PM announces EUR 393 mln support for business affected by COVID-19

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced a support package on Tuesday providing PLN 1.8 billion (EUR 393 million) for over 170,000 companies, employing over 400,000 people, affected by the latest anti-COVID-19 restrictions.

The proposed support package concerns November but if it is necessary to extend the restrictions, the support will also be extended, the prime minister said.

Morawiecki explained that the aid and relief provisions would be available to businesspeople whose incomes had fallen in October and November by at least 40 percent compared to a year earlier.

He said he hoped the restrictions would finish at the end of November, which would mean, "that we can change the operating conditions at the end of November and, while maintaining sanitary rules, allow many of these entrepreneurs to function."

He gave his assurance that if that does not happen, then the support would be continued for the coming months.

"We will make the right decisions at the right time to make the support available to all entrepreneurs," Morawiecki said.

He added that the government wanted all businesses affected by the anti-COVID-19 restrictions to be covered by the support programme. He also said the government would launch long-term loans for companies, without giving details.

The prime minister said lifting the ban on Sunday trading was not an option being considered.

Deputy Prime Minister, Development Minister Jaroslaw Gowin said the government would continue to analyse the possibility of rent subsidies for companies and that this was one of the most urgent issues.

"Participation of the state budget in rent, or even a statutory reduction in rents, is one of the requests most frequently put forward by the business community," Gowin said, adding that the matter was by no means simple, either financially or in terms of international law, but that the issue was being analysed. "One of the most urgent subjects of consultations, that will be ongoing this week, will concern possible facilitation of rent subsidies," he said.

Finance Minister Tadeusz Koscinski said support for businesses would be "targeted" and that the government had funds for aid activities. He said a change of strategy would be required as well as "surgical precision" to ensure aid was granted exactly where needed. He added that parliament had been requested to amend the 2020 budget in August and that the proposed deficit amounted to PLN 109 billion (EUR 23.82 billion), which was sufficient to create an appropriate "financial cushion." He went on to say that no further budget amendments would be required.