The government has confirmed that financial support for businesses hit by coronavirus restrictions will end on October 1.
Industry leaders warned that many companies, including those in the travel, events, and hotel and catering sectors, were still struggling to recover from the pandemic and would be hit hard by the withdrawal of funding.
Compensation will continue for nightclubs, which will stay closed at least until November 1, but all other mechanisms to pay company wages or support entrepreneurs will be phased out next month.
Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN), which represents hotels, restaurant and cafe owners, said the decision was ‘almost criminal’.
‘It’s unacceptable and inexplicable that the restrictions are continuing but the support is stopping,’ said chairman Robèr Willemsen. ‘Companies have no reserves and a mountain of debt.’
Travel trade body ANVR said its 800 members were still severely limited by testing regimes and restrictions on tourism. ‘Travel restrictions are still in force outside Europe, so companies focused on that market can’t do anything. They face going under as the harbour comes into view or will have to lay off more staff.’
Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra said it was a ‘good moment to move towards a new phase’, but acknowledged that some businesses would not survive. ‘In the coming period there will be an increase in business failures, but there have been fewer than usual in recent months,’ he said.
‘Now there are virtually no restrictions left and the economy is growing by nearly 4%, we’ve reached a situation where that support is not just excessive, but actually counter-productive.’
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Source: Dutch News