The Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced today (July 23) a support package of S $ 1.1 billion to help companies and workers cushion the impact of the new Covid-19 restrictions following the emergence of new clusters.
Singapore has returned to phase two (heightened alert) since yesterday, with stricter measures until August 18 to stem the worsening of the virus outbreak.
According to the MOF, the package will be financed through reallocation arising from one-time underutilization due to Covid-19, and previously reserved fiscal resources in case of extension of support measures.
Support includes higher wage subsidies under the Employment Support Scheme (JSS) and rental relief, more support for taxi drivers and private rental vehicles, and a new relief fund for merchants and street vendors.
“In preparing this support package, the Government took into account the comments of workers and companies, and committed the leaders of trade and business associations to understand their concerns,” the ministry said in a statement.
1. Improved JSS support
JSS support will increase by up to 60 percent for the most affected sectors, such as food and beverage, gyms, performing arts organizations and arts education centers, from July 22 to August 18.
Meanwhile, support will increase to 40 percent for sectors significantly affected by the restrictions.
These include the retail sector, affected personal care services, tourist attractions, licensed hotels, regional cruise and ferry operators, MICE organizers, travel agents, museums, art galleries, movie theater operators, and other family entertainment centers.
JSS support for these sectors will drop to 10% from August 19 to August 31.
2. Commercial Property Rental Exemption
Tenants of government-owned commercial properties will receive an additional four-week rental exemption, and qualifying tenant-occupants and owner-occupiers of privately owned commercial properties will receive an additional two-week rental relief cash payment under the Rental support program.
This will offset the rent for the entire duration of Phase 2 (HA) for government-owned commercial properties and for half the duration of the enhanced measures for privately owned commercial properties.
More details will be available on the Inland Revenue Authority Singapore (IRAS) website.
Noting that many tenants have said that not all landlords were willing to support rent, MOF said it is looking at how to require that rental obligations be shared fairly between the government, landlords and qualifying tenants.
3. Enhanced Covid-19 Driver Assistance Fund
To support taxi and private rental car drivers, the government will enhance the Covid-19 Driver Assistance Fund (CDRF) from July 22 to the end of September.
Currently, the fund provides eligible drivers S $ 10 per vehicle per day for 60 days starting in July, and S $ 5 per vehicle per day for the next 30 days.
Under this latest upgrade, eligible drivers will receive an additional S $ 10 per vehicle per day from July 22 to August 31, and an additional S $ 5 per vehicle per day in September.
4. Support for street vendors and traders
A new market aid fund and street vendor center will award Singapore $ 500 in cash to all individual cooked food vendors and market stalls at centers managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or designated operators by the NEA.
This follows the announcement earlier this month of an additional month of subsidies for table cleaning fees and centralized dishwashing services, and one month of rent exemptions for these merchants.
5. Support to other affected workers
To help other workers affected by the stricter measures, the government will also make the temporary Covid-19 Recovery Grant available until August 31.
Provides a payment of up to S $ 700 for those placed on involuntary leave without pay, and up to S $ 500 for those who lost at least half of their income for at least one month, due to strict safe management measures . from May 16.
Under the MOF, existing grant recipients who continue to need assistance can request a second support payment.
6. Expansion of food delivery and e-commerce booster packages
Given the impact of stricter measures in the food and beverage sector, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) will reintroduce the Food Delivery Booster Package to defray part of the food delivery costs through food delivery platforms and logistics partners. from third parties, for transactions carried out from July 22 to August 18.
For the use of food delivery platforms, ESG will fund five percent of the cost of the commission charged. ESG will finance 20 percent of the delivery costs of food delivery orders through external logistics partners.
Local retailers will also be awarded a grant to get onboard with local e-commerce platforms through the E-Commerce Booster Pack extension, which will now be available until November 16.
Retailers get a one-time 80 percent support in qualifying costs for service fees charged by platforms like Lazada, Qoo10, and Shopee, capped at S $ 8,000.
More details can be found on the ESG website.
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