Update – 21/05/2020
May 21, 2020
As of the latest update by the Greek authorities yesterday evening, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 diagnosed cases in Greece is 2,850. One new death was announced, bringing the death toll to 166. The number of patients treated in intensive care units stands at 22, while 96 people have left the intensive care unit.
Prime Minister announced yesterday an extension of the government program to support businesses through July and targeted tax cuts, as part of a plan to revive tourism and other sectors hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The tax cuts include lowering the VAT in public transport fares, open-air cinema ticket prices, coffee and non-alcoholic beverages to 13 percent from 24 percent from June 1 until October 31.
The government will also subsidise the salaries and social security contributions for workers in the tourism sector and will pay unemployment benefits to seasonal employees who will not be hired this year.
The prime minister also announced that the tourism season will officially begin on June 15 and international flights on July 1.
- Tourists will be allowed to enter Greece without taking a coronavirus test or remaining in quarantine when international flights restart on July 1, but health officials will conduct spot tests when required, Tourism Minister said yesterday.
- Flights will initially only land in Athens’ International Airport when services resume on June 15, but will eventually extend to all the airports as of July 1, he said. The first tourists will be from countries where epidemiological data is encouraging and mentioned the Balkans (Bulgaria) and countries in northern Europe, such as Germany.
- Authorities will boost the healthcare capacity of several tourist destinations by providing tests and doctors, as well as an operational plan for the handling of possible infections (a hotel doctor, quarantine areas and transfer to a health facility).
GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT MEASURES
- Greek Finance Minister presented yesterday a new package of 15 policies to be implemented from June until October 30 in the framework of the third phase of a plan for economic recovery. The new package includes, among others, a reduction of VAT on transport, coffee and beverages, tourist packages and cinemas until October 31.
- The measures currently implemented or be implemented expand to around 14.5 billion euros, while their added value reaches 20 billion and with the exploitation of European funds, the total cost of measures will reach 24 billion euros.
1. Expansion of a measure to put workers’ contracts under suspension, payment of a compensation and covering social insurance contributions (in the sectors of tourism, restaurant, transport, culture and sports).
2. A new mechanism to support short-term employment is created to preserve job positions and support business activity.
3. Offering unemployment benefit to seasonal workers who will be employed during this tourist season, along with subsidizing social insurance contributions for seasonal pert-time workers.
4. Suspension of payment of debt tranches to the tax agency for all enterprises which remain closed, along with the sectors of tourism, restaurant, transport, culture and sports, for June.
5. Expanding a measure for 40% reduction of rent payments in June for all enterprises remain closed, along with the sectors of tourism, restaurant, culture and sports. This measure also applies to individuals for their primary residence and to students.
6. For real estate owners, leasing their assets to enterprises and workers hit by the crisis, a suspension of tax payments is offered.
7. Enterprises will be offered a second round of refundable advance payment.
8. The government is offering a reduction of advance tax payments for 2020 and 2021 to enterprises hit by the crisis.
9. Reducing VAT on transports from 24% to 13% in the period June 1-October 31, 2020.
10. Reducing VAT on coffee and beverage drinks from 24% to 13% for the period June 1-October 31, 2020.
11. Reducing VAT on tourist packages from 80/20 to 90/10 for the period June 1-October 31, 2020.
12. Reducing VAT on cinema tickets from 24% to 13% for the period June 1-October 31, 2020.
13. Tax deduction of spending on scientific and technological research.
14. Creation of a National Registry of Start-up Businesses.
15. Creation of a program that will subsidize primary residence borrowers hit by the pandemic.