The Ministry of Finance (MOF) today (July 23) announced a support package of S$1.1 billion to help businesses and workers mitigate the impact of new Covid-19 restrictions following the emergence of new clusters.
Singapore has returned to phase two (higher alert) since yesterday, with stricter measures taken until August 18 to curb the worsening virus outbreak.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the package will be funded by reallocation arising from the lack of one-time use due to Covid-19, and previously allocated financial resources in case of extension of support measures.
The support includes enhanced wage support under the Job Support Scheme (JSS) and relief from rent, more support for taxi drivers and private hire vehicles, and a new relief fund for market owners and hawker centers.
“In compiling this support package, the government took into account comments from workers and businesses, and engaged business leaders and trade associations to understand their concerns,” the department said in a statement.
1. Enhanced JSS Support
JSS support will be raised by up to 60 percent for the hardest-hit sectors such as food and beverage, gyms, performing arts organizations and arts education centers, from July 22 to August 18.
Meanwhile, subsidies will be increased to 40 percent for the sectors most affected by the restrictions.
This includes the retail sector, affected personal care services, tourist attractions, licensed hotels, regional cruise and ferry operators, conference organizers, travel agents, museums, art galleries, movie operators and other family entertainment centers.
JSS support for these sectors will decline to 10 percent from August 19 to 31.
2. Exemption from renting commercial real estate
Tenants of government-owned commercial properties will receive an additional four-week rental waiver, and eligible tenants and landlords residing in privately owned commercial properties will receive an additional two-week relief cash compensation under the rent support scheme.
This lease will compensate for the full term of Phase 2 (HA) for government-owned commercial property and for half the term of the tightening procedure for privately owned commercial property.
More details will be available on the IRAS website.
Noting that many tenants said not all landlords are willing to subsidize rent, the Finance Ministry said it was looking into how to require that rent obligations be shared equitably between the government, landlords and eligible tenants.
3. Improved Driver Relief Fund for COVID-19
To support private taxi and rental car drivers, the government will boost the Covid-19 Drivers Benefit 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 from July, and S$5 per vehicle per day for the next 30 days.
Under this latest improvement, 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 market hawkers
The new Market and Hawker Center Relief Fund will provide a one-time cash amount of S$500 to all owners of individual cooked food stalls and market stalls in centers operated by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or NEA-designated operators.
It follows the announcement earlier this month of one additional month of subsidies for table cleaning fees and central dishwashing services, and one month of rent waivers for these stall owners.
5. Support other affected workers
To help other workers affected by the tightening measures, the government will also provide a temporary Covid-19 recovery grant until August 31.
It provides up to S$700 for those who have been placed on involuntary leave without pay, and up to S$500 for those who have lost at least half of their income for at least one month, due to tight secure management measures since May 16.
According to the Department of Finance, current grant recipients who still need assistance can apply for a second support payment.
6. Extension of food delivery and e-commerce support packages
Due to the impact of the tougher measures on the food and beverage sector, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) will reintroduce a food delivery promotion package to defray the costs of food delivery via food delivery platforms and third-party logistics partners, for transactions 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 fund 20 percent of the delivery costs of food delivery orders through third-party logistics partners.
Grant support will also be provided to local retailers to acquire local e-commerce platforms by extending the e-commerce promotion package, which will now be available through November 16.
Retailers get a one-time 80 percent subsidy on eligible costs of service fees charged by platforms like Lazada, Qoo10 and Shopee, up to a maximum of S$8,000.
More details can be found on the ESG website.
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