The city of Warsaw is using the Living Lab concept to co-create solutions for the gastronomy sector. With restaurants and bars hit hard by the consequences of the corona pandemic, the local government invites different experts: entrepreneurs, journalists, city officers from different departments. In a pilot project they aim to define the most adapted co-creation method at the municipal level and to tackle the crisis faced by the gastronomy sector. The final solution shall be ready in September.
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has created a summary of the policy responses to the corona pandemic and the plans for recovery. You can download the document here. More information (in Turkish) is available here
Ghent wants to attract conference organisers again after the corona crisis. The city has seen an increasing number of overnight stays of conference tourists in recent years and aims to revitalise that trend with an additional marketing budget of €140,000. Conferences are an important business for Ghent, with visitors spending money in town and acting as ambassadors for Ghent as an attractive destination after their stay. You can read more here
Representatives from Karlsruhe recently spoke online with city partners in India about ongoing smart city initatives. They are especially exchanging on post-COVID19 recovery plans. In addition, the cultural festival ‘India Summer Days’, which celebrates the German-Indian partnership will take place in a digitally adapted version: whether cooking, dance classes or yoga online – the main and most important goal is: celebrating together. Read more here
Madrid City Council has allocated €5 million to strengthen social services with 264 personnel. The Temporary Employment Plan (PET) includes 118 social workers (a 22% increase over the total) and 41 administrative assistants (33% more). PET has a duration of six months, extendable up to three years. In addition, the employment plan approved this week adds 20 vacancies for social services assistant, which have already been filled by new officials. Read more (in Spanish) here.
Helsinki has offered operating support to 5000 entrepreneurs. The support is a lump-sum compensation of €2,000 euros for sole entrepreneurs to cover costs caused by the coronavirus outbreak in the business activities. Around 5,000 entrepreneurs have already received operating support from the city. This means that Helsinki has distributed around €10 million to sole entrepreneurs, to cover damages caused by the coronavirus pandemic. More information here.
A new online platform, officially launched during the lockdown, aims support local businesses through this crisis and beyond, by providing them with a more traditional and local version of Amazon. With 120 businesses already signed up, 200 waiting in the wings, and 20,000 products already available, it has already proved a success. Read more here
Vienna is investing €17 million to help out the more than 16,000 young people currently without a job. The package includes intra-company vocational training, qualification passports, assistance for catching up the missed time and offers to enter into professions in health, care and IT, dedicated to the young generation.
As part of its economic support programme, the city of Frankfurt is promoting local shops with a campaign. Posters, print and online ads are being used to advertise local businesses and restaurants, or to encourage citizens to take advantage of the numerous delivery options. The aim is to get citizens and guests to support the local businesses. You can read more here (in German)
The city of Frankfurt is temporarily allowing larger public spaces to be used by restaurants and bars with existing outdoor seating areas. In addition, outdoor consumption approvals will automatically be extended for two months without additional costs. Restaurants in Frankfurt are allowed to open again after the corona lockdown since 15 May. You can read more here (in German)
Lille Metropole is injecting about 32 millions, in the form of different support systems, into its local economy. The “Rebound Fund” will allocate €20 million to small businesses, such as shopkeepers, craftsman, and farmers, who will have to pledge in favour of their ecological or energy transition to benefit from the fund. A new facility dedicated to small companies or associations with less than ten employees has been created; it will provide loans up to €6.6 million that can be payed back over a 3 to 5 years period. Another €5 million will be managed by a new dedicated local economy department supporting and promoting the metropolis’ local and social economy, as well as the tourism and events sectors. Read the full plan here (in French)
Lille Metropole has announced a €66 million recovery plan to support its local economy, adding to the €14.6 million already pledged at an earlier stage of the crisis. As part of this plan more than €35 million will be invested in the renovation of 3,000 social housing units, more than 3,600 private homes and 600 student residences over the next three years. Renovations will be focused on making the homes more energy efficient. This will create jobs and support the construction sector, as well as favour the transition towards climate neutrality, in line with EU priorities. You can read the plan (in French) here.
With a pact for employment the city of Nice, France, wants to support the economic recovery after the corona pandemic. Mayor Christian Estrosi met with representatives of the state and the local economic community on Friday to launch the initiative. He announced to allocate an additional budget of €3.5 million.
The city council of Madrid lowers taxes to promote the recovery of commerce, leisure, hospitality and culture. The reduction will lead to a drop of more than €66 million in business taxes. The aim is to mitigate the negative economic effects in sectors especially affected by the pandemic. You can read more here (in Spanish)
Cardiff based fintech company Yoello has joined forces with FOR Cardiff to launch a campaign to ‘#BackCardiff’ – offering cash-flow support to Cardiff based hospitality and retail businesses struggling whilst physical distancing restrictions are in place. The goal of the campaign, backed by TheFinTech Wales and Cardiff Council, is to motivate communities to help local businesses increase their cash-flow by purchasing right now to ease the strain that the lockdown has caused. Through the web-app platform, local merchants can create a shop page to sell their products and services during lockdown. You can read more here
Residents of Lithuania can travel around the world by visiting their capital, Vilnius, this summer. While travelling abroad will be limited in this holiday season, communities of the city, tour and event organisers, restaurants, hotels and artists have teamed up to create an exotic experience at home. The project is expected to help businesses that have lost tourist traffic due to the corona restrictions. The programme starts next weekend, 5-7 June, with Italy in Vilnius, followed by India and the USA. You can read more here
With restaurants suffering severely from the impacts of the corona lockdown, the city of Dusseldorf wants to help restaurant owners by giving permissions to enlarge outdoor terraces. That way they can host more guests at the same time whilst applying to safety regulations. You can read more here (in German)
Brno is supporting the areas of business that have been most affected, such as gastronomy and tourism & culture, and has also approved complex measures for businesspeople. It provides easier administration of permits for the outdoor areas of restaurants, and it also suggests that the establishment of these areas should be done at no extra cost to the proprietor.
Paris started to gradually ease confinement on 11 May. Doing so has involved a host of measures, from distributing face masks and increasing testing, to information campaigns, reopening of schools, introduction of new bike lanes, and support measures for businesses, cultural institutions, NGO’s and other organisations that are now opening up. These measures are evolving as the situation progresses – read a full updated overview of these measures in English here, or in French here.
Cities were hit hardest by the corona pandemic – Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence and vice-president of Eurocities, declares a state of social and economic emergency for his city and many others across Europe. In an article published on Euractiv, he argues that cities are key for a sustainable recovery in Europe.
“Cities need direct and rapid access to national and European funding – otherwise we will collapse,” Dario Nardella writes in view of the new EU budget and post COVID-19 recovery fund presented today, Wednesday, by the European Commission. “In exchange, cities have a lot to offer. We can inspire national and European politics to build back better, to create a sustainable recovery.”
The Municipal Fair will soon reopen following the new measures of the municipality’s deconfinement plan, aiming at guaranteeing security, and a pleasant participation to the fair. The plan also includes measures on how to respond to suspicion of contamination cases. Read more here (in Portuguese)
Ghent has put in place measures to guarantee that the reopening of shops was safe for all. Pedestrians have to follow directions like traffic, and on main shopping streets they’ll find ‘waiting spots’ on the pavement in case of queues. A group of 30 ‘warm-hearted shopping street assistants’ are available to answer questions and mediate in case of problems. To make it easy for shoppers to wash their hands often, the city has also installed washbasins, and to encourage the use of bikes, Ghent has added bicycle parking in the area. Read more here
Employees, students, pensioners or artists in Dusseldorf who suffer from substantial financial losses due to the coronavirus can be granted a onetime aid up to €1,000. The money can be used to enable participation, for example via online learning tools or newspaper subscriptions. You can read more here (in German)
The city of Tbilisi, Georgia, has compiled an overview of measures taken in the corona crisis, following the first confirmed case on 26 February: from the disinfection of public places to help for the elderly to support of local businesses. You can download the document here
Vienna has taken an approach of cautious exit and inclusive recovery as the country is slowly going back to ‘normal’. The updated overview highlights measures with regard to a smooth and safe running of city services, from childcare and schools to health and social services, support for the local economy and unemployed citizens and much more. It also contains a survey that shows that the city’s crisis management was positively received by the population. You can download the document here.
Madrid’s ‘Applaud Madrid’ plan will augment the city’s cultural budget, which remains uncut, with at further €7.5 million to avoid the closure of cultural spaces and institutions. Theaters will receive €1.9 million, cinemas €1.2 million, live music venues €1.3 million and theater, dance and circus companies €530,000. These grants will cover the costs of supplies and rent from March to September. All future beneficiaries of these grants must commit themselves not to close these spaces for at least one year after the end of the pandemic.
Vilnius has a plan for recovery, the ‘Vilnius’ Plan 4×3’. The plan includes aid measures focused on aids to: individuals, businesses, and culture. The plan also wants to embrace opportunities, and it lists proposals addressed to the national government that will enable local governments to tackle the effects of the crisis. Culture will be a priority for Vilnius, as the plan allocates around 1 million EUR to the sector. Read more here
Flexible start times at work and school, to avoid crowded busses and trams. Enhanced possibilities for cycling and walking in the city. Outdoor catering on closed roads for restaurants. – These are some of the proposals of Budapest’s mayor Gergely Karácsony for a gradual reopening of the city. According to him, the easing of the lockdown demands new thinking and deliberate decisions in many fields from both the national government and the municipality. You can download the document here
The city council of Madrid is working on conditions to reopen the 5,323 terraces in the Spanish capital as soon as phase 1 of the de-escalation of the corona lockdown allows it. The aim is to make regulations more flexible and to harmonise the interests of hoteliers, shopkeepers and neighbours. The Hotel and Catering Terraces Committee has proposed a set of criteria that will enable the authorised areas to be extended, meeting a triple objective: not eroding the interests of other sectors, not interfering with the movement of pedestrians and at the same time complying with the regulations on universal accessibility. You can read more here (in Spanish)
The city council of Bilbao has approved an action plan worth €15 million, to address the urgent needs resulting from the corona pandemic. More than 50 measures, agreed upon by all political parties, deal with economy and employment, social cohesion and culture. The focus is on people and companies, especially small local businesses, hotels and restaurants, tourism and the cultural and creative sector. You can download an English briefing of the plan here and read more here (in Spanish)
Over 2,500 Small businesses in Nice have benefited from support for rent payments via a scheme of the metropole Nice Côte d’Azur. This measure has just been extended to the tourist accommodation and culture sectors. Read more here
When restaurant in Vienna opened on 15 May, the Vienna city government decided to support Viennese gastronomy with vouchers of €25 and €50 for food and non-alcoholic beverages for every household. In total, Vienna provided €40 million for this campaign. The campaign runs from June to September. 950,000 Viennese households will receive a voucher by mail, which they can redeem at a participating cafés and restaurants. One-person households will receive a €25 voucher, households with more people a voucher worth €50. More information (in German) here.
Guimaraes is reopening food establishments and markets. Terraces will reclaim the public space and establishments that have the licences for terraces will be exempted from paying fees on them. The city will distribute protective equipment to these establishments. More info here (in Spanish)
Under the ‘Pacte per Barcelona’, the Spanish city has gathered more than 200 organisations to fight the impact of the corona pandemic. This and more is described in an updated version of Barcelona’s ‘Lessons learned’. You can download the document here
Guimarães municipality has given exemptions to businesses from fees for the occupation of public space until the end of 2020 and increased areas for the installation of terraces. This is intended to minimize the impact of reducing the capacity of establishments to protect customers from COVID-19. More information (in Portuguese) here.
The programme ‘Frankfurt am Start’ (Frankfurt Ready) of the Frankfurt Economic Development GmbH supports the local business in Frankfurt’s city districts. A website gives useful tips on how local business and restaurants in the respective city districts can be supported. Among other things, citizens can find local business who sell / produce protective face masks. You can view the website (in German) here.
In a bid to bring viability back to the hard hit restaurant sector, the Braga City Council is allowing restaurants and cafes to extend their activities to adjacent streets and squares. By relaxing protocols for the rest of 2020, these establishments have more free reign to install items such as an open terrace, outdoor ice cream machines and awning, while respecting rules for physical distance. Read more here and here
With the platform “Help the Horeca”, catering partners collaborate with online platform Gifty to support catering entrepreneurs during this difficult corona. These coupons help entrepreneurs earn income, even now that they are closed. Consumers can redeem the coupons as soon as the cafes and restaurants in Haarlem open their doors again. Read more here (in Dutch)
To support the restart of the local economy, the city of Nice has introduced the ‘Label Confiance Sanitaire’, a health confidence label. Shops and other businesses can use the label to show that they comply with the health safety rules following the corona pandemic. The label is based on a charter of commitment and shall reassure customers that shopping is safe here. You can read more here (in French)
Created in partnership with the start-up Whishibam, the city of Nice is today launching a virtual trading platform, which will enable registered Nice merchants to easily sell their products and sell off their stock, generate immediate cash flow and benefit from a new showcase throughout the year. The launch of this virtual trade site in Nice complements other measures to support local economic actors and traders. Visit the website here
Braga will allow restaurants, cafes and local commerce to open their services in the streets for the months of summer and until the end of the year. This ‘Open Door’ system for local commerce will allow restaurants, cafes and bars to extend their terraces to the streets and create new ones to expand capacity. This will help businesses to serve more people while maintaining health and security measures and protecting jobs. The local Chamber of Commerce and the movement ‘Urbac’, which brings together restaurants and bars of the city, support the initiative ‘Braga Open Door’. Mayor Rio of Braga has also announced a total exemption of municipal fees and licenses covering the occupation of public spaces for all local businesses. More information (in Portuguese) here.
The city of Reykjavik, Iceland, has compiled a summary of measures taken in the coronavirus crisis. The document describes the different phases in response to the pandemic and how “aggressive testing, tracing and quarantining” has slowed the spreading of the virus. Iceland has introduced a tracing app which has been downloaded by one third of the population. Restrictions are eased since beginning of May. You can download the document here
Barcelona’s report looks back at the actions that have proven most effective in tackling the health crisis, and sheds light on how to approach the economic crisis. The City Council is working on defining a new normal that will allow the full development of the city’s economic, commercial, creative and innovative potential. Read the full report here
Izmir Metropolitan Municipality has launched a volunteer programme for the fruit harvest during the corona pandemic. Due to the curfew it is expected that many seasonal workers will be unable to attend the harvest. Young volunteers can register online and receive a video training. The municipality provides hygiene sets, including masks, gloves and disinfectants, transportation and lunch. Work in the orchards will start on 11 May. The programme is part of Izmir’s support package for the agriculture sector.
The City of Frankfurt am Main supports the local economy by allowing for a moratorium on city taxes and municipal fees such as business tax. Additionally, tenants of municipally owned property are also allowed for a suspension of the rent due to income shortages in light of the corona pandemic. You can read more here (in German)
As one step out of the corona lockdown, the city of Florence is preparing sports trainings in parks, open for all ages and led by certified instructors from sports associations. Participants will have to register in order to control the size of the groups and ensure a safe distance. Other initiatives for ‘phase two’ include the reopening of restaurants and cafés for take-away services. The municipality wants to involve local businesses in virtual dialogues to develop more ideas.
Birmingham City Council is providing £230 million of financial support to approximately 16,000 eligible businesses which have been affected by the crisis. Eligible businesses work in areas such as retail, leisure and hospitality. Nurseries are also included in the financial support scheme. Read more here and here
Barcelona’s city council is creating an initial pot of €25 million to support the city’s economic sectors in their recovery. Additionally; the deadline for paying most municipal taxes has been extended. Read more herehere and here
The Glasgow City Council website is collecting all the Business Support information in one place, with details on the Coronavirus Business Support Fund and sector specific advice. The City Council has already received more than 15,000 applications, and paid more than £26 million to businesses in Glasgow from the Coronavirus Business Support Fund. Glasgow Chamber of Commerce is also supporting businesses with free webinars. Read more here and here
Vilnius is supporting restaurants and cafés by offering city spaces as a gift and encouraging the purchase of vouchers. In response to the problems of restaurants and cafés that have been closed during the quarantine during this season, the Vilnius Municipality is opening all public spaces in the city to outdoor cafés. In addition, the project talonai.lt was launched. It will encourage Vilnius residents to support their favourite restaurants by purchasing their services for the future. These measures are expected to help businesses without which the capital would not feel alive to survive. You can read more here.
Vienna has compiled a summary of measures the city has taken in the coronavirus crisis. They include the areas health and social care, public services, help for the economy, housing and homelessness, arts and culture, communication and citizen engagement as well as a part on ‘life after the crisis’. You can download the document here.
Since outdoor markets have been banned in France, producers have been organizing to continue delivering fresh produce to inhabitants. In Angers, an initiative launched by the city allows residents to buy local produce in shops which are otherwise closed during the lockdown period. Shopkeepers provide market gardeners with a central site to sell their fruit and vegetables for a few hours a week. Over the course of 15 days, more than 600,000 visitors have visited the online platform ‘Adopte ton maraîcher’ (adopt your market gardener). Read more in English here and in French here.
Cardiff Council has now distributed nearly £50m to Cardiff businesses in grant aid as part of the on-going COVID-19 financial rescue package. The city council is contacting business eligible to receive the grants offered in the support package, which covers almost all types of business. Read more here
Ghent’s Public Centre of Social Welfare will be able to pay out additional financial aid to any person who comes into financial difficulties, regardless of his or her status. In addition, 1,000 families received 60 euros in crisis support. The extra money is meant to absorb additional costs families are facing because the children do not go to school. The city also has organised specific funds to purchase food, material aid, and protective equipment. Read more here
The city council designated 100 officers to process and deliver grants offered to business owners, which compound a total of £20m. This endeavour is set to help the local economy and those in need are still encouraged to apply. Read more here
Responsible and sustainable tourism remains a priority on the economic response to the pandemic, key actors and the city council agreed. Actions to tackle priority areas will be established in coordination with stakeholders, while the long-term strategy remains crucial for the local economy. New roundtable with the economic agents to define specific measures in the coming weeks. Read more here
The Economic Response Coordination Center of the city, headed by the first Deputy Mayor, is leading the way on the economic reaction to the crisis. Divided into budget and reactivation measures, this division will allow for a better understanding of the city’s situation and a enhance the decision-making process. 25 million euros support package and taxes deferral are the first measures put in place by Barcelona’s city council. Read more here
Grenoble is working to support local economic actors with measures including:
the collection of tourist tax and road taxes is suspended
exemptions will also be proposed to support cafés and restaurants in particular and all local shops affected by the closure measures
In addition, shops located within metropolitan area will be able to benefit from the suspension of their rents and from exemptions if necessary
the Métropole will maintain its support for event organisers despite their cancellation when expenses have been incurred
corporate cash flow: No penalties for late payment in connection with public contracts.
The Metropole is also in contact with all its partners, particularly the state and the consular chambers, in order to propose a simple and accessible system for companies experiencing difficulties and to provide them with appropriate solutions. Strong measures to stimulate economic activity will also be proposed to the Metropolitan Council when the time comes.
Antwerp launched a call for start-ups that could develop innovative digital solutions to the problems of the corona crisis. The eight winners received between 20,000 and 55,000 euro, as well as substantive support that was extended to 18 further projects.
Lublin is supporting foreign residents by making practical information available, looking out for underage non-national students, and centralising services. Measures include:
A website in English https://lublin.eu/en/and Ukrainian (largest migrant community) https://lublin.eu/ua/ with the latest updates on the situation in Poland and Lubelskie, as well as current regulations or restrictions in forceand links to social assistance, education, culture and sports, NGOs working for foreigners, and so on. More information here;
A hashtag, #stayathome, linked to an English-language database to offer services given by local businesses to Lublin residents more easily during Covid-19. More information here.
And special attention to underage foreign students. More information here.
Lublin is also sharing its experiences related to the functioning of local government during pandemic with partner cities and a wider spectrum of municipalities in Ukraine.
Florence is using a digital approach to adjusting to the covid landscape.
The city has organised the following initiatives:
Web Portal for the promotion of open and home delivery shops – www.lebotteghedifirenze.it – more than 500 shops registered since lockdown
Asking for an economic contribution in tickets to buy food for people having businesses affected by the lockdown www.firenzebuonispesa.it – more than 5,000 inquiries in three days, more than €2 million in contributions offered to affected residents
Use of 2100 public WiFi hotspots for monitoring presences in outdoor squares and parks during lockdown
Use of traffic sensors for monitoring vehicles flow during lockdown
Use of GIS data and open data to optimise house-by-house delivery to citizens of protective masks.
Groningen has started a fund of of €250,000 to finance innovative entrepreneurial COVID-19 related initiatives, the Corona Innovation Fund. Ideas are themed around multi-partner SME support, fast implementation and retention of employment, and approval happens within one week.
The first awardee is Warenhuis Groningen (Department Store Groningen), a digital platform that makes the physical product lines of local shops available online. Customers can order like they are used to, and the products are then delivered to their homes by bike transport. The City of Groningen pays for the delivery. Already over 120 local physical shops are participating. Furthermore, to boost the revenues, the city board has given its own employees a voucher for € 10 to spend in this online but nevertheless local shopping street. See the winning site (in Dutch) here.
Find creative digital solutions for the problems caused by the spread of COVID-19 – that was the challenge in a hackathon organised by the RISE Center for Excellence in Research and Innovation, coordinated by the municipality of Nicosia, and HackCyprus. 198 people participated in the competition in the beginning of April 2020. 15 projects around the themes ‘Save Lives, ‘Save Communities’, ‘Save Businesses’ and ‘Save Mental Well-Being’ made it into the final report. The ideas reach from a 3D game to enjoy everyday life under corona, including dancing and drinks, over a crowdfunding platform for local businesses to an app for digital healthcare, so doctors can take care of their patients who are at home. Read more here and download the report with the projects.
“Solidarity in Culture” is the name of a new programme of Sofia Municipality to provide financial support for artists and cultural spaces in the Bulgarian capital. Independent artists can receive 1,000 BGN (€500) funding to implement and present online projects during May and June. Teams managing private cultural spaces can receive support of up to €5,000. A total of €200,000 will be provided to support independent artists and cultural operators. You can find more information here (in Bulgarian)
Düsseldorf has launched an online portal with collected information on local support services and businesses. One can find information on which shops and restaurants offer delivery service, as well as information on culture, sports, e-learning, tips for families etc. Citizens may find it easier to support local businesses and to gather information on the different free services that are being provided. Read more (in German) here.
Lyon Métropole has launched a distribution tool for the 350 farms on the territory. With food markets closed, agriculture producers have been mapped and offer their products via digital platforms. Customers receive the food at grocery stores nearby. Thus, citizens can support the local producers while having a healthy diet. You can read more about this and other initiatives in the city overview.
More than 10,000 small businesses in communities across Edinburgh are set to receive rates relief and emergency cash grants over the coming weeks. Through a coordinated financial package in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Edinburgh’s city council is releasing tens of millions of pounds from the Government’s Coronavirus Business Support Fund. Worth £10,000 and £25,000, these grants shall help successful applicants stay in business and protect local jobs. The council promises to process applications within 10 working days. Read more here
Small and medium enterprises and local shops in buildings owned by the Osmangazi Municipality can pay their rent later. The city council has decided to defer its receivables from its approximately 800 renters that pay their rents or occupancy taxes monthly. This decision, combined with other economic measures put in place by the local authorities, aims to relief the struggle entrepreneurs and businesses are going through in the corona crisis. Read more here (in Turkish)
Cities will need national and European help for the recovery of their local economy after corona. Tackling the crisis requires a “multi-level effort”, says Juan Mari Aburto, mayor of Bilbao, in an interview with CityMetric. The article also reports on the plans of cities like Tirana, Poznan and Braga. Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence, is quoted: “Without a firm – and united – European strategy based on a united EU policy aiming to a real shared effort to restart the economy, all cities will be facing a dramatic crisis in just a few months.” You can read the article here
The seven biggest cities in Spain are asking the national government for permission to spend more resources on economic and social measures. In a joint declaration, the cities call for amendments of the Stability Act to allow for accumulated carryovers from previous fiscal years without limitations. They also ask for a relaxation of the criteria for budgetary stabilisation and the spending rule to increase public spending. You can read more here (in Spanish)
To support small shops and revive the local economy after the corona restrictions, the city of Zaragoza has launched the initiative ‘Volveremos si tú vuelves’, ‘We’ll be back when you are back’: on the online platform www.volveremossituvuelves.com, customers can buy vouchers from shops in their neighbourhood that are closed under the confinement and use them when things are back to normal. Following the example of Madrid, the initiative has already more than hundred participants in Zaragoza. You can read more here (in Spanish)
The Italian city of Genova has compiled a summary of the city’s measures in response to the corona pandemic. The presentation describes a stepwise approach to care for people, jobs and services first, while preparing for reboot and resilient and sustainable growth after the crisis. You can download the document here
In Zagreb, where the coronavirus pandemic has been further exacerbated by an earthquake, the city is providing several kinds of financial relief for people and businesses. For retirees the obligation to settle utility bills under the jurisdiction of the City of Zagreb and companies owned by the City of Zagreb is extended by three months from the due date indicated on the payment slips, and in the default deadline will not accrue interest on arrears or trigger penalties for arrears.
The city has also allowed a release of payment and deduction of the fixed amount for the period from 1 April to 30 June 2020 with the possibility of extension, for the following groups:
The city has set up a new company named ‘Stolz auf Wien’ (Proud of Vienna) that will temporarily invest in local companies, which are at risk due to the crisis. The municipality, the Economic Chamber of Vienna, as well as private partners have contributed to collect 50 million euros that the company will be able to allocate. The company is due to start its work in May and the selection process for beneficiaries will be organised in an expert board. Read more here (in German)
In light of the economic damage as result of the corona pandemic, the mayor of the Italian city of Florence, Dario Nardella, calls for a united Europe. Florence has more than 1,000 positive cases of corona. “The city is very committed to helping the elderly population, to building quarantine structures and, through a €2 million fund, to help families purchasing food“, Dario Nardella says. “The situation is very difficult, which is why Europe is needed now more than ever. Europe must be united, allow member countries to resort to debt, and issue corona-bonds to have cash flows and allow all cities to start again when the crisis will be over.“ The EU member states are talking about financial aid at a video meeting of the finance ministers this Thursday.
The European Commission has published a summary of policy measures taken against the spread and the impact of the coronavirus. The 50 pages document lists initiatives with economic and financial relevance in the member states, including regional and city level. You can download the document here
Artists and cultural workers in the Italian region of Marche can get support via a temporary information desk that has been set up by the regional association Consorzio Marche Spettacolo. The city of Pesaro with deputy mayor Daniele Vimini, also president of the consortium, points out that local artists are experiencing tough days in the corona crisis, with culture being one of the most fragile sectors. The information desk, which can per reached by email, shall help cultural workers to get the support and assistance that the government is providing.
To build up the city’s economy after the corona crisis, Amsterdam wants to use the ‘doughnut model’, developed by Oxford economist Kate Raworth. The principle: the goal of economic activity should be about meeting the core needs of all people, but within the means of the planet. “I think it can help us overcome the effects of the crisis”, Amsterdam’s deputy mayor, Marieke van Doorninck, told the British ‘Guardian’. “It might look strange that we are talking about the period after that, but as a government we have to. It is to help us to not fall back on easy mechanisms.” The model shall be formally embraced by the municipality of Amsterdam as the starting point for public policy decisions this Wednesday. You can read more here.
Local companies in Gijón can pay rents and loans to the municapilty later. The city council has suspended, for the next three months, the payment of loans granted by the municipal company Gijón Impulsa as well as the payment of the rental and services provided to the companies located in municipal buildings. For providers of services and works to the council, invoices are paid weekly now. You can read more here (in Spanish)
With a package of short- and long-term measures, the city of Ghent is tackling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. A budget of 25 million euro is designated to help the most vulnerable people, economy and civil society. A ‘Relaunch Taskforce’ shall also see how to revive the city after the crisis by, among others, supporting the tourism sector. You can read more here
Cardiff based Life Sciences Hub Wales is working with businesses from a range of industries, including manufacturing, food and drink, IT and healthcare to explore how they can scale up production, repurpose existing products and deploy their expertise and capabilities to deal with the crisis. Read more here
Zaragoza is offering free courses on electronic commerce aimed at the SMEs in the city in order to adapt their businesses to the new situation. Four courses are available online: Digital Marketing, Advertising on Internet, Web Analytics, Social Networks in retail. Read more (in Spanish) here.
The city of Gothenburg has through Business Region Gothenburg enhanced its support towards SMEs. Staff resources have been bundled (‘Business Pilot Extra’) to proactively reach out to SMEs and guide them through all the aid packages provided by the state. Read more (in Swedish) here.
The City of Edinburgh Council has approved the immediate release of £4.69m (€5.32m) of cultural grant funding to support the cultural and creative sector in the city. The Cultural Grant Funding the Council provides annually is to be repurposed to support cultural organisations during Covid-19. Among others, this will support the Edinburgh Festivals, five of which have recently announced cancellation, as well as offer support to the wider cultural community. Grant funding has been specifically allocated to support the Council’s work on Diversity and Inclusion, providing support to BAME artists and cultural organisations in Edinburgh during COVID-19. read more here
Stuttgart has published a summary of measures that it has taken to ensure those who are not able to work or who have childcare complications can be reimbursed. Other measures include the deferral of several municipal taxes, such as trade tax and rents, and grants are made available for culture and sports venues. For those that are simply unable to work as a result of the current measures, access to unemployment services have also been eased. Read more here and here and here
Vienna has compiled a summary of measures the city has taken in the coronavirus crisis. They include the areas health and social care, public services, help for the economy, housing and homelessness, arts and culture, communication and citizen engagement as well as a part on ‘life after the crisis’. You can download the document here
£20m has been distributed to Cardiff businesses in grant aid by Cardiff Council in the past week as part of a COVID-19 rescue package. Some 1,300 companies applied for the aid, which is being administered by the Council in Cardiff on behalf of Welsh Government. It follows the Welsh Government’s announcement last week of a £1.9bn support package for businesses in Wales to help them survive during the outbreak. Read more here
The city of Amsterdam has announced a 50 million emergency fund to take necessary measures during the Corona crisis. With this fund the city can provide things like laptops to children who lack these facilities at home and free parking licenses for health professionals. In the coming weeks more actions will be announced. Read more here
Antalya Muratpaşa Municipality has started to produce face shields with 3D printers. 3D printing has allowed the municipality to produce 2,150 visors within three days, which have been distributed to professionals at risk, especially those working in hospitals. Read more (in Turkish) here.
The municipality is also working on many other hygiene measures, including disinfecting public areas, markets, service buildings and cultural locations such as Hadrian’s Gate. Read more (in Turkish) here. Ozone rooms for disinfecting people who enter the main municipal building have also been set up. Read more (in Turkish) here.
Tallinn has implemented a number of measures to support local entrepreneurs and businesses. The aid measures are primarily targeted at businesses that have a contractual relationship with the city or have a big impact on the city’s activities.
The city will pay its bills faster, reducing its own payment deadline from 21-30 calendar days to just 10 calendar days to improve the cash flow of the companies. The city will also waive contractual sanctions in the event of difficulties that occur due to the ongoing emergency situation when fulfilling an order or delivery. Tallinn has reduced advertising tax by 50%, and exempted advertisements on the sides of buildings from paying rent. The city is also reducing rent for contractors and cancelling rent from sports venues, while continuing to pay subsidies for sports activities if the clubs can find a way to bring those activities online.
These measures are planned to last for three months or until the end of the year depending on the specific measure. These measures will have an effect on the budget and the local government is preparing a supplementary budget to take this into account. The impact of the business support package on the city budget may be up to €4 million.
In order to tackle the economic problems coming with the COVID-19 crisis, Sofia has set up a temporary economic council to elaborate measures to support local businesses. The proposed ideas include suspension and exemption of local taxes, municipal bank guarantees for small and medium enterprises for up to 50% of the loan, introduction of new e-services and free parking zones. The measures will be proposed to the municipal council for approval. An analytical report entitled “Assessment of COVID-19 effect on Sofia economy” outlining the three most likely scenarios was published. You can download the report here (in Bulgarian)
To ensure that basic public services are functioning even in the crisis, Lille Metropole has initiated its Business Continuity Plan. Services in the areas of mobility, water, energy, waste collection, youth grants, housing grants and public support to companies are handled by 500 agents, out of a total of 3,000 employees, from 18 departments. Since 17 March, after a total lockdown in France was announced, they are working in three teams, with 200 agents permanently on the ground and two standby teams. The plan had been drafted after the swine flu pandemic in 2009. Updates are made available online twice a week (in French).
Bamberg is preventing staff shortages in essential industries. Companies can report their HR needs to the employment agency. These vacancies are then published for job seekers to contact those companies directly. Read more (in German) here.
Debrecen has created a financial aid fund to support those in need. Roughly €60,000 has been provided by the city’s budget. This sum was then augmented by tens of thousand euro by the mayor, companies and private individuals. Read more (in Hungarian) here.
The municipality has also set up an information center to support those in need with three dedicated phone lines. Read more (in Hungarian) here.