Lockdown – the economy demands help and gets familiar things

————————————————– ——————- UPDATE NOTE Statements from creditors’ advocates, social partners, more details, some cuts —————— ————————————————– –

The economy regrets the nationwide corona lockdown announced today, but accepts it – and calls for financial help. She will probably get this too, because the recipes previously used during the crisis will be extended. Finance Minister Gernot Blümel and Labor Minister Martin Kocher (both ÖVP) announced that there will be assistance from the default bonus and loss compensation to the hardship fund until March 2022. Corona short-time work will apply until the end of the year anyway.

The Ministry of Labor expects short-time working almost like last winter. In November a year ago, 360,000 people were on short-time work in the then lockdown. In any case, the social partners today appealed to companies and employees to take advantage of short-time working. This would enable companies to start again immediately after the lockdown has ended. Kocher promised to continue to provide short-time work, but it must first be agreed how the short-time work will be regulated from January 2022.

“We use the tried and tested instrument case. This means we are quickly ready to go and the entrepreneurs get their money faster,” said Blümel. “If mistakes have happened, then we are sorry,” said the finance minister when asked about the fact that many experts criticized the government’s reluctance to act.

“I strongly recommend all companies to use home office,” Kocher called on employers and employees to reduce contacts. Kocher also wants to reinstate the option of being exempted with a risk certificate.

Chamber of Commerce President Harald Mahrer and Secretary General Karlheinz Kopf had spoken of a “full brakes before Christmas” and called for “rapid economic aid”. The individual sectors have been hard hit by the measure. From November 22nd until December 13th, only shops for daily needs such as supermarkets, drugstores and pharmacies, post offices and telecom shops are allowed to keep completely open. At the other dealers, only “Click & Collect” and collection after pre-ordering is possible.

For the time being, however, creditors’ advocates see the measure calmly. “Companies should be able to cope with a lockdown of 20 days,” said Gerhard Weinhofer, managing director of the creditors’ protection association Creditreform. He welcomes the fact that economic aid such as loss compensation and loss bonuses are being expanded.

For WKÖ trade chairman Rainer Trefelik, however, it is “a historical catastrophe”. “It will meet us for the second time during Christmas sales.” There is also the problem of product range delimitation again. He fears that grocers and drugstores will sell more toys while toy stores are closed in lockdown. Retail association managing director Rainer Will expects sales losses of around 2.7 billion euros in retail.

The winter season is now again “hanging by a thread”, said Susanne Kraus-Winkler, chairwoman of the professional association for the hotel industry in the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ). In view of the great uncertainty, the employees threatened to leave the industry for good. “Misunderstanding, frustration and anger probably best describe the emotions that are currently prevalent in the industry,” says Kraus-Winkler.

“The general lockdown hits tourism and the leisure industry right at the start of the winter season and Christmas business unchecked and in full force. In view of the impending overload of the health system and to save the winter season, it is probably inevitable,” said Robert Seeber, head of the tourism division in the Chamber of Commerce ( WKÖ), with all the criticism also understanding for the lockdown.

The travel agencies see the measures announced today as an “economically unmanageable blow,” says Gregor Kadanka, WKÖ chairman of the travel agencies. Unfortunately, expectations would not have been met in summer. For the winter, they had carefully planned with 2G, even this no longer applies. “In the middle of the normally busy booking times, our companies are faced with a wave of cancellations. Unfortunately, our employees are currently at their limit again.”

The catering chairman in the Chamber of Commerce, Mario Pulker, reacts to the lockdown that has now been imposed with a lot of frustration. “Unfortunately, what many experts have been prophesying for a long time has now happened. We all have to pay the price for the neglect of the last few months,” said Pulker.

The compulsory vaccination is largely supported by the economy. “The economy welcomes every measure that effectively contributes to increasing the vaccination rate,” said the WKÖ top. “I expressly welcome the fact that the federal government has finally made a general vaccination requirement”, said Mario Pulker, catering chairman in the Chamber of Commerce. The compulsory vaccination is an approach to finally break out of the “stop-and-go operation”, writes Robert Seeber, head of tourism in the Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ). Concerning the announced compulsory vaccination, there is now at least clarity. It is incomprehensible that no major progress has been made in vaccination, said Susanne Kraus-Winkler, chairwoman of the hotel industry in the Chamber of Commerce.



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