Germany extends support for pandemic-hit companies into mid-2021
The German government said Friday it was extending its loan scheme for pandemic-hit companies into mid-2021 and boosting support for self-employed workers during the crisis.
The aid programme allows companies to apply for state-backed loans of up to 25 percent of last year's turnover for a maximum of €800,000, provided by the state-owned KfW bank.
The scheme has been a lifeline for the country's army of small and medium-sized companies, many of which were forced to temporarily shut down at the height of lockdowns in the spring.
The programme, now extended until June 30th, 2021, will also be expanded to include self-employed people and companies with up to 10 employees.
"The effects of the corona pandemic are greater and longer than we expected and hoped," Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said in a statement.
"In this serious situation we are not leaving our companies and their employees alone."
The KfW has already received more than 95,000 requests for the coronavirus aid, amounting to some €46 billion in loans.
The usually frugal German government unleashed an unprecedented rescue package in March to shield Europe's top economy from the pandemic fallout, pledging more than a trillion euros in support for firms and workers.
With the country now battling a second coronavirus wave, Berlin recently extended its "Kurzarbeit" short-time working scheme for a total of 24 months to help save jobs.
The government has also promised an additional €10 billion in support specifically for businesses smarting from a new round of restrictions this November, like restaurants, bars, cultural and leisure centres.
The affected businesses will be able to apply for compensation of up to 75 percent of their takings from November 2019.
The measures come as Germany on Friday notched up a record number of daily Covid-19 cases, adding another 21,506 cases to bring the total to 619,089 since the start of the pandemic.