October 18, 2020
The catering sector will receive 500 million euros in ‘corona support’ this year. The bridging right, a type of unemployment benefit for the self-employed, is being expanded. According to Minister of Health Frank Vandenbroucke, Brussels and Wallonia are close to ‘contamination tsunami’.
The federal Minister of Economy and Employment, Pierre-Yves Dermagne, and his colleague from Self-employed, Self-employed, SMEs, David Clarinval, have discussed the sectors affected by the new corona measures on Sunday.
This morning a first meeting started with the catering sector, the caterers and the night clubs. The trade unions were also present at the meeting. Bars, cafes and restaurants have to close for four weeks from Monday due to the increasing corona infections. Afterwards there was consultation with people from the events and culture sector and the market vendors.
For self-employed persons in the catering, events and cultural sectors, it was decided to increase the amount of the crisis bridging right to double. Initially, the monthly amount was set at just under 1,300 euros for a single self-employed person and 1,600 euros for a self-employed person with someone dependent. Those amounts are now doubled. A bill is being prepared for this.
For self-employed persons who do not close their business, but where there is a significant loss, the bridging right will be extended until the end of December.
The federal government also guarantees that all hospitality workers receive a full year-end bonus, even if they have experienced periods of temporary or economic unemployment. There will also be an exemption for the third quarter of the employer’s contributions to the NSSO for companies and self-employed persons who have to cease their activities. The exemption consists of an immediate refund of the contributions already paid for this third quarter.
‘The remission of the NSSO and the participation of the state in the end-of-year bonus is important, because this way we ensure that there is no’ cash out ‘,’ says Matthias De Caluwe, CEO of Horeca Vlaanderen. ‘The doubling of the bridging right as a replacement income also provides some more oxygen. We look at what this will yield in total and what more is needed. ‘
During the consultation it became clear that the 500 million euros that the federal government wants to release is an investment for 2020. 2021 will be looked at later, but “there is no doubt that more resources will be needed,” says De Caluwe. “We are already opening the debate about 2021. Even if we open again, there is still less capacity.”
The Brussels Hotel Association (BHA), which raised the alarm on Friday about the situation for the hotels, is somewhat reassured after the consultation. There is hope that the support measures for the catering industry will now also be switched to hotels that can close their doors.
‘It’s not a general problem’, says Yves Fonck of BHA, ‘because in the Ardennes, for example, hotel operators are satisfied with the turnover. They realize that it is local and especially linked to the cities. A closure can now be considered and then the support measures are geared to the loss in turnover.
‘Close to tsunami in Wallonia and Brussels’
‘We are close to a tsunami in Brussels and Wallonia’. This is what Minister of Health Frank Vandenbroucke (sp.a) said on Sunday afternoon on ‘C’est pas tous les jours dimanche’ (RTL-TVi). According to him, the ‘tsunami’ means that ‘we no longer have any control over what is happening’.
‘If the figures continue to rise, hospitalization will lead to more and more’ non-COVID ‘concerns being postponed,’ said Vandenbroucke, adding ‘that health conditions in Wallonia and Brussels are the worst and therefore the most dangerous in all of Europe. ”According to him, the infection rate was 50 percent higher on Tuesday than in Île de France, the region around the French capital Paris.
Despite everything, the Minister of Health defends Friday’s decisions of the Consultation Committee, which some say are not yet strict enough.