France Bolsters Aid for Tourism Firms to Mitigate Omicron Hit
The French government said it will ease access to crisis funds and could delay loan repayments for businesses struggling with a drop in activity as the surge in omicron cases hits tourism and leisure activities.
“We are standing by firms and workers in difficulty,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said after meeting with representatives of business groups. “This method has allowed to relaunch economic activity very quickly and very strongly.”
To access support covering fixed costs, the government will cut the threshold to a 50% loss of revenues from 65% previously and accelerate the process for the smallest companies. The funds will also be made available to the whole tourism sector, including bars and restaurants.
Le Maire said the cost of the new measures would be in the hundreds of millions of euros and easily covered by 1.8 billion euros ($2 billion) of unused crisis funds already budgeted.
The finance ministry is also examining the possibility of tax exemptions for some firms and how to delay the reimbursement of state-guaranteed loans due in the spring of this year. Le Maire said he will discuss the options with financial institutions, the Bank of France and the European Commission.
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