraces). Take away meals are permitted until 22.00. It is forbidden to sell alcoholic beverages after 20.00 and until 5.00. 
  • Cultural institutions: Museums are open with restrictions.

General remarks

  • The federal government has implemented a series of measures  to help entrepreneurs restart their activities. In addition to the extension of certain measures taken during the first confinement, the federal executive also approved a vast socio-economic plan, with a special envelope of up to €500 million. Last April, the government also decided to release an additional €835 million to support sectors gradually opened from May 2021 on, such as HORECA.

Shop owners & tenants

  • The federal government developed a payment delay and loan guarantee scheme for households and businesses hit by the coronavirus crisis.
  • The Flemish government
    provides a loan to tenants (of commercial leases) of a maximum two months’ rent up to €35,000.
  • The Belgian Cour de Cassation has emphasized the good faith principle in the performance of lease
    agreements. An interest claim or an eviction request of the tenant due to possible delays because of the Coronavirus outbreak will not be successfully granted before the courts.

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A
  • Companies/organisations can obtain postponement of capital repayments for existing credits for maturities in January, February and March 2021 until 31.03.2021 at the latest. This measure should give companies/organisations the necessary oxygen to meet their (other) financial obligations now that their income is diminishing or has completely disappeared. The deadline for the moratorium is extended to the end of June 2021 , according to the terms in force.
  • For every employer all temporary unemployment resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19 will still be considered as temporary unemployment due to force majeure from 1.10.2020 to 30.06.2021
  • On the 19.02.21, Commission approved the €149 million Belgian scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies (except the financial sector) in Flanders. The public support will take the form of direct grants to companies that have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 60% during the period 1 April to 31 December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. The beneficiaries will receive grants up to a maximum of 10% of their turnover during this period in 2019. For medium and large companies, the aid will be limited to a maximum of 70% of their uncovered fixed costs during the same period in 2020. For micro and small businesses, it will be limited to 90% of the uncovered fixed costs during the same 2020 period. Grants will not exceed €2 million per beneficiary and are subject to a further variable ceiling based on employment and turnover decline of the beneficiary.
  • On the 31.03.21, Commission approved the €200 million Belgian subsidised loans scheme to support economic activity in Wallonia. The public support, which will take the form of subsidised interest rates for senior and subordinated loans, will be open to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large companies active in all sectors of the economy, except for the financial sector. The aid will be administered by the Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie S.A. The objective of the measure is to mitigate the liquidity shortages that these businesses experienced due to the measures that were implemented in Wallonia due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Bulgaria

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks are mandatory in all indoor public places. Outside, masks should be worn at places with larger gatherings of people (i.e. bus stop, queue at a shop, etc.)
  • Curfew: N/A
  • Services:Visits to fitness centres, gyms and swimming pools are allowed, using no more than 50% of their total capacity.
  • Non-essential shops: Open with restrictions. People over the age of 65 can visit grocery stores and pharmacies only in the time slot between 08:30 and 10:30, during which people under the age of 65 are not allowed.
  • Restaurants: : Visits to catering establishments are allowed between 6:00 and 23:00, using up to 50% of the total capacity.
  • Cultural institutions: Open at 30% capacity 

Shop owners & tenants

  • N/A

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A

The European Commission has approved a Bulgarian BGN 500 million (approx. €255 million) public guarantee scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020.

On 30 March 2021, the Commission approved the modification of a scheme providing wage support to employers and the self-employed in sectors most affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Under the state aid Temporary Framework, the scheme, first approved in July 2020 and previously extended in December 2020, was granted a second extension until end-2021, a budgetary increase from approximately €20.5 million to around €76.7 million, and amendments extending the scope of the eligible beneficiaries.

Croatia

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks: Face masks are required in all public indoor spaces.
  • Curfew: N/A
  • Services: Gyms, fitness, and sport recreation centres are closed. Only the highest category of sporting events and trainings is allowed.
  • Non-essential shops: Shops are open, personal hygiene and disinfection should be maintained. There is a ban on the sale of alcohol between 22.00 and 06.00.
  • Restaurants: Restaurants, bars and cafés are allowed to serve in outdoor spaces, and to offer take-away and delivery services. Opening time is between 06.00 and 22.00. Regional and local restrictions may apply.
  • Cultural institutions: Cinemas, museums, theatres, professional artistic projections/exhibitions/performances can operate with limited capacity. Establishments should close at 22.00.

Shop owners & tenants

  • N/A

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A

On 11 January, the European Commission approved an approximately €202 million (HRK 1.525 billion) Croatian State aid scheme to support companies of all sizes active in the sports and tourism sectors (and in directly related ones, such as accommodations, restaurants) and , affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Czech Republic

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks: As of 10 May, it is no longer mandatory to wear a facemask outdoors provided that a maximum number of 2 people is observed on less than 2 metres. 
  • Curfew: N/A
  • Services: As of 3 May, hairdressers, barber shops and similar services are allowed to re-open. Clients must present either a PCR test no older than 7 days or an antigen test no older than 72 hours.
  • Non-essential shops: As of 10 May,  the ban on retail sales and on the provision of most services in establishments are lifted. As far as shopping malls are concerned, where only shops selling essential goods (especially groceries and pharmacies) are allowed to open. A priority entrance has to be ensured for people with a disability, to prevent them from waiting in long queues.
  • Restaurants: Catering establishments are temporarily closed, but the takeaway window can be open between 06:00 and 22:00, while home delivery is in function without time limits. 
  • Cultural institutions: As of 3 May, museums and galleries are open in the following regions:
    • Prague
    • Karlovy Vary
    • Plzeň
    • Hradec Králové
    • Central Bohemia
    • Liberec
    • Pardubice

    A limited number of visitors is allowed (one person per 15 square metres).

Shop owners & tenants

  • A COVID – Rent program has been put in place and applies to all entities that have been banned from operating. Tenants whose shops have been closed will get 50% of Q3 rent as State Aid. Landlords need to sign an affidavit in which they confirm the existence of the lease during Q3, the amount of rent and that at least 50 % of the Q3 rent has been paid.

  • More details available here: https://www.mpo.cz/cz/rozcestnik/pro-media/tiskove-zpravy/opatreni-na-pomoc-podnikatelum-a-zivnostnikum–253690/

  • On the 24.02.2021, Commission approved the €115 million Czech rent compensation scheme to support retail businesses and service companies. The public support, which will take the form of direct grants, will cover 50% of the original rent due for the months of October, November and December 2020. The purpose of the scheme is to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that companies are facing due to the measures introduced by the Czech government to limit the spread of the coronavirus.   

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A
  • Businessmen who have had to close their premises since October as a result of the government decree will receive additional financial assistance from the state to the value of CZK 400 per employee. This was approved by the government on the 04.01.2021.

  • Support for closed premises will be provided in the form of a subsidy for operating costs, applied retrospectively to the period from 14.10.2020 to 10.01.2021, with the option that this final deadline may be extended if the epidemic situation continues to require the closure of these establishments; it will be paid out only for those days when business operations were directly restricted on the basis of the crisis measures, primarily through a ban on the presence of the public in premises, but also in other ways.

  • The first call of the subsidy programme named COVID – Gastro – Closed premises will have 2.5 billion crowns made available. Employees will include both those directly employed and any self-employed persons.

  • The Antivirus Program was introduced for the protection of employment. This program mainly consists of subsidies for wage payments, which are paid to the employees by the employers affected by COVID-19 and related government measures. The subsidies will be provided up to 100% of the wage compensation, up to the maximum amount of CZK 50,000 / month / employee, until the 29-02-2021.

  • On the 29.03.21, Commission approved a Czech scheme (‘COVID Invest’) for guarantees on new investment loans to support lending to companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak, as well as the modification of an existing scheme (‘COVID Plus’), which provides guarantees to large exporting companies. The ‘COVID Invest’ scheme will share its budget with an earlier scheme (‘COVID III’), which was approved by the Commission on 15 May 2020. These two measures can jointly generate loans with a nominal amount of up to approximately €19.3 billion (CZK 500 billion). The ‘COVID Invest’ scheme will provide guarantees on new investment loans to SMEs and large enterprises with up to 500 employees active in all sectors, excluding the financial sector as well as companies active in the extraction or manufacturing of coal, petroleum, or gas, tobacco manufacturing and retail sales, and, gambling and betting activities. The scheme will provide guarantees on loans addressing the liquidity needs of firms whose financial needs have increased significantly over the past year, including fast-growth companies, start-ups and scale-ups. The scheme will be managed by the Czech promotional bank (CMZRB).

 

  • On April 26, European Commission approved a Czech scheme worth €1.9 billion to support the uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme will be open to all companies of all sizes and active in all sectors, except the financial sector. The public support will compensate part of the uncovered fixed costs incurred by the beneficiaries in a period between March 2020 and December 2021 and will take the form of direct grants. Eligible companies must have sustained a turnover decline of at least 30% in the relevant period, compared to before the coronavirus outbreak. The companies will be entitled to receive support amounting to a maximum of 70% of their fixed costs (up to 90% of their fixed costs if they are micro or small enterprises). The purpose of the scheme is to mitigate the economic difficulties and the liquidity shortages that the beneficiaries are facing due to the restrictive measures imposed by the Czech government to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

 

  • On May 10, The European Commission approved an approximately € 1.9 billion (CZK 50 billion) Czech scheme addressed to companies of all sizes and active in all sectors, except the financial sector. Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of direct grants, guarantees or loans to compensate beneficiaries for the expenditures incurred in the period February 2020 to December 2021. Eligible companies are those that experienced a minimum decline in turnover in the range of 25% to 50% during the relevant period, if compared to the same period before the coronavirus outbreak. In the case of companies active in the cultural sector, the eligible ones are those that have been prevented or restricted from providing cultural services to the public because of the measures put in place by the government to limit the spread of the virus. The aim of the scheme is to provide the beneficiaries with sufficient liquidity to continue their activities during and after the coronavirus outbreak.

Denmark

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks: Mandatory in most public areas including shopping centres
  • Curfew: N/A
  • Services: Tattooists, body piercers, spa clinics, body lounges, beauty parlours, massage parlours, hairdressers as well as tanning studios, driving schools and similar establishments involving close in-person contact with clients are allowed to stay open. In some cities with high infection rates, these establishments must be closed.
  • Non-essential shops: Supermarkets and certain shops and stores are allowed to stay open. Grocery shops/supermarkets, pharmacies and specialist shops selling medical equipment can stay open, also if they are located in a shopping centre. Shopping centres, shopping arcades and bazaars are allowed to re-open.
  • Restaurants: Restaurants, cafés, bars, etc. must be closed between 23:00 and 05:00. Alcohol will not be served after 22.00. For indoor service, a “corona passport” must be presented, and a table reservation is required no later than 30 minutes prior to arrival.
  • Cultural institutions: Museums, art galleries and libraries are open (with corona passes).

Shop owners & tenants

  • Companies affected by restrictions in the period from November 1 to February 28, 2021 can apply for compensation. Here, the compensation period will depend on which restriction (s) the company is affected by. To seek compensation, the company must be able to document that one or more restrictions are the cause of a revenue loss.

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • On 23 March 2021, the Commission approved, under EU state aid rules, a scheme of around €38.5 million to support Danish companies active in the culture sector and small non-professional sporting activities affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Under the scheme, the beneficiaries are eligible for grants and compensations for the losses incurred due to the restrictive measures set in place due to the pandemic.
  • Under the scheme, companies active in the culture sector and small non-professional sporting activities can receive a grant covering 50% of the ticket prices for activities taking place between 27 June and 9 August 2020, if they provided a 50% discount to their customers with respect to their prices on 15 June 2020. Companies organising summer camps offering culture or sports related activities to clients under 18 years old during the same period are eligible for a compensation of 25% of the participation fee if they granted a 25% discount on such fees to their customers.
  • Companies across the country can seek compensation for the period from December 9, 2020 to January 17, 2021. Companies affected by restrictions in the period from November 1 to February 28, 2021 can apply for compensation. Here, the compensation period will depend on which restriction (s) the company is affected by. To seek compensation, the company must be able to document that one or more restrictions are the cause of a revenue loss.

  • On the 05.03.2021, the European Commission approved the €34 million Danish tax deferral scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The public support will take the form of an interest-free credit facility concerning the payment of VAT due by SMEs in March 2021 ( i.e., the VAT due by small undertakings for their activities for the whole year 2020 and by medium-sized undertakings for the third and fourth quarters of 2020). The aim of the scheme is to ease the liquidity constraints faced by those SMEs that have been severely affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, thus helping them to continue their activities.
  • Proposed initiatives introduced in the Danish parliament aim to strengthen the liquidity of the Danish business sector in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. There are measures to postpone the payment deadlines for “A-tax” and social security contributions for all businesses for a period of four and one-half months, extend “loan arrangements” (effectively, a refund of tax in the form of an interest-free loan) for the payment of A-tax for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and allow a similar value added tax (VAT) “loan arrangement” for SMEs.

France

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks: Masks are compulsory in enclosed public places. 
  • Curfew: A nightly curfew is currently in force in Metropolitan France. Between 21:00 and 6:00 you may leave your residence only for compelling reasons. From 9 June, the nighttime curfew will start at 23:00. From 30 June, the curfew will be completely lifted.
  • Non-essential shops: Reopened on 19 May.

  • Restaurants: Restaurants, bars and cafés are open for outdoor service (terraces) with a limit of 6 people per table. Restaurants and cafés are expected to re-open also indoors on 9 June, with a maximum of 6 people per table.

  • Cultural institutions: Cultural establishments, cinemas, theatres and museums are open with a maximum of 800 people indoors and 1.000 people outdoors. From 9 June, the maximum number of people in cultural establishments is increased to 5.000.

Shop owners & tenants

Announced on the 31.01.2021:

  • Closed businesses (in shopping centers) will benefit from the reinforced solidarity fund, with a right of option between compensation for loss of turnover up to €10,000 or compensation of 20% of turnover capped at €200,000 per month.
  • For network stores, particularly large integrated retailers for which the €200,000 compensation would be insufficient, the scheme to cover 70% of fixed costs will be open to them. This aid will enable shopkeepers to meet their rent and charges.
  • On 09.03.2021, the European Commission approved the €2 billion French scheme to further support all companies that will suffer a monthly turnover decline between January 2021 and November 2021 of at least 30% compared to the same period prior to the coronavirus outbreak. The aid will help the beneficiaries pay 70% (90% in case of micro and small companies) of their fixed costs that are not covered by revenues, up to a maximum of €10 million per undertaking. The purpose of the scheme is to mitigate the economic difficulties and the liquidity shortages that the beneficiaries are facing due to the restrictive measures that the French government had to impose by the French government to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Restaurants

  • More than €10 billion have yet been dedicated to the F&B sector, through tax exoneration, 100% furlough scheme coverage, and up to 10k€/months can be deployed for each structure proving more than 50% loss of sales.

Culture

  • €385 million have been destined to support to the cultural sector.
  • Solidarity Fund: Businesses with fewer than 50 employees that are administratively closed will be able to receive monthly compensation for lost turnover of up to €10,000. For the month of December, administratively closed businesses will be able to access the Solidarity Fund regardless of their size: aid of up to €10,000 or compensation of 20% of their 2019 turnover. For all other businesses with fewer than 50 employees that can remain open but suffer a loss of more than 50% of their turnover, Solidarity Fund aid of up to €1,500 per month is restored in November and December.
  • Partial activity: For totally or partially closed businesses, all employees, including the head of the business if he is an employee, benefit from the partial activity scheme, with zero remaining at the expense of the business. Employees receive an indemnity of 84% of their net remuneration, with the State and Unédic paying the equivalent amount to the companies. For companies that are open but with a reduction in your activity: All employees benefit from the partial activity scheme, with zero remaining at the expense of the company for companies in the tourism, events, culture, sport or related sectors, with 10% remaining at the expense of the company in other sectors. The employee still receives 84% of his net remuneration.
  • Reinforcement and extension of exemptions from social security contributions: For companies with fewer than 50 employees that are administratively closed, if you are an employer, you will benefit over the period concerned from total exemption from your employer’s social security contributions, excluding supplementary pensions, as well as assistance with the payment of social security contributions of 20% of the wage bill.
  • Referral of social contributions: Employers may defer all or part of the payment of employee and employer contributions for the deadlines of 5 and 15 December 2020, simply by making a prior online request on the URSSAF website. If there is no response within 48 hours, this request will be considered as accepted. Contributions that are not paid are automatically deferred. The collection bodies (URSSAF, MSA funds) will contact employers at a later date to propose a plan for settling their debts.
  • A tax credit to reduce rents: The Government has proposed that a tax credit be introduced in the finance bill for 2021 to encourage landlords to cancel part of the rents due by their tenant businesses that are administratively closed or particularly affected by the health restrictions implemented. The Government has obtained a commitment from the main representatives of landlords to cancel rents from tenant companies for the month of November 2020.
  • Reinforcement of state-guaranteed loans and direct state loans to businesses: All businesses will be able to take out a state-guaranteed loan until 30 June 2021 by contacting their usual bank advisor. Repayment of the state-guaranteed loan may be spread over a further one to five years, with rates for small and medium-sized businesses negotiated with French banks ranging from 1 to 2.5%, including the state guarantee. Companies that so wish may request a further one-year deferment of capital repayment, i.e. a total of two years of deferment.

Germany

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • General note: A so-called “emergency brake” is automatically activated if the number of new infections in a district or city exceeds 100 per 100,000 inhabitants for 3 days in a row. In such case, the following restrictions will apply:
    • Overnight curfew from 22:00 to 05:00;
    • A jog or a walk would be allowed until midnight;
    • Schools should close and switch to online learning when the incidence rate reaches 165 in 100,000 people;
    • Non-essential shops will be allowed “click-and-collect” operations if the incidence rate is between 100 and 150;
    • Sport must be limited to members of a household or in pairs if the incidence rate reaches 100;
    • Children under 14 can still play sport in small groups
  • Face masks are mandatory in all indoor public places. Surgical masks or FFP2 masks are required in public transport.
  • Curfew: Measures differ depending on the states and municipalities
  • Services: Several personal care services, such as hairdressers, can open under strict conditions. For some services a negative test result for COVID-19 is required.

  • Non-essential shops: Retail stores, with the exception of grocery stores and shops to meet daily needs, are closed. Book shops, garden centres and flowers shops can open. In areas where the infection rate is between 50 and 100 infections per 100 000 inhabitants in seven days, more shops are allowed to open, although under strict conditions (reserved time slot).

  • Restaurants: Restaurants, bars and cafés are closed (except for take-away).

  • Cultural institutions: In areas where the infection rate is beteween 50 and 100 infections per 100 000 inhabitants in seven days, museums, galeries and zoos can open under strict conditions. If the infection rate drops below 50 infections per 100 000 inhabitants in seven days, museums, galeries, and zoos can open with less restrictions.

On 31 December 2020 new legislation on commercial rent entered into effect, which makes clear that shutdowns and other governmental restrictions constitute contract frustration. However, the legislation does not answer the question whether and for what amount and for the benefit of which party – landlord or tenant – the lease can be amended, which is likely to lead to further debates in front of courts.

Shop owners & tenants

  • According to a law, which entered into force on 1 April, the non-payment of rents due for April, May and June 2020 does not entitle the landlord to terminate the lease until June 30, 2022, provided that the non-performance is due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although, the non-payment does not lead to a termination right of the landlord, the claim of the landlord for the payment of the rent remains in place.

Restaurants

  • VAT reduction in catering: The VAT for meals in catering will be reduced beyond 30 June 2021 until 31 December 2022 to the reduced tax rate of 7%.

Culture

  • EUR 0.4 billion will support the cultural sector (assuming 40% of total EUR 1 bn allocated to 2020).

Between January and June 2021, the German government will deploy €130 billion under its “Überbrückungshilfe III” package to stabilise the economy:

  • Short-term aid (available since June 2020): €25 billion in grants are currently available which will not have to be repaid. On the 25.03.21, Germany extended its liquidity aid program for pandemic-hit companies until the end of year 2021. The government also decided to lift the upper limit for loans in the emergency program to a maximum of 1.8 million euros from April 1 to help also larger companies. The special loan program was launched in March 2020 and so far has channeled liquidity aid of 49 billion euros to mainly small- and medium-sized firms.
  • Extraordinary economic assistance: Companies affected are eligible for a one-off lump-sum payment of up to 75% of the revenue they generated in November 2019. A total of up to €10 billion is available for this purpose.
  • Extended tax loss carryback (to stay solvent despite revenue losses): For 2020 and 2021, the maximum basic amount will be upped to €5 million or, in the case of a joint assessment, to €10 million.
  • Reduction of the electricity surcharge: The federal government will be subsidising a reduction of the surcharge on electricity consumers: it will be 6.5 ct/kwh in 2021, and 6.0 ct/kwh in 2022.

More information available here: https://www.bundesfinanzministerium.de/Web/EN/Issues/Priority-Issues/stimulus-package-for-everyone/stimulus-package-for-everyone.html#t-companies

German finance minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) has defended his €240 billion stimulus package as part of the budget consultations in the German parliament. The plan seeks to encourage economic recovery by supporting national businesses.

Greece

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks: The use of face masks is mandatory both indoors and outdoors.
  • Curfew: A curfew is in place between 23:00 and 05:00. Authorities have divided the country into “red” and “yellow” areas (in “red” areas additional restrictions apply). This is reviewed on a weekly basis.
  • Services: Different restrictions apply in “red” and “yellow” areas (find out more at covid19.gov.gr/covid-map)

  • Non-essential shops: Different restrictions apply in “red” and “yellow” areas (find out more at covid19.gov.gr/covid-map)

  • Restaurants: As of 3 May, restaurants, bars and cafés are open (outdoor spaces only, and opening hours between 05:00 and 22:45). Up to 6 individuals are allowed per table. 

  • Cultural institutions: Closed

Shop owners & tenants

  • Rental reduction: All leased premises are entitled to 40% discount on November’s.
    All residential premises leased by employees whose business was forced to shut down are entitled to 40% rental discount for the month of November. The government will give directly to all employees of businesses that are forced to close, €800 net for the month of November. The businesses forced to be closed need to declare their employees and in return the government will cover their social security costs but they will not be able to let them go until 31 December 2020.

Restaurants

  • On 11 May, the European Commission approved a €500 million Greek support scheme to support food service companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme will provide support to food service companies, such as restaurants and mobile food service, event catering, beverage serving and other food service activities, affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme is co-financed by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and will be open to companies of all sizes that experienced a turnover decline of more than 30% over 2020, compared to 2019. The aid will take the form of direct grants, with each grant amounting to up to 7% of the beneficiary’s annual turnover. The scheme intends to provide beneficiaries with working capital for acquiring raw materials necessary for their activities.

Culture

  • N/A
  • Employees, self-employed workers, businesses, and real estate owners affected by the pandemic will be the beneficiaries of cash assistance from the state in December. Benefits will be disbursed to workers on furlough, businesses will be paid the returnable advance while property owners will be paid half their losses from a mandatory rent reduction, ANA reports. For landlords, the government will pay out 50% of the losses they incurred through a mandatory 40% rent reduction, which will be paid directly into their accounts after they submit a statement of income loss via TAXISnet for November.
  • Concerning the Christmas bonus salary paid by private-sector employers, the state will pay businesses for the period that employees have been on furlough but not calculated on their nominal monthly salary but at a fixed rate of 534 euros.
  • On the 10.02.2021, the European Commission approved the €500 million Greek scheme to support small and medium-sized businesses. The aid will be open to SMEs active in all sectors except the financial, primary agriculture, tobacco and fisheries sectors, and will take the form of direct grants. The amount of the grants corresponds to the interests beneficiaries would have had to pay on existing loans for the months of January, February and March 2021. 
  • On 09.03.2021, the European Commission approved a €60 million Greek scheme to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (‘SMEs’). The measure is open to all sectors except the financial, primary agriculture, fishery and aquaculture sectors. The public support will take the form of direct grants. The objective of the measure is to help ensure sufficient working capital for SMEs affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The amount of the grant corresponds to 80% of working capital expenses for the reference year 2019 or 2020.
  • On 17 May, the European Commission approved a €793 million Greek subsidised loan scheme to support micro, small and medium-sized companies affected by coronavirus outbreak. The public support will take the form of direct grants to cover part of the instalments of existing financial debt, with a capped monthly contribution depending on the credit status of the loan and of the beneficiary. The measure will be open to SMEs that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak, active in all sectors of the economy, except for the financial sector, which comply with additional conditions such as turnover or income, value of immovable property owned, amount of deposits in Greece and amount of financial products subscribed. The aid will provide liquidity support to qualifying beneficiaries for eight months. The purpose of the measure is to safeguard businesses against the risk of default, allowing them to preserve their economic activity, helping them recover after the outbreak, and mitigating potential cliff effects from the end of the suspension of debt payments by banks in the context of the outbreak. For most of the loans, the suspension ended at the end of March 2021. In addition, the support under granted under this measure can be recovered if the beneficiary defaults on its obligations during a monitoring period of up to 18 months following the granting of the aid.

Hungary

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks Throughout Hungary, masks remain obligatory in many public locations such as public transport, stores, markets, shopping centres, cabs, as well as at events in closed rooms. There is a tendency for a general mask obligation. However, different local rules may apply.
  • Curfew: A curfew is in place from 24:00 to 5:00 and only movements for essential reasons are allowed.
  • Services: Open with restrictions
  • Non-essential shops: Stores can be open between 5:00 and 23:00, provided that a safety distance of 1.5 metres is maintained.
  • Restaurants: Catering establishments can be open until 23:00 and access to indoor spaces is allowed only to guests holding a protection certificate (including their children). 
  • Cultural institutions: Museums, libraries, cinemas, zoos and similar leisure facilities are open to visitors holding a protection certificate. The same applies in the case of cultural events. 

Shop owners & tenants

  • N/A

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A

Italy

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • General note: Regulations may differ according to the epidemiological level of each Italian Region.
  • Face masks: Mandatory in indoor public areas and public transport.
  • Curfew: The emergency state is in place until 31 July 2021. A national curfew is in place between 22:00 and 5:00 in orange and red areas. In yellow areas, the curfew is set between 23:00 and 5:00.
  • Services: In yellow areas, the activity of beauticians and hairdressers is allowed, with strict hygiene and social distancing measures in place. From 24 May, gyms will be allowed to reopen. From 1 July, indoor swimming pools and spas will be allowed to reopen. In orange areas, the activity of beauticians and hairdressers is allowed, with strict hygiene and social distancing measures in place. In red areas, the activity of beauticians and hairdressers is suspended.

  • Non-essential shops: In yellow areas, retail activities are open. On public holidays and pre-holidays, the commercial activities inside markets and shopping centres, shopping malls, commercial parks and other similar structures are also open. In orange areas, retail activities may continue upon the condition that, in addition to the interpersonal distance of at least 1 metre, a staggered entrance system for the public is ensured. On public holidays and pre-holidays, the commercial activities inside markets and shopping centres, shopping malls, commercial parks and other similar structures are closed, except for pharmacies, parapharmacies, sanitary facilities, laundries and dry cleaners, food, agricultural and floricultural product sales points, tobacconists, newsagents, and bookshops. Customers will be allowed to enter the stores in a fixed number at a time and will have to stay inside only for the time necessary to purchase the goods. It is mandatory to exhibit at the entrance a sign showing the maximum number of people admitted.  In red areas , retail activities are suspended, except for the sale of foodstuffs and other necessities identified in Annex 23 of the Prime Ministerial Decree of 2 March 2021. Markets are closed.
  • Restaurants: : In low-risk regions (yellow), the activities of catering services with consumption at the table are allowed outdoors, for lunch and dinner, in compliance with the time restrictions to movement that are currently in force. From 1 June 2021, consumption indoors and service at the bar will be allowed (in compliance with the time restrictions to movement that will be in force until 21 June). A maximum of 4 people can sit at the same table, unless they belong to the same household. The minimum distance between tables must be 1 metre. A mask must be worn when not seated at the table. In medium and high-risk areas (“orange” and “red”) , the activities of catering establishments are suspended. Catering with take-away and home delivery are allowed until 22:00, in compliance with the hygiene and health regulations and with a ban on consumption in the location or nearby.
  • Cultural institutions: From 26 April 2021, in the “yellow” areas, events open to the public in theatres, concert halls, cinemas and other venues or spaces, even outdoors, are carried out exclusively with pre-assigned seats and provided that the interpersonal distance of at least one metre is respected. From 1 July, gambling houses and bingo halls will be open to the public.

Shop owners & tenants

  • EUR 1.5 billion worth of tax credit on rent, lease or concession of non-residential properties (60% per month) for SMEs.

Restaurants

  • EUR 2.4 billion in reduced taxes and contributions for all firms in severely affected sectors (including restaurants and bars) and all firms below €2 million, which include (a) suspension of VAT payments and contributions in March, (b) 60% tax break of on commercial rents, (c) 50% tax break for sanitization costs, (d) Deducibility of donations for Covid19, (e) Suspension of expiring tax payments demands and tax declarations.

Culture

  • EUR 0.25 billion in funds to support education and culture, including funds for additional teacher and endowments to the arts.

Stimulus package in place:

  • Recapitalization of large enterprises (€45 billion allocated) through convertible and/or subordinated loans (via new CDP fund “Patrimonio Rilancio”).
  • Deferred taxes and contributions (€10,7 billion) for all firms in severely affected sectors and all firms below €2 million.
  • Deferral of VAT payments (€4,6 billion) for April and May 2020. This deferral applies to companies with revenues below €50 million if their fall income is above 33% of their total income, or companies with revenue of more than €50 million if their fall in income is larger than 50% of their total income.
  • Keeping people employed as well as supporting the unemployed (€35.4 billion).

For 2021, Italy is currently considering a new stimulus package worth €24 billion.

On the 23.02.2021, Commission approved a €61.4 million Italian scheme to support private employers in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The public support will take the form of an exemption from the payment of employers’ compulsory social security contributions (except for contributions to insurance for accidents at work), for a period of four weeks, until 31 January 2021. The scheme will be open to employers registered in Italy and active in all sectors, with the exclusion of the financial and agriculture sectors. 

Lithuania

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks: Mandatory in all public places
  • Curfew: N/A
  • Services: Personal care services (including beauty services) where there is only contact between one service provider and one customer is allowed, unless these services have been directly outlawed by a government resolution.
  • Non-essential shops: Shops are allowed to open under certain conditions (e.g. having a direct access to outside) and with reduced capacity. The retailer must provide 20 square meters of space per customer.
  • Restaurants: Restaurants, bars and cafés are closed, except for take away or delivery. 

Shop owners & tenants

  • N/A

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A

Governments partially covered tenant payments, sharing the burden between landlords, tenants and government, based on fixed allocation percentages. Currently only applicable for the first wave of lock-downs. Second wave of lcokdowns on-going.

Luxembourg

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks are mandatory in indoor public areas and public transport.
  • Curfew: Between midnight and 6:00AM
  • Services: Wellness-related activities (spa, wellness centres, etc.) as well as physical exercise facilities (such as gyms and fitness centres) are open.
  • Non-essential shops: Since 11 January: Shops are open accompanied with strict sanitary rules.
  • Restaurants:

    Since 16 May 2021, restaurants, bars and cafés can welcome the public from 06:00 to 22:00. The following limitations apply:

    • Only seated places are allowed, and consumption is only possible at the table;
    • Each table can accommodate a maximum of 4 people unless they are members of the same household;
    • Tables should be separated by at least 1.5 metres or by a barrier or any physical separation to limit the risk of infection;
    • The wearing of a mask is compulsory for the customer when not seated at the table and for the staff in direct contact with the customers.

    Specific rules apply inside restaurants, bars and cafés. For every customer over the age of 6 years, the consumption inside the restaurant, bar or café is subject to the presentation of either:

    • a negative result of a nucleic acid amplification test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus (e.g. PCR test), carried out less than 72 hours before access to the concerned establishment
    • a negative result of a rapid antigen test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, carried out less than 24 hours before access to the concerned establishment, and certified by a health professional or a civil servant or public employee designated for this purpose by the Director of Health
    • a negative result of an antigen self-test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, performed on site

    Takeaway, drive-through and home delivery are always possible.

  • Cultural institutions: Cultural institutions are open accompanied with strict sanitary rules.

Shop owners & tenants

  • No legislation or regulation been passed to suspend payment obligations. The government prefers to provide financial help to debtors rather than imposing payment suspensions.

  • A bill of law tabled by several deputies aims to suspend the obligation to pay rent that is due or will become due under commercial or professional leases for the duration of the state of crisis. This bill of law aims to deprive the lessor of the right of termination with respect to non-payment of rent due or set to fall due during the period of the state of crisis, to establish the possibility for both parties to the lease contract to revise downwards the rent due during the state of crisis or the possibility for the lessor to waive the rent in question. To date, this bill of law is still under discussion by the Chamber of Deputies; however it is likely that it will not be adopted.

Restaurants & Culture

  • Assistance for uncovered costs was initially intended for the tourism, hotel and catering, events, culture and entertainment sectors and for managers of continuing vocational training organisations. It will be allocated in the form of monthly capital grants calculated on the basis of uncovered costs to companies which, during all or part of the period between 1 November 2020 and 30 March 2021, will have suffered a loss of monthly turnover of at least 40% compared to the corresponding month of the year 2019. The maximum assistance available is 70% of the non-covered eligible costs for medium and large enterprises and 90% of uncovered eligible costs for micro and small businesses. The amount cannot exceed €20,000 per month for a microenterprise, €100,000 per month for a small business and €200,000 per month for a medium or large business.

Netherlands

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks: Everyone aged 13 and over must wear a face mask in indoor public spaces and on public transport.
  • Curfew: N/A
  • Services: Contact-based professions that can currently continue are those of a medical and paramedical nature (such as dental care and physiotherapy). Other contact-based professions, such as hairdressers and pedicures, are allowed to operate. Swimming pools, saunas, spas and gyms are closed.
  • Non-essential shops: For all shops, there is a limit on the number of shoppers allowed inside at the same time. Some shops may require reservations. Shops selling non-essential goods, such as clothes shops, can be open between 06:00 and 20:00. Supermarkets and other shops selling essential goods may operate in accordance with their usual opening hours.
  • Restaurants: Outdoor seating areas at restaurants and cafés may open from 12:00 to 20:00, with a maximum of 50 seated guests. No more than 2 people may be seated at a table, sitting 1.5 metres apart. Indoor establishments serving food and drinks can provide a takeaway or delivery service. 
  • Cultural institutions: Museums, theatres, cinemas, amusement parks, and zoos are closed. Libraries are open with limited capacity and services.

Shop owners & tenants

  • TVL Stock Support Closed Retail: retail businesses that have had to close their doors during the lockdown of 15 December – 19 January, and that have applied for TVL, will receive a supplement for the stock they have been unable to sell.

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • The government allots €454 million to providing extra support for cultural organisations and events.
  • There are several economic support measures in place for businesses affected by the corona crisis. Measures such as NOW, Tozo and TVL will continue to be expanded and amended as seen fit by the government. Businesses and self-employed professionals who have been hit hard by the recent measures will continue to receive support.
  • NOW3: Employers with more than 20% turnover loss can apply for the Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment to receive compensation of their employees’ wages from October 2020 – July 2021.
    Tozo3 and 4: Self-employed professionals can apply for Tozo, the temporary benefit to bridge the loss of income over the months October 2020 – July 2021 in the municipality where they live. Check with your municipality how to apply.
    TVL: The Reimbursement Fixed Costs Scheme for SMEs and self-employed professionals aims to compensate SMEs for fixed costs other than wage costs.
  • On 16 March 2021, the Commission validated subsequent modifications to a scheme aimed at supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. The measure originally addressed to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that lost at least 30% of their turnover in the period from January to March 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. Following the amendment, the measure will (i) be extended to large enterprises and (ii) its overall budget will increase of around €2 billion (the original budget of that sub-measure was estimated at €970 million). In particular, the beneficiaries will be eligible to receive support ranging from a minimum of €1500 to a maximum of €600,000 for large enterprises and €550,000 for SMEs.
  • On 30 April, the European Commission approved a €40 million Dutch scheme providing soft bridge loans with subsidised interest rates to start-ups affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measure is open to small and medium-sized enterprises registered as start-ups in the first two quarters of 2020 and active in all sectors, except the financial, primary agricultural production, fisheries, and aquaculture sectors. It will be managed by Qredits, a non-profit microcredit provider, on behalf of the Dutch State. The scheme complements previous measures, by specifically addressing liquidity constraints of young start-ups affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with the aim to preserve the continuity of economic activities during and after the outbreak.

Poland

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks: Mandatory in public places across the country. Abolition of the obligation to wear masks outdoors if the infection rate falls below 15 per 100.000 people. The obligation to cover nose and mouth, indoors, with a mask will remain unchanged
  • Curfew: N/A
  • Services: As of 1 May, hair-salons and beauticians are open. Fitness clubs, saunas, sanatoriums, spas, swimming pools, and similar establishments are closed.
  • Non-essential shops: As of 4 May, shopping centers and retail trade are open. A strict sanitary regime is in place and customer capacity may be limited (1 customer per 15 square metres).
  • Restaurants: As of 15 May: Reopening of restaurant outdoors (gardens), under strict sanitary regime (safe distance between tables and limit of persons per table) On 29 May, indoor service will be possible again (at 50% of their maximum capacity).
  • Cultural institutions: From 15 May, outdoor theaters and cinemas could reopen at 50% of their maximum capacity. As of 29 May, also indoor theaters and cinemas will reopen at 50% of their maximum capacity

Shop owners & tenants

  • During the period of prohibition of certain activities in shopping centers of more than 2,000 sqm of sales area (which was in place at the beginning of the pandemic and again starting from November 7, 2020), the mutual rights and obligations of the tenants and landlords affected by such prohibitions expired (which in particular means that no rents are payable during that period).
  • Until June 30, 2020, the landlord could not terminate a lease or a rent amount under the lease, except if the tenant violated the provisions on permitted use or the building in which the premises are located has to be demolished or renovated.

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A

The anti-crisis shield 4.0 was signed by the President on 23 June. The main purpose of the act is to protect Polish enterprises, jobs and consumers against the negative effects of COVID-19. The new act includes the following updates:

  • Temporary, increased protection of Polish companies against hostile takeovers by investors from outside Europe and OECD
  • Financial support for local governments between June and December 2020 (for example relaxation of fiscal rules, doubling of the shares of counties (powiaty) in revenues from the state treasury companies)

From Nov 6th, fiscal stimulus aimed at supporting covid-impacted businesses proposes to co-finance 70% of fixed costs not covered by revenue, and subsidies to leasing costs and business.

More information can be accessed here:
https://polen.um.dk/da/eksportraadet/coronavirus-and-the-economy/

Poland announced its Financial Shield 2.0 stimulus package in late 2020, estimated to be between 35 billion and 40 billion Polish Zloty (between 9 billion and 10.5 billion U.S. dollars), aimed to help 40 sectors particularly impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19. Businesses active in, among others, transport, retail, tourism and gastronomy, can apply for funds needed to pay employees and avoid bankruptcy.

On the 11/03/2021, European Commission approved a €1.1 billion Polish scheme to support companies in various sectors affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme will apply to the whole territory of the Poland and consists of four measures. In particular:
– The second measure, with an estimated budget of €215 million (PLN 964 million), will be open to SMEs and large companies active in several sectors, such as retail sale, restaurants and entertainment. The aid will take the form of direct grants of up to €928 (PLN 4,160) per beneficiary that experienced a decrease in operating income of at least 40% compared to a reference period set out in the scheme.
– The third measure, with an estimated budget of €300 million (PLN 1.4 billion), will be open to micro and small entrepreneurs active in several sectors, such as retail sale, restaurants and entertainment. The aid will take the form of direct grants of up to €1,116 (PLN 5,000) per beneficiary;
– The fourth measure, with an estimated budget of €400 million (PLN 1.9 billion), will be open to SMEs and large companies active in several sectors, such as retail sale, restaurants and entertainment. The aid will take the form of exemptions from social security contributions between 1 December 2020 or 1 January 2021 and 31 January 2021 for beneficiaries that experienced a decrease in operating income of at least 40% compared to a reference period set out in the scheme.

Portugal

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks: Mandatory in indoor venues (such as pharmacies, hospitals or supermarkets
  • Curfew: N/A
  • Services: Hairdressers and nail salons can operate by prior appointment only. Spas and health centres are closed.
  • Non-essential shops: Food stores should close at 21.00 on weekdays and at 19.00 on weekends and holidays. No more than 5 people are allowed per 100 square meters. Non-essential stores up to 200 square meters with direct outdoor access can also open. All non-essential shops can offer delivery services and provide pick-up points (click and collect). Non-food shops are obliged to close at 21.00 on weekdays, and at 13.00 on weekends and holidays.
  • Restaurants: From 19 April, measures in the continental territory of Portugal depend on the incidence rate of each county, according to the following thresholds:
    • Level 1: municipalities that, for the second consecutive fortnightly evaluation, have an incidence rate of more than 240 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days
    • Level 2: municipalities that, for the second consecutive fortnightly evaluation, have an incidence rate of more than 120 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days
    • Level 3: municipalities with an incidence rate below 120 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days
  • Cultural institutions: Heritage sites, museums, cultural institutions and libraries can open with safety measures in place (cinemas and theatres are closed).

Shop owners & tenants

  • Suspension of rents for vulnerable households and cash-strapped small firms during the coronavirus outbreak. The measure suspends rents until a month after the state of emergency ends. After that, renters are expected to repay what they owe in monthly installments for up to a year.

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A
  • Council of Ministers’ decision no. 41/2020 sets up the Program for economic and social stabilisation (“Programa de Estabilização Económica e Social” or “PEES”). Measures include exemptions and reductions of employer’s Social Security contributions, simplifications of public administration procedures or payment in instalments of tax and Social Security debts.
  • On 02.03.2021, the European Commission approved the €15 million Portuguese scheme to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises with head offices or permanent establishments in the region of the Azores. The scheme, called ‘Apoiar.PT Açores –4ºT 2020′, will take the form of direct grants. The scheme will be open to companies that have experienced a 25% fall in turnover in the last quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. The aid will correspond to 20% of the lost turnover, with a maximum amount of €5,000 for micro companies, €20,000 for small companies and €50,000 for medium-sized ones. Micro and small companies active in certain specific sectors and which declare a turnover decline of more than 50% will receive direct grants equal to 40% of the fall in turnover, with a maximum aid amount of €12,000 for micro-companies and €48,000 for small ones.
  • On the 31.03.21, Commission approved the €500 million Portuguese top-up insurance scheme to support domestic trade credit. Trade credit insurance protects companies supplying goods and services against the risk of non-payment by their clients. In Portugal, given the uncertainties caused by the prolonged economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, private insurers became more reluctant to offer sufficient insurance coverage to sellers. By supplementing the private insurance cover, the Portuguese scheme ensures that trade credit insurance continues to be available to all companies, avoiding the need for buyers of goods or services to pay in advance, therefore reducing their immediate liquidity needs.

  • On the 06.04.21, Commission approved the €35 million Portuguese scheme to support companies in Azores region. Under the scheme, the public support will take the form of direct grants. The scheme will be open to companies of all sizes active in the Azores, at the condition that they have maintained jobs in the region and that they have paid back the loans they previously received under the schemes that the Commission approved in April 2020 and December 2020. More specifically, the aid will only be granted if the applicant can prove that it has maintained, each month until 30 June 2021, a certain proportion of the level of employment compared to the one recorded in September 2020. The maximum amount of the aid shall not exceed the lower of the following two limits: (i) €750,000 per individual company or €1 million per group of companies belonging to the same group; and (ii) the amount of the loans received from the existing credit lines.

Romania

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks: Mandatory to wear inside public places & outside
  • Curfew: There is a night curfew in place between 20.00 or 22.00 and 05.00 (depending on infection rates).
  • Services: Gyms and beauty salons can operate between 05.00 and 21.00 with special protective measures in place.
  • Non-essential shops: Stores and shopping malls can open from 5:00-21:00.
  • Restaurants: Restaurants are open, with capacity usage varying based on number of cases/thousand inhabitants in their respective cities.
  • Cultural institutions: Museums, art galleries and cinemas can operate if they respect certain sanitary conditions and (in the case of cinemas) the incidence rate in the country is not over 3/1000 inhabitants.

Shop owners & tenants

  • N/A

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A

A state aid scheme aimed to support retailers was submitted to the European Commission for approval, proposing a grant for 50% of the rent due between mid-March and mid-June 2020 (the first wave lockdown)

Serbia

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face masks are mandatory in all indoor and outdoor public places.
  • No curfew in place

Following the recommendation of the Government of Serbia, the following additional measures are in effect:

  • All businesses and services that are allowed to work, may operate from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Cafes, bars, and restaurants with gardens or patios may operate only outdoors with strict observation of all epidemiological measures, including a limit of five people per table with a mandatory two-meter distance between tables.  Live music performances in gardens and patios are not allowed.
  • Cafes, bars, and restaurants without gardens and patios remain closed, but may sell take-away food and drinks over the counter. Delivery services may be provided 24-hours a day.
  • All operating facilities must provide a minimum of 9 m2 per person. Exceptions are fitness centers, spa centers, gyms, and similar facilities which must provide 16 m2 per person.  This number includes the staff at these businesses.
  • Pharmacies, gas stations, laboratories, medical and veterinarian offices may remain open 24 hours, seven days a week.

Shop owners & tenants

  • N/A

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A

Slovakia

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face Masks: Wearing face masks mandatory in public (i.e., in exteriors), in interiors, public transport. 
  • Curfew: A curfew is in place from 21:00 to 01:00.
  • Services: From 19 April, swimming pools can reopen for no more than 6 people, also with the condition of a negative test result no older than 7 days.
  • Non-essential shops: Maximum 1 customer per 15 m2 is allowed. Customers must show a negative Covid test result no older than 7 days.
  • Restaurants: From 26 April, outdoor areas of bars and restaurants are open.
  • Cultural institutions: From 19 April, museums reopened for visitors with a negative test result no older than 7 days, with one person per 15 square metres. Libraries are open with a limit of 6 people.

Shop owners & tenants

  • N/A

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A
  • Employers (including self-employed persons employing others) who had to close their operations due to the decision of the Slovak Public Health Authority may apply for a contribution to the wage compensation of their employees. The amount of the contribution is 80% of the total price of work, up to EUR 1100.
  • Employers (including self-employed persons employing others) who retain jobs even in the event of interruption or limitation of their activities during a declared emergency situation may apply for a contribution to the wage of their employees. The contribution can be provided either in the form of an employee’s wage compensation of up to 80% of the total price of work, up to EUR 1100, or as a lump-sum allowance to cover part of the wage costs for each employee (EUR 270 – 810). The employer can choose only one of the options for the whole period of the contribution.

Spain

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face Masks: compulsory indoors and outdoors.
  • Curfew: N/A
  • Services: Small businesses (as hairdressers) are open by appointment.
  • Non-essential shops: Non-essential shops are open with capacity restrictions.
  • Restaurants:Restaurants and bars are open until 23:00. Social distancing of 1.5 metres at the bar is mandatory, and tables should at least be 1.5 metres apart. For restaurants, in general, a limit of 4 people per table remains and indoor dining is limited to 30% capacity.
  • Cultural institutions: Autonomous Regions are the competent authorities regulating access to these places. If cultural establishments are open, visitors will be registered and asked to sign an affidavit stating that they are aware of and accept the health and hygiene measures. Also, routes will be designed to facilitate social distancing and the use of outdoor spaces is encouraged.

Shop owners & tenants

At local level in Catalonia :

  • Trade aid plan – Consorcio de Comercio, Artesanía y Moda de Catalunya, with a total of 7 lines of aid to help mitigate the crisis caused by Covid-19, 5 of them related to commerce below.
  • Support program for representative entities of the commercial sector: support for the most representative entities of the commercial sector that have a proven territorial representation or entities that group multisectoral entrepreneurs.
  • Support program for the associative network of commerce, crafts and fashion: promoting the Support Program for associations defined in the framework of the 20/21 Commerce Agenda, responding to the COVID-19 health crisis in the commerce, crafts and fashion in Catalonia.
  • Support program for municipalities in the field of commerce and crafts: In the field of commerce, creation of a Plan for the occupation of empty premises and the Program to promote areas of special interest, to achieve the opening of empty premises in defined and determined areas, stimulate trade and attract commercial supply.
  • Program for the reactivation of commerce: with the aim of reactivating commerce in the face of the effects caused by the declaration of the state of alarm on March 14, subsidies were provided for self-employed professionals and companies of retail trade and services of establishments at the foot of street and municipal market stalls.
  • Investment support program for the new establishment of businesses and commercial improvement of establishments: support to boost commerce through recovery projects for empty premises located in the consolidated urban fabric of municipalities or in historic neighborhoods, and for reduce the number of trips within towns and cities by installing collection systems in establishments (“Click & Collect”)

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A

Actions at national level

Tax on Digital Services

  • The Tax on Certain Digital Services, approved by the Government and the Courts, levies the provision of certain digital services. Specifically, these are digital services in relation to which there is a user participation that constitutes a contribution to the value creation process of the company that provides the services, and through which the company monetizes those user contributions.
  • The tax rate is 3% and is applied to three concepts: the provision of online advertising services; online intermediation services; and the sale of data generated from information provided by the user.
  • The sale of goods or services between users in the framework of an online intermediation service is excluded; and the sales of goods or services contracted online through the website of the supplier of those goods or services in which the supplier does not act as an intermediary.

The General State Budget project announces the “Selective control and investigation actions” in relation to electronic commerce

  • The logistics activities linked to electronic commerce are interesting both for their taxation and to the extent that they serve as catalysts for the activity of other national operators that, from these platforms, achieve large commercial penetrations, not always accompanied by correct taxation, for which is necessary to carry out the corresponding control actions.
On the 19.02.2021, European Commission approved the modification of the existing Spanish ‘umbrella’ scheme to support the economy. Spain notified the following modifications to the scheme: (i) an amendment that allows the provision of limited amounts of aid through financial intermediaries; and (ii) a new measure to support the uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Under the new measure, the public support will take the form of direct grants, tax and payment advantages, repayable advances, guarantees, loans and equity. The measure will be accessible to companies of all sizes active in all sectors, excluding the financial one. 
 

Actions at the local level (specific for Barcelona city)

“Amazon” rate in Barcelona (pending on processing and approval)

  • The Barcelona City Council has recently stated that it wants to introduce a tax on those electronic commerce platforms that operate in Barcelona without, in its opinion, paying taxes to the city. The Consistory is preparing a preliminary report that would tax said platforms by occupation of public space. The main target seems to be Amazon, but naturally it would also affect other e-commerce platforms. In addition, there is a clear majority in the plenary session of the Barcelona City Council for a proposal of these characteristics to prosper.

New amendments to financial support measures to address companies’ liquidity requirements were published on 13 May 2021:

  • Extension of the deadline to request a public guarantee scheme: The deadline to apply for a public guarantee scheme has been extended until 1 December 2021. The previous deadline was set for 15 May 2021.
  • Code of Good Practice: extension, conversion into PPL and write offs: A Code of Good Practice has been set up in relation to the renegotiation of financings granted under a public guarantee scheme (‘the Code’). The Code includes three main measures: extension of the maturity date; conversion into a profit participating loan (PPL); and write offs. The three measures are at the request of the debtor, but only the extension is compulsory for the lenders. The costs of the financings affected by the measures can only be increased to reflect any increase in the guarantee fees applicable to the extensions. Debtors that benefit from the measures of the Code must assume the following commitments: to maintain the business activity related to the aid granted until 30 June 2022; not to pay dividends during 2021 and 2022; and not to increase senior management remuneration for a period of two years from the application of any of these measures. Additionally, credit institutions, financial credit establishments, electronic money institutions and payment institutions cannot reduce the maximum amount of working capital lines granted to debtors that benefit from one or more of the measures of the Code until at least 31 December 2022.

Sweden

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face Masks: No general requirement to wear in public places
  • Curfew: N/A
  • Services: Personal care services are open, taking into account required precautions.
  • Non-essential shops: Most shops and stores are open, but may have reduced opening hours and limits to the number of customers allowed. 
  • Restaurants: Restaurants, bars and cafés are open with the following conditions: No crowding is allowed. Guests must respect physical distancing. From 24/12, maximum 4 people per table; Food and drinks must be served at the table; Guests must always eat their food while seated at a table; Takeaway food can be purchased, as long as no crowding occurs. Bars and restaurants are not allowed to serve alcohol after 20:00.
  • Cultural institutions: Many museums and theatres are closed but open-air alternatives may be open.

Shop owners & tenants

  • A rent support system has been set up, with the lessor for 50% of the reduction granted (up to a limit of 25% of the initial total rent), for sectors identified as affected by health measures (restaurants, shops, health, welfare, etc.), for an amount less than or equal to 800,000 euros per lessor. This aid is thus conditional on the lessor’s consent to a reduction in the rent.
  • On the 06.04.21, Commission approved modification of Swedish rent rebate scheme to support sectors affected by coronavirus outbreak. The existing scheme was approved by the Commission on 15 April 2020 and prolonged in February 2021. Sweden notified the following modifications to the scheme: (i) an increase in the budget, from approximately €453 million (SEK 5 billion) to approximately €795 million (SEK 8 billion); and (ii) the extension of the measure to cover up to 50% of rent reductions costs negotiated between landlords and tenants until 31 May 2021, for the rental period between 1 January and 31 March 2021.

Restaurants

  • Business subsidy-schemes such as short-term layoffs and revenue support have been put in place.

  • Short-term layoff schemes will continue to at least June 2021.

Culture

  • N/A
  • On the 12.02.2021, Commission approved an approximately €1.4 billion Swedish scheme to support the uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak (except the financial sector). The scheme covers three eligible periods: August–October 2020, November–December 2020, and January–February 2021. The aid will be granted to companies that suffered a turnover decline exceeding 40% in the period August-October 2020 or 30% in each of the periods November-December 2020 and January-February 2021, compared to the same periods in 2019. The beneficiaries will receive grants covering up to 70% of their uncovered fixed costs during the eligible periods. In the case of micro and small enterprises, the grants will cover up to 75% of the uncovered fixed costs with regard to the period August-October 2020, or 90% in the other periods.
  • Some liquidity supports are also prolonged (postponement of tax payments)
  • Ability to put staff on partial activation is prolonged and can be used up to 80%. This has limited impact for retail since business is still in operation.

Turkey

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • General remarks: On 16 May, 2021, the Government of Turkey announced a gradual normalisation period starting on 17 May and ending on 1 June to stop the spread of COVID-19, imposing a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and a full lockdown in effect during weekends begin at 9 p.m. on Fridays and end at 5 a.m. on Mondays.
  • Face masks: The wearing of masks is mandatory in all public areas
  • Curfew: See above
  • Non-essential shops: During the curfew supermarkets, green grocers, bakeries, and butchers will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., individuals may shop for their essential needs at the closest store within walking distance (driving is not allowed). Shopping malls will operate from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. during weekdays and will remain closed on weekends.
  • Restaurants: Dining establishments such as restaurants, patisseries, cafés, and cafeterias will be allowed to serve deliveries and take-away orders between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. and will offer delivery services between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. on weekdays. On weekends, the dining establishments will offer delivery services between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m.
  • Cultural institutions: Museums and other cultural exhibits will remain open during the lockdown for visits by tourists but the government advises to call ahead before visiting to confirm their operating hours since they might be reduced.

Shop owners & tenants

  • N/A

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A
  • Companies with cash flow disruptions can delay payment of principal and interest on their bank loan for at least 3 months and additional financial support will be offered if necessary. Craftsmen and related workers financed by the public bank Halkbank and whose activity is very slowed down can defer the payment of principal and interest on their loans for the months of April, May and June for 3 months and without interest. The three public banks Ziraat, Halk and Vakif have announced measures allowing companies and individuals to defer the repayment of their loan instalments (principal and interest). Employers will also be able to benefit from an increase in their loan limit, up to 3 months of salary payments to their employees, provided that they do not lay off their staff.
  • Limit of the Credit Guarantee Fund (Kredi Garanti Fonu) increased from TRY 25bn (EUR 3bn) to TRY 50bn (EUR 7bn). Companies and SMEs that have liquidity needs and do not benefit from loan guarantees because of the current situation will be given priority to benefit from the interventions of this fund. An omnibus law provides that the TFV Sovereign Fund may buy or take stakes in strategic companies in difficulty due to the health situation. Revision of the SME support scheme of the KOSGEB (the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Development Agency). A three-month deferral of the repayment of loans granted to some 136,000 SMEs under the KOSGEB support programmes (TRY 713 million or almost EUR 100 million). The deferral will be made automatically, without the need to apply for it. Repayments may also be deferred in the event that the crisis situation continues.
  • Turkey revealed on April 29 a new TL 5 billion ($604 million) support package to cushion the effects of its latest and strictest lockdown to date on the economy. It is primarily aimed at providing financial support to small and medium-scale enterprises whose businesses are severely harmed by the restrictions. Details of the package were announced by President Erdogan when he attended a factory opening in the capital Ankara. Erdogan said the country is launching the new support program through the Small and Medium Industry Development Organization (KOSGEB). “It is aimed at micro and small-scale enterprises that have lost income and needed to maintain employment with disrupted cash flow,” he said. As part of the support package, up to TL 30,000 will be allocated for micro-enterprises and up to TL 75,000 for small-scale businesses. Those that benefit from this support can use it for three years without any repayment or interest. The country has also extended a ban on layoffs until the end of June, the president reiterated, while also maintaining short-term work allowances.

UK

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • General Remarks: In England, from 17 May, people can socialise indoors in a group of up to 6 people or 2 households, including for overnight stays. Up to 30 people can meet outside. Pubs, theatres and other venues can open indoors. Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can open for people on holiday. In Scotland, rom 17 May, most areas are changing COVID-19 protection levels. In Wales, from 17 May, any 6 people can meet indoors at pubs and restaurants. Other venues such as cinemas, theatres and museums can reopen. In Northern Ireland, from 30 April, non-essential shops, hairdressers and outdoor areas at pubs and restaurants can reopen. You can stay overnight in self-contained accommodation but only with your household or bubble. 
  • Face Masks: People must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops and places of worship, and on public transport, unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.
  • Curfew: N/A
  • Non-essential shops: Open with restrictions, depending on the area.
  • Restaurants: Open with restrictions, depending on the area.
  • Cultural institutions:Open with restrictions, depending on the area.

Shop owners & tenants

Restaurants

  • £11.8 billion for a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses.

Culture

  • £0.27 billion in loan support for the cultural sector
  • Government loans and grants: measures in support of payment of employees, taxed, business rates relief, support for small, medium and large businesses; VAT deferral.
  • A previously announced emergency help for the economy worth £280 billion, including a massive job protection scheme that will run until the end of April.
  • On 5 January 2021, the British government offered a £4,6 billion support package for businesses.

UKRAINE

Last updated on 21/05/2021

  • Face Masks: Wearing masks is mandatory on public transportation and indoor public places.  Individuals and establishments can be fined for not complying.
  • Curfew: N/A
  • Non-essential shops: Operation is restored. Visitors are to wear masks at all times on the premises.
  • Restaurants: Only the outdoor terraces are allowed to be opened. The decision on the opening and closing of cafes adopts by local authorities. That is why rules of visiting vary from region to region.

Shop owners & tenants

  • If leased premises cannot be used or utilized at all due to COVID-19 circumstances, the tenant does not have to pay rent for the duration and to the extent to which the premises is unable to be used.

Restaurants

  • N/A

Culture

  • N/A

Minor financial help for the entrepreneurs, which were mostly affected by the COVID-19 circumstances

ECSP strives to ensure all information on its website is accurate and up to date. However, the content of this website is naturally subject to change from time to time. Therefore, we cannot always guarantee the accuracy of all information on this page. Users are responsible for checking the accuracy of facts and opinions given on ECSP’s website before entering into any commitment based upon them.

If you notice inaccuracies on the measures indicated, or if you would like to share further information with ECSP, please contact info@ecsp.eu