More than 4 million to help cultural sector in Luxembourg

To deal with the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Culture has drawn up a recovery plan for the cultural sector. More than four million will be allocated to revive the different cultural sectors affected by the crisis.

The Covid-19 crisis did not spare the cultural community. Although the sector has played an important role in many homes during confinement and has helped many people overcome this difficult milestone by reading, watching movies or participating in digital initiatives, cultural and artistic institutions. Today the sector is in a precarious, even difficult situation.

That is why the Ministry of Culture proposes a new recovery plan for the sector that complements the exceptional aid already allocated so far. Details were released Wednesday.

 

An inventory without glory

In total, more than a hundred closed exhibitions, more than a thousand concerts, festivals and other events canceled or postponed, and more than a million spectators who had to give up their ticket.

We are going through a difficult period, with long-term consequences“, said Sam Tanson (Déi Gréng), Minister of Culture. “The financial impact is also very significant and the cultural infrastructures show a loss of 15 to 30% of their income, which is related to the sale of tickets or restoration. This loss may jeopardize the incomes of independent and intermittent artists of the show. In addition, the Ministry of Culture intervened from the beginning to support the sector, first by granting subsidies to projects that could be carried out in times of crisis, then by amending the law on social measures for intermittent entertainment workers and professional artists to support creatives better in times of crisis”.

Because we must not forget that culture is a real economic sector that employs more than 12,000 people, which represents 5.3% of jobs in Luxembourg. A sector that counts in the general economic balance, but which is also precarious, because a fifth of these jobs are self-employed and, therefore, are in a situation of great economic fragility. On May 20th, it was decided that these grants would last until June 30th, thus increasing the allocation reserved for artists and intermittent workers to 1.2 million in 2020.

From May 11th, libraries and museums can reopen, and from May 29th, rooms such as theaters, cinemas, cultural centers and concert halls can be opened.

However, these places must respect the general sanitary conditions, which does not stop raising many concerns: the use of compulsory masks in the places of circulation, sitting respecting the physical distance, distance also imposed for the speakers on stage, etc.

Every three weeks, the situation will be re-evaluated, but at this time we still do not know when we can resume activities as we know them“, said the Minister of Culture. That is why the Ministry of Culture is providing a new set of funds to mitigate the effects of the crisis, prevent excessive precariousness of cultural workers, absorb collateral damage in neighboring sectors and allow structures to adapt to new measures to attract your audience again.

 

New help for better support

It is in this context that the agreed structures and associations may submit a claim for compensation to compensate for a financial loss related to the cancellation or postponement of an event, or the closure of the cultural institution. 1.5 million is reserved for these allocations.

The annexes of Bourglinster Castle already housed an artist residency program. This will be reinforced with a three-year mission for a group of artists financed up to € 100,000 for two years and who will be in charge of the management and animation of the place. The principle of residency will also be valued in cultural institutions that can host an artist for at least 6 months. To do this, they will benefit from aid ranging from € 15,000 to € 30,000, for a total of € 150,000 reserved for this action.

The ministry is also increasing its endowment for the acquisition of works of art by € 150,000 that can be used to buy works from galleries.

Regarding music, € 50,000 is reserved for eight new musicals. The theater will benefit from € 100,000 that will be used to write dramatic works that must later be produced on stage. The same amount is allocated to the search for new forms of entertainment that better satisfy the limitations of the sanitary conditions imposed by the Covid-19.

Finally, two very large budgets, each one million euros, are aimed, on the one hand, at supporting regional museums for the development and improvement of their offer, and on the other hand at cultural sites with a tourist vocation. Behind these last two grants, there is a sincere desire to develop these structures that are still underexploited and to enrich not only the cultural offer, but also to strengthen tourist attraction throughout the country. Enough to contribute to the long-term “Vakanz Doheem”.

 

Source: Paperjam.lu

A recovery plan and a “new beginning” for the country

Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna (DP), accompanied by Deputy Prime Ministers François Bausch (Déi Gréng) and Dan Kersch (LSAP), detailed the new aid measures decided by the government on Wednesday May 20th. Again a very ambitious program.

A new stage has been passed and that requires a change of scenery. The one in the press conference room of the European Convention Center in Luxembourg, featuring a map of Luxembourg and, above all, a slogan: “Neistart Lëtzebuerg” (a new beginning for Luxembourg). With three even more marked priorities: quality of life, solidarity and stability.

 

Lack of growth requires action

Thanks to the good figures of the health authorities, a new beginning starts after a hard phase of confinement, which severely put the homes and businesses of the country to the test. On Wednesday May 20th the Government Council decided new subsidy, which Prime Minister Xavier Bettel had already announced to a large extent. And that complements the other measures taken in recent weeks. Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna (DP), accompanied by Deputy Prime Ministers Dan Kersch (LSAP) and François Bausch (Déi Gréng), gave the details.

Firstly, he recalled through a macroeconomic analysis that, in the context of the recovery, “Luxembourg is better placed than the others. Especially since their public finances are healthy. We have more room for maneuver.”. The financial center, which “represents 30% of the country’s wealth”, remained active.

This also offers a significant attack force: this new subsidy, estimated at between 700 and 800 million euros, combined with the previous ones, represents 5.5% of the national GDP, or 3,000 million euros. Belgium and France only made an effort at 2% and Germany at 4.6%. “We will not have growth for two years, so we must act“, insists Pierre Gramegna. This is strengthening the liquidity of households and the economy.

A call was also made for everyone to play the game: individuals  to pay their bills, business, VAT or other taxes, for example, “to create a virtuous circle“.

 

Recovery fund and flat-rate aid

While the Minister of Tourism Lex Delles (DP) will detail the subsidy dedicated to this sector on Friday, the Minister of Finance returned for the first time to the recovery and solidarity fund for companies. It will be aimed at the most affected companies (in the restaurant, tourism, fitness, events, etc. sector) that have not yet been authorized to reopen on May 20th. They will have to demonstrate a loss of turnover of at least 25% in June 2020 compared to June 2019. The aid will be 1,250 euros per employed employee, 250 euros per temporarily unemployed employee, with maximum limits: Maximum 10,000 euros per month for companies with less than 10 employees, € 50,000 per month for companies with less than 50 employees and € 100,000 per month for companies with more than 50 employees. This assistance will be available from July 1st for a period of six months.

Other lump-sum aid will be awarded to retail and personal care companies: € 1,000 per employee in June, € 750 in July and € 500 in August, up to a limit of € 50,000 per month. This measure is limited to SMEs.

As previously announced, a tax exemption of double the reduction granted to a tenant in commercial leases, up to a maximum of 15,000 euros, will be possible. Rent increases on private leases will be frozen until the end of the year.

On Friday, the Minister of Economy Franz Fayot (LSAP) will give details “on other measures“, said Pierre Gramegna: special help to increase the energy efficiency of companies, expansion of the reimbursable advances provided for in the stabilization pact of May 15th to September 15th and aid for investments in the field of digitization. Certain grants can go up to 800,000 euros. Also supporting lawyers and apprentices with a 10% revaluation of legal aid fees, doubling the cost of living subsidy, the sustainability of the family support license, etc.

The good use of partial unemployment has helped maintain social cohesion“. said Dan Kersch, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor.

For the Minister of Labor, Dan Kersch, the correct use of partial unemployment has avoided a disaster. “In the United States, like us, they had 5% unemployment. Now we believe they will reach 25%”, he said.

The measure has cost 725 million, 32,000 requests have been made, and 325,000 wages have been paid through it. “Partial or temporary unemployment has been the instrument to maintain social cohesion“, says Dan Kersch. 

 

Partial unemployment maintained until the end of 2020

The partial unemployment measures will continue until the end of the year and the advance system will continue. Short-term conjunctural unemployment due to Covid-19 will evolve towards structural partial unemployment, which will be simplified, because “nobody can pretend that companies do not face changes“.

The plan proposes guaranteeing access to simplified structural partial unemployment to companies affected by the pandemic crisis and that have benefited from partial unemployment due to “force majeure due to Covid-19“, starting in July. Therefore, it follows that companies must present a recovery plan, or even a job retention plan, authorizing layoffs in the structural system of partial unemployment, but that should be avoided as much as possible. Keep in mind that companies will benefit from a simplified, even ultra simplified, digital procedure. This will allow them to reorganize to gradually adapt to the post-Covid-19 situation.

Finally, the economic recovery will also require an ambitious state. “We are not going to reduce public spending, it would be a very bad idea. On the contrary, they will increase 6.3% in 2021. No other country is doing this in Europe”, says François Bausch.

 

Measures aimed at sustainability

Convinced that, more than ever, it is necessary to go in the direction of sustainability, Minister Déi Gréng detailed a list of ecological measures:

  • The Prime House for energy modernization of buildings increased by 50% for contracts signed from March 20th to March 21st, 2021, work can be done until the end of 2022.
  • An “25% increase in the subsidy” if you replace your heating with a renewable energy based system.
  • A 25% bonus for replacing the boiler.
  • Aid for photovoltaic installations above 30kW will now be accessible to everyone.
  • A subsidy program for private electric charging stations is being developed, complementary to the Chargy Network, aimed at users who want to charge their vehicle at home.
  • A network of fast charging stations will be developed.

These are measures that will be beneficial for the construction sector” at the same time as for the planet.

These ambitious measures are “essential” for the government. Of course, it can be reviewed in the event of a resumption of the epidemic. A working group is studying this situation that nobody wants. Because, as François Bausch pointed out when looking at Pierre Gramegna, “we cannot allow a confinement every three months“.

 

Source: Paperjam.lu

Luxembourg rolls out another €800m as part of virus recovery plan

New measures include aid for businesses and hotel vouchers to boost tourism industry.

Luxembourg will roll out between €700 and €800 million in fresh aid to help companies as part of the country’s economic recovery plan after businesses have suffered from a nation-wide lockdown put in place two months ago to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The newly announced package includes aid to make up for financial losses, vouchers to spend at hotels to boost the tourism industry, and a stop on rent increases.

Today, we can’t say we have won the fight against the virus“, prime minister Xavier Bettel said during a press conference on Wednesday. “But we have reduced the effects of the virus. We have opted for the right strategy, I’m certain we took the right decision“.

Bettel put the country into lockdown on 16 March, closing shops apart from those selling food, and all restaurants and hotels. While most shops have now opened their doors again, restaurants, bars and hotels are mstill waiting for a further easing of the lockdown.

A new multi-million-euro plan – which comes on top of a rescue package that had already expected to reach a budget of €10.5 billion – aims to maintain jobs and keep companies in business despite the lack of revenue and a reduced need for staff over the past months.

Companies which have been heavily hit will receive €1,250 per month. People receiving cost-of-living allowance will get twice the amount for the rest of the year, while residents and cross-border workers will receive a voucher to spend a night at a hotel in Luxembourg to boost tourism. Landlords will not be able to increase rents until the end of this year.

The health crisis has meant fewer people already unemployed were able to find jobs last month. Unemployment agency ADEM said the high number of unemployed people in April was mainly due to fewer people finding jobs rather than more people signing up for unemployment benefits.

A total of 1,796 new people registered – 18% fewer than in April last year. But only 884 people ended their benefits after finding a new job last month, compared with 2,512 in April 2019. There were 1,895 vacancies last month, 43% less than in the same month of last year.

More measures to lift the lockdown could come out next week, Bettel said. He had previously said restaurants could reopen on 1 June if the spread of the disease remained in check, but he repeated the date is still uncertain.

Foreign affairs minister Jean Asselborn has been in talks with France and Belgium to see when the borders will fully reopen“, Bettel said. No date has been agreed but Luxembourg had hopes Belgium would open before France, which will remain fully closed until 15 June.

Looking back, this crisis has shown us to what point it’s difficult to take measures without knowing if they are right or not. We had to act quickly. Figures show us we have avoided a big catastrophe“, Health Minister Paulette Lenert, who was with Bettel, said at the press conference.

We had one aim: pull the hand break. Now our aim is to reintroduce normalcy by gradually reducing these measures“.

 

Source: Luxtimes.lu

Covid-19 bonus for companies in Brussels

COVID-19 premium

The measures taken to counter the spread of the coronavirus are having unprecedented consequences for the economic activity. The Region supports companies that have temporarily closed their doors and are work in certain sectors of activity. Under certain conditions, you can benefit from a bonus of 4,000 € per establishment in the Region. Your application for a voucher must be submitted by June 1st at the latest.

All about the COVID-19 voucher

Who can benefit from this bonus?

Any company (self-employed or business) with fewer than 50 full-time employees (FTE) with at least one operational site in the Brussels-Capital Region and active in an eligible sector of activity: shop-keeper, establishments, … (including bookshops, estate agents, car wash and DVD rental companies). Please check on the Banque Carrefour des Entreprises website that your NACE VAT 2008 codes correspond to your actual activity.

The business must have an economic and commercial purpose. Public companies (or companies considered as such) cannot benefit from this bonus. A different voucher is available for social integration companies.

Reminder: A company can only receive a maximum of 200,000 € of “de minimis” aid during the current fiscal year and the two previous years, according to the Commission Regulation (EU) No. 1407/2013 of 18 December 2013.

The application for the voucher must be submitted before June 1st 2020.

What is the procedure?

Amount of the bond: 4,000 € per operational site located in the Brussels-Capital Region, with a maximum of 20,000 € per company.

Maximum number of requests: Only one request per company.

Who can ask for the bonus?

1. Check with your company number to see if you meet the criteria.

Tip: Make sure that your NACE VAT codes in the Crossroads Business Bank reflect your actual activity.

2. If you meet the criteria, fill out a bonus application form. The deadline is June 1st 2020. The form must include the following attachments:

  • a bank certificate of your company’s account (company name and account number)
  • your last monthly or quarterly VAT return
  • a photo of the bank card linked to the company’s current account (jpeg format)
  • a double-sided photo of the identity card of the person signing the application (jpeg format)

Attention

In the event that the subsidy is granted: the company will notify Bruxelles Economie et Emploi immediately if it is subsequently sold or if it ceases to operate.

 

Contact

Bruxelles Economie et Emploi
Direction des Aides aux entreprises

Bd du Jardin Botanique, 20

1035 Ixelles

 

For more information about this bonus or any other business assistance, please contact 1819 (the Regional Business Information Service hosted at hub.brussels).

E  info@1819.brussels
T  Call 1819

 

SOURCE: Bruxelles Économie et Emploi

ERTEs are extended until July and are dissociated from the state of alarm

The management bodies of the employers and of the main unions ratified the agreement that their managers had reached at the last minute with the Ministry of Labor, according to which the ERTE designed by the Government after the declaration of the state of alarm are extended until the June 30th.

In this way, they are disconnected from the political decision to extend this exceptional situation and both the Ministry of Labor and the social agents undertake to evaluate its expansion beyond that date based on the economic conditions of the sectors and companies affected, according to the text to which the Government also gave the approval and approved in the Council of Ministers.

This is a balanced agreement based on the value of social dialogue in which we all committed”, said the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, at the press conference after the extraordinary Council of Ministers, in which she also recognized the negotiating effort of the social partners. “They have demonstrated their commitment and that they are at the height of their country’s history at a time as difficult as this”, Díaz praised.

Along the same lines, the President of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, acknowledged that all the parties had to be flexible, and put social dialogue as an example of the effort that the country needs at all times in all its spheres.

It was not easy for the president of the businessmen to convince the CEOE leadership to sign the agreement. The stumbling block to the condition of maintaining employment during the six months after the end of the ERTE continues to be difficult in sectors especially affected by this crisis.

 

The CEOE wanted to erase the condition of maintaining employment the following six months

In the official statement issued by the employers following the meeting of its management committee, it is recognized that “a longer-term agreement would have been desired that would have given security and certainty to companies and workers, to accompany them in the process of full recovery of the activity”. But it also recognizes that “within the Government’s time and budget margins, the agreement improves the initial proposal”.

The truth is that the CEOE negotiating team has managed to initiate not inconsiderable changes for its interests. On the controversial issue of job maintenance, although the requirement to keep jobs for the six months after returning to activity remains, the employers have achieve an exception. Companies that demonstrate the risk of entering bankruptcy will not have this obligation.

On the other hand, Labor maintains the requirement that companies that have activity in tax havens or distribute dividends cannot access the advantages of ERTE due to force majeure, but at this point it has also made concessions. The requirement is maintained only for those who on February 29th, 2020 had more than 50 employees. In other words, it frees SMEs from this obligation and also establishes that large companies will be able to distribute dividends if they return the Social Security contributions from which they had been exempted, compared to the initial requirement that they intended to also return the benefits they would have received. your workers.

 

A commission is created to evaluate sectors that can continue in ERTE from July

Another novelty agreed by Labor and social agents is the possibility that ERTEs can be extended beyond June 30th depending on the sanitary conditions of economic opening of companies and territories.

To channel this possibility, a tripartite commission has been created in which Labor, unions and employers will work to define which sectors and companies meet the conditions that allow them to expand the ERTE.

Even so, the agreement contemplates incentives to return to business activity by lowering the exoneration of contributions and quotas for workers during the months of May and June for employees who remain in ERTE and expanding it for those who return to work.

 

Source: LaVanguardia.com

Luxembourg City waives three months rent

Faced with the economic difficulties faced by merchants and hoteliers, Luxembourg City has decided to postpone the resumption of rent collection until June 1st, Serge Wilmes (CSV) announced.

The first councilor confirmed that the city renounces not only the income collected during the period of confinement, but also the resumption of activities, at least for companies. Restaurants are currently closed across the country, but some offer a takeaway or home delivery service.

In total, “the income that the City of Luxembourg renounces, to help companies and hoteliers, amounts to about 80,000 euros per month“, indicates the first councilman in charge of trade, that is, a total of 240,000 euros for the period of March to June 2020.

Serge Wilmes clarified that the resumption of rent collection only concerns tenants who can reopen their doors. Therefore, hoteliers can still breathe a little.

 

Source: Paperjam.lu

Beginning of deconfinement in Luxembourg: Shops reopened and social contact restart on May 11th

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Health announced on Monday the end of the containment and the resumption of several activities on May 11th. Shops will be able to reopen, and social contacts will restart on a limited basis by continuing to respect the safety measures.

It’s a return to normality“, but not a return to the way things were before. By announcing the end of the containment or “Bleift Doheem” at a press conference late Monday afternoon, Xavier Bettel (DP) and Paulette Lenert (LSAP) were intransigent on the respect of the measures to contain the spread of the virus: barrier gestures and social distancing. Discipline must be combined with solidarity.

Four more people were tested positive compared to Sunday, bringing the number of people affected by Covid-19 to 3,828. There were no additional deaths reported. 113 people are hospitalized, 21 of them in intensive care.
Considering the positive results over the last few days and the systematic monitoring of health facilities, the Government decided to start a new phase on May 11th:

  • Shops can reopen. A precise list of authorized businesses will be released in the coming hours. With a ministerial announcement to come, the modalities of attendance will be adapted this Wednesday.
  • The personal care sector, such as hairdressers and beauticians, will be able to return to work only by appointment.
  • It will be possible to regain some form of social contact with up to six people (exceptions may apply to people living under the same roof) with the necessary discipline to limit the risk of spreading the virus. “The aim is to resume limited social contact with others, paying attention to the multiplier factor“, specifies Xavier Bettel. “And if it’s the same six people (each time), so much the better“. It’s not yet time for a barbecue or a party at home, says the Prime Minister, as if to better illustrate the idea of moderation that prevails, including in the denunciations that the authorities want to avoid.
  • Gatherings and other outdoor events will be allowed, limited to 20 people.
  • Cultural venues will be able to welcome the public again, avoiding queues and preserving distance and barrier gestures. Outdoor events that allow this, such as drive-in cinema, will also be possible.
  • Outdoor sports will be allowed again, except team and contact sports. The changing rooms will remain closed.
  • Indoor leisure areas, such as fitness rooms, casinos, discos or nightclubs, will remain closed.
  • The same applies to the sector of tourism and services – forced to survive via delivery for restaurants – for which additional accompanying measures are being discussed. Pastry tasting salons are also affected. If the evolution of Covid-19 continues to unfold positively, the Prime Minister has indicated that bars and restaurants will once again serve meals on their premises on June 1st, subject to adjustments.

Discussions are ongoing within the government to adjust the specific measures that have been implemented to support the economy.

The same discussions will have to continue with neighboring countries concerning teleworking and the tolerance threshold allowed for cross-border workers. Xavier Bettel clarified that telework remains a good measure of social distancing and would continue to be favored in the coming weeks.

 

50 masks per inhabitant and cross-border

The Government, which has been busy with working groups modelling the evolution of the pandemic according to deconfinement scenarios, has not recorded a significant increase in infections following the reopening of construction sites on April 20th.

Xavier Bettel said he wanted to take the time to conduct the necessary analyses and exchange views with the specialists before taking the decisions announced on Monday. Concerned representatives of the economic sectors were waiting for these measures.

The masks, which have become indispensable elements in daily protection against Covid-19, will remind everyone that ” the virus is now part of our daily life“, and “we must learn to live with it“.

The Prime Minister has announced that a new massive distribution of masks will take place in the coming days. Each person over the age of 16 will receive 50 masks.

The same applies to cross-border workers“, adds Xavier Bettel. “Discussions are ongoing to determine how the distribution can be done, so that people who work in that sector have the same opportunity to protect themselves“.

Paulette Lenert remarked that if the strict measures, the personnel mobilized and the infrastructures deployed did not ensure  a minor impact of the pandemic, the possibility that containment will tighten again remains if the virus resurges.

As Xavier Bettel said on 20th March: Everyone remains part of the solution.

 

Source: Paperjam.lu

 

The Spanish government implements four phases for de-escalating the confinement measures until June

The President of the GovernmentPedro Sánchez, presented last Tuesday the de-escalation plan after the approval by the Council of Ministers. The Spanish population has been waiting for this plan after more than six weeks of confinement due to the coronavirus pandemic. The plan will consist in four phases, with a period of 15 days between each phase, as long as “the evolution of the pandemic continues to be favorable and under constant evaluation by the corresponding institutions“.

The president stated that “the phases will last a minimum of two weeks because this is the average incubation time of Covid-19. In this way, we can make decisions based on the effects that each phase has had on each territory”. President Sánchez also confirmed that mobility between provinces and islands will continue to be restricted to the ones contemplated in the state of alarm decree.

The progress between phases will be determined by objective criteria based on parameters that will show the disposition of each province: healthcare capacity, both in primary care and hospital care, and in the number of ICU beds in each of the territories. It will also be taken into account the epidemiological situation in each area, with diagnoses and identification of the pandemic; implementation of joint protection measures in public spaces, and mobility and socioeconomic data.

 

Phase 0:

The phase zero, which is the first phase, has already begun.  It is about preparing the transition to deconfinement and the start of “relief” measures such as the one allowing minors to go out last Sunday or the possibility of outdoor sports and small walks from  May 2nd onwards.

In addition, “small activities” of economic nature will be allowed by appointment. For example, restaurants with home delivery service can open but there will be no consumption possible inside. The preparation of all public spaces will also be intensified, with appropriate signalization of protective and hygienic measures, and the training of professional athletes will be allowed.

Even though “the back-to-normal measures are gradual and coordinated”, they will also be asymmetrical according to the particular situation of each province. Therefore, all the territories are expected to be in phase zero on May 4th. However, FormenteraLa GomeraEl Hierro and La Graciosa islands “due to their favorable evolution”, will start phase one on the same day.

 

Phase 1:

President Sanchez points out that from May 11th onward all provinces will start phase one and, from then on, the evaluation will be individual and every two weeks. “We will implement the phases at different speeds, and we will not go to the next phase until we have consolidated the previous one”, explained president Sánchez as he remarked that each territory will have its own rhythm.

This period will be characterized by the fact that in each  province, some small commercial activities will begin. This will not be the case for large shopping centers or commercial parks. In the tourism sector, for example, the opening of terraces will only be at 30% of its capacity. Additionally, hotels will return to operate excluding common areas.

This phase will also include preferential hours for the elderly (over-65) in some premises, as well as a one-third occupancy rate regulations in places of worship for religious events. The use of masks will be highly recommended in the public transport.

 

Phase 2:

If phase one is properly conducted and no further outbreaks occur, phase two will begin with the opening of premises to one-third of its total capacity. Schools will also open to all those families with children under six years of age so that they can attend to their educational centers while their parents are working. Hunting and sport fishing will be once again allowed and cinemas and theaters will open with one-third of their capacity operational and assigned seats.

Exhibitions and monuments may be visited again, and cultural shows with less than 50 people will be allowed as limited capacity. In the case of events in public spaces, the total number of attendees may be 400, provided that they are seated.

 

Phase 3:

Phase three, which will be the most advanced and the last before resuming normal life, will only come if all the required parameters are met. During this period, mobility will be more flexible but with the recommendation of the use of masks in public spaces and transportation. Furthermore, in touristic sector, the measures will be softened, but it will be necessary to continue taking into consideration the measures of social-distancing and hygiene.

The social restrictions will end, but the hygiene measures will have to be maintained. It must be this way until a vaccine to cure the coronavirus is found“, said president Sánchez. He also pointed out that mobility between provinces can only be resumed when the ‘new normal’ has been reached, not before, especially if we consider that there may be territories in different phases.

If everything happens as the Government expects, the last phase could be finished in a six-week time. In that case, June 22nd could be the date of the total ‘new normality’ in Spain. In the worst-case scenario, if the evolution does not go as expected in some territories, the de-escalation will last up to eight weeks and the final date of de-escalation could be June 29th.

 

Source: Elconfidencial.com

Measures taken by the National Security Council of April 24th, 2020

On the basis of recommendations from the Group of Experts in charge of the Exit Strategy (GEES), the National Security Council met today, Friday April 24th, to determine the exit strategy from the corona crisis. Hopeful indicators, such as the reduction in the number of daily hospital admissions or the flattening of the mortality curve now make it possible to start phasing out very gradually. But the government stresses that the virus is still present on our territory and remains dangerous.

It is important to emphasize that certain rules remain in force, even as were scaling down the measures. Rules such as:

– Limiting contact with people

– Respecting safe distances

– good hygienic reflexes, also called “barrier gestures

– Use of masks in public areas and public transport for users aged 12 years and over.

– Travel by your own means instead of public transportation and avoid rush hours.

Phasing out strategy

The strict containment measures will certainly remain in place until 3 May. Belgium could then start phasing out the measures, if circumstances permit. All of the following dates are subject to change depending on the health situation and the evolution of the virus.

  • Phase 1-A (4 May)

Working from home is still the standard.  For example, if companies cannot meet the physical distancing requirements, they will be able to compensate by following a series of health recommendations, such as wearing a mask.

The rules do not change for shops and the hospitality industry, except for the fabric shops, which – given their important role in the production of mouth masks – are allowed to open their doors.

Working groups are already studying how to respond to the need to continue to provide the best care to people infected with covid-19 while gradually and safely expanding access to general and specialised health care. The aim is to ensure that everyone regains ‘normal’ access to healthcare as soon as possible and that the medical infrastructure needed to care for people suffering from the virus is not overburdened.

Physical activity in the open air is allowed with a maximum of two people in addition to those living under the same roof, provided that physical distance is always respected.

It will also be allowed to practice other non-contact sports in the open air. But access to changing rooms, communal showers and cafeterias is still forbidden.

  • Phase 1-B (11 May)

This phase allows all shops to reopen at the same time – without discrimination on the basis of size or industry – in order to give everyone the same chance of success. This will of course be subject to conditions. These will be determined in consultation with the industries and the social partners.

There are three types of conditions, relating to: work organization, welcoming in clients and restricting access to shops to avoid hustle and bustle.

Carrying out so-called contact professions (such as hairdressing, for example) is not permitted at this stage.

Future of sports competitions will be also clarified in the short term.

  • Phase 2 (18 May)

The government  look at whether and under what conditions so-called contact professions can be resumed, again under certain conditions.

The opening of the museums can also be considered during phase two, also under certain conditions, for example through a ticketing system.

Team sports will be possible in the open air, but only in a club setting and subject to certain conditions.

Lessons will very gradually resume from the 18th of May. Not all pupils/students will be able to go back to school immediately. Each Community will be responsible for implementing this decision on its own territory, in consultation with the education sector.

Also, certain possibilities will be examined, such as:

– the ability to hold private meetings at home

– the ability to permit more people at weddings and funerals.

– allowing more than two people to be active outdoors together

– the possibility to organize day trips to certain regions of the country.

  • Phase 3 (8 June at the earliest)

Multiple points will be examined:

– How to organize the possible and gradual reopening of restaurants and, at a later stage, cafes, bars and the like. This will in any case have to be done under strict conditions.

– Various summer activities such as trips abroad, youth movement camps (to be decided at the end of May), internships, tourist attractions but also smaller open-air events. The only certainty is that mass events such as festivals are not allowed before 31 August.

 

Source: Belgian.be

Financial support measures for small businesses in Luxembourg

Micro and small commercial and artisanal companies will be able to benefit from additional financial support measures after the adoption last Wednesday of the regulation of the Governing Council of the Grand Duchy.

Companies with between 10 and 20 workers may benefit from a compensation that amounts to a lump sum of 12,500 euros.

In addition, companies with fewer than 10 workers will also benefit from new measures. An additional compensation of 5,000 euros will be awarded to those who, forced to close or stop their activities, suffered a loss of at least 50% of their turnover during the period between April 15th and May 15th.

“We are strengthening immediate financial support for micro and small businesses because they are generally the most vulnerable to unpredictable events like Covid-19. Effective and prompt support is essential in times of crisis,” said the Minister for the Middle Classes, Lex Delles.

Detailed information is available since April 24th on the Guichet.lu website. The form to send applications, which will be processed by the General Directorate of the Middle Classes, is also available on that same website.

 

Source: Paperjam.lu