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Greece launches new coronavirus aid package

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) – The Greek Prime Minister has announced a new € 2.5 billion ($ 3 billion) bailout package for corporate workers affected by the blockade.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday that the new promotion package would provide assistance to more than 500,000 companies – independent professionals, millions of employees. From the beginning of November, the country was under various forms of blockade, retail businesses and restaurants were closed, and there were strict restrictions on movement outside the home.

The total funding for the new package of epidemic assistance measures is expected to reach 11.6 billion euros by 2021, Mitsotakis said, adding that 24 billion euros were spent in 2020 to support businesses and employees.

The Greek economy is projected to shrink by about 8.2% in 2020, less than the previously projected 10.5%.

“Now our goal is for the manufacturing sector to stay afloat until the end of the test,” Mitsotakis said.

The new measures include a new round of interest-free loans for businesses with lower turnover in the first quarter of the year; in some cases, up to 50% of those loans may not be repaid, thus turning into subsidies.

The exemption for rent for the affected business is also extended for March, while the loan is provided for tax and social security payments. Loan repayment assistance will be provided.

The measures, Mitsotakis said, “pave the way for our safe passage to the post-coronavirus era.”

In recent months, there has been a wave of coronavirus infections and deaths in Greece, and its hospitals are becoming increasingly strained, especially in the greater Athens area. As of Wednesday night, the country of about 11 million people had registered more than 212,000 cases of coronavirus և 6,886 deaths since the outbreak began. Nearly 1.2 million doses of the vaccine have been administered so far, and more than 383,000 people have been fully vaccinated with both doses.

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