40 million francs for closed Lucerne companies
The Lucerne government will provide 40 million for hardship companies in its own competence. This measure is intended for closed companies and was decided before the latest tightening of the Federal Council.
The Lucerne government council is increasing the cantonal hardship aid: The 25 million francs already decided are now being added another 40 million. This amount is reserved for officially closed companies and is paid out à fonds perdu. The Lucerne government council announced this on Thursday morning. The government pays out the money on its own authority as a bound expenditure. The necessary adjustment of the cantonal hardship ordinance is planned for January 20, 2021.
The government made the decision before the federal government announced yesterday, Wednesday, that it would close most of the shops next Monday. All companies that have to close for more than 40 days by order of the authorities from November 1, 2020 are now considered hardship cases without evidence of a drop in sales.
In addition to support for officially closed companies, the Canton of Lucerne put together an aid package for Lucerne companies in October 2020 and in mid-December 2020. One was created in cooperation with the Albert Koechlin Foundation (AKS), the other, a cantonal one, in cooperation with the federal government. For the latter, the Cantonal Council approved a special loan of 25 million francs in the December session.
So far around 150 applications have been received
Lucerne’s finance director Reto Wyss is now drawing an initial conclusion about the hardship aid in cooperation with the Albert Koechlin Foundation (AKS) and about the cantonal hardship measures. To date, slightly more than 90 applications have been received for hardship assistance in cooperation with the AKS. Around a third from the catering industry, followed by companies from the travel and tourism sectors. To date, a little more than 40 percent of the CHF 1.1 million has been paid out. It can be assumed that the entire amount will be used for the pending applications.
For hardship measures – financed by the federal government and the canton – around 60 applications have been submitted so far. Almost half of this comes from the catering industry. More than half of the companies that have submitted an application employ fewer than five people. A quarter of the companies have between five and ten employees. Most of the companies that submit a hardship application have an annual turnover of less than one million francs. The first payments can be made on February 4, 2021 at the earliest – after the referendum period has expired. At the March session, the Cantonal Council could decide on another tranche, as stated in a message.
Support for transport and cultural companies
The Lucerne government is also applying to the Cantonal Council, based on the Federal Passenger Transport Act, for a budget of CHF 900,000 to support particularly hard-hit tourist transport companies such as mountain railways. These are of particular importance for the economic development of tourist regions. In accordance with the aforementioned law, the federal government will make a contribution of CHF 400,000.
The government council has also decided to continue to support Lucerne’s cultural companies with financial means in cooperation with the federal government in order to at least partially cushion the corona-related failures for Lucerne’s cultural companies and cultural workers. He has approved a supplementary credit of 5.4 million francs and will apply for this in the collective message for corona supplementary credits from the Cantonal Council. Based on the Covid-19 Act, the federal government will contribute the same amount, so that a total of 10.8 million francs is available for the cultural institutions.