Measures against Corona virus

The coronavirus can have consequences for your company and your employees. This page provides an overview of the measures that can support your company. We will keep you informed of the latest developments here. We also provide answers to frequently asked questions from entrepreneurs.

Support for entrepreneurs

In connection with the coronavirus, the cabinet took exceptional economic measures. The measures apply in addition to measures taken on Thursday 12 March. Their aim is to protect our health as well as our jobs and incomes. The cabinet also wants to use these measures to cushion the (financial) consequences for self-employed persons, SME entrepreneurs and large companies.

1. Emergency Employment Bridging Fund Temporary Measure
This measure (Dutch: Noodfonds Overbrugging Werkgelegenheid or NOW) is replacing the working hours reduction (Dutch: werktijdverkorting, WTV). The latter is being withdrawn. Employers can use the new scheme to submit a request for a ‘substantial contribution to wage costs’ and they will receive an advance payment for this from the Employee Insurance Administration Agency (Dutch: UWV). This will allow employers to retain staff with both permanent and flexible contracts and to keep paying them. This also covers on-call staff.
If you have already submitted a WTV request, it will be treated henceforth as a request under the new compensation scheme. You do not have to do anything for this and you will be notified appropriately.
Read more.
2. Temporary income support facility for the self-employed
There will be temporary income support for independent businesses with a viable company that is temporarily in a difficult situation. These arrangements also apply for the self-employed. The rules are based on the existing Social Assistance (Self-Employed Persons) Decree (Dutch: Bbz), but it will be dealt with and paid out more quickly. This provision temporarily has flexible conditions because of the special situation in the Netherlands: income support for a living wage, for example, does not have to be repaid at a later date.
Read more.
3. Expansion of the SME Credit Guarantee: BMKB-C
To help business people who are affected by the corona crisis, the rules for the SME Credit Guarantee scheme (Dutch: Borgstelling MKB-kredieten, BMKB) have been relaxed. The amended scheme will be known as the BKMB-C and it will apply from 16 March onwards. The measure lets businesses borrow money from the banks under more favourable conditions e.g. to pay the bills and clear payment arrears.
Read more.
4. Deferral of tax payments
If you have got into difficulties because of the coronavirus crisis, you can ask the Tax and Customs Administration (Dutch: Belastingdienst) for a deferral of payments. This may be for your personal or corporate income tax, turnover tax or payroll tax. Before collection is halted, your application must be submitted in writing stating your reasons; the assessment will only be made later. If you pay your taxes too late during the coming months, the Tax and Customs Administration will not impose fines.
5. Expansion of the Entrepreneur Financing Guarantee Scheme
SMEs and large companies that are having difficulty obtaining bank loans and bank guarantees can make use of the Entrepreneur Financing Guarantee Scheme (Dutch: Garantie Ondernemersfinanciering-regeling, GO). The Cabinet is proposing raising the GO’s guarantee ceiling from 400 million euros to 1.5 billion. Through the GO, the governmental authorities give a 50% guarantee for bank loans and bank guarantees. The maximum per business has been set temporarily at 150 million euros. The Cabinet has ‘undertaken to provide all guarantee space that is required’.
Read more.
6. Interest rebates for small businesses on Qredits microcredits
To accommodate the group of small and starting businesses, the microcredit provider Qredits is offering temporary postponements of repayments for businesses that have run into difficulties because of the coronavirus crisis. These are for instance small businesses in the catering and hospitality sector, the retail trade, personal care, construction and business services. The postponement is for 6 months and the interest for that period is being reduced to 2%. The Cabinet is providing support of up to a maximum of 6 million euros to Qredits for this measure.

Extra measures to keep trade flows going (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland, 6 March)
International trade is also severely affected by the corona virus. Fewer orders are coming in, existing orders are being withdrawn, and production has come to a standstill due to a stagnating supply of parts (for example from China) or protectionism that is rearing its head. This while a third of our national income, many SMEs and some 2.3 million jobs depend on international trade. To keep international trade going as much as possible, the state will expand the options for export credit insurance from 26 March. The measures help prevent companies from experiencing greater payment risks, additional liquidity problems or international projects being forced to stop.

More information about the measures.

International trade is also severely affected by the corona virus. Fewer orders are coming in, existing orders are being withdrawn, and production has come to a standstill due to a stagnating supply of parts (for example from China) or protectionism that is rearing its head. This while a third of our national income, many SMEs and some 2.3 million jobs depend on international trade. To keep international trade going as much as possible, the state will expand the options for export credit insurance from 26 March. The measures help prevent companies from experiencing greater payment risks, additional liquidity problems or international projects being forced to stop.

More information about the measures.

Tourist tax and the cultural sector
In consultation with the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (Dutch: Vereniging Nederlandse Gemeenten, VNG), the Cabinet is discussing the possibility of stopping actual or provisional local charges imposed on businesses and withdrawing charges already imposed on them. This refers in particular to tourist tax. The State is also in consultations with the cultural sector to let it fit in with generic measures and potential special treatment if necessary.

Compensation arrangements for the affected sectors
The Cabinet will come up with a compensation scheme of ‘appropriate measures’ for businesses in sectors that have been particularly hard hit by the government’s health measures. This is referring for example to eating and drinking establishments and the travel sector. For these companies, it will be difficult to recover their position after coronavirus is behind us. These arrangements are currently being worked out in detail and will be presented urgently to the European Commission for assessment of whether this constitutes permissible state aid.

Financial support

There is not enough money coming in as an effect of the corona crisis. You can apply for several emergency measures, depending on your type of business:

Entrepreneurs can request more details about the options available from the Chamber of Commerce Corona Desk.

Entrepreneurs who are affected by the coronavirus and employ staff can apply for the Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment (NOW,Noodfonds Overbrugging Werkgelegenheid). They can also request a postponement of payment for taxes or request a reduction in the provisional tax assessments from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst). Or make use of the extended BMKB scheme (see the questions on BMKB-C). Self-employed professionals can apply for the extended financial benefit for self-employed professionals (Bbz).

This extension measure serves to increase the BMKB loan guarantee from 50% to 75%. Further, the programme can also be used for bridging loans and current account lines of credit with a term of up to 2 years.

In addition:

  • The individual entrepreneur’s personal guarantee is being reduced from 25% to 10%.
  • The credit element for the bank’s risk can be in the form of a new loan, a new current account credit (going overdrawn) or an increase in an existing current account credit.
  • The maximum amount of credit has been set at 1.5 million euros.
  • The repayment method is chosen by the bank. The options are:
    • linear (the same payment every time + interest over the outstanding sum), with an interest-only period if so agreed
    • lump sum, at the end of the term
  • When the BMKB-C is used, the test for a shortfall in security will not be applied.

To help business people who are affected by the corona crisis, the rules for the SME Credit Guarantee scheme (Dutch: Borgstelling MKB-kredieten, BMKB) have been relaxed. The amended scheme will be known as the BKMB-C and it will apply from 16 March onwards. The measure lets businesses borrow money from the banks under more favourable conditions e.g. to pay the bills and clear payment arrears.
Read more.

You do not apply for the scheme directly yourself, but you can ask an accredited financier to make use of it. That is generally your bank. The accredited financiers are listed on the website of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Dutch: Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, RVO). To speed up the procedure, the authorities have made agreements with the banks about the assessment of credit requests. They are therefore able to apply the BMKB-C without the intervention of the RVO.nl.

 

No, this is considered part of an entrepreneur’s risk. The recommendation is to apply for it in case your business is forced to close. You can also take advantage of deferment of tax assessment payment to defer municipal tax payments. 

Under the €4,000 Compensation for affected sectors scheme, the government will award business sectors that have been hit hardest by the mandatory closing until 6 April a one-time compensation of €4,000. Businesses that qualify will be able to apply to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (in Dutch) for the compensation.

The emergency package firstly consists of generic measures with regard to labor costs and liquidity support. In addition to this, there is this emergency package for entrepreneurs directly affected by government measures to combat the corona crisis. Speed is of the utmost importance, which is why a simple design with a fixed amount has been chosen.

Employees

The Emergency Employment Bridging Fund Temporary Measure (NOW) is replacing the working hours reduction scheme (WTV). If you have already submitted a WTV request, it will be treated henceforth as a request under the new compensation arrangements. You do not have to do anything for this and you will be notified appropriately.

It is no longer possible to submit requests for WTV. This scheme has been discontinued because the WTV was not quick enough and was not properly applicable to the exceptional situation created by coronavirus. If you already had a working hours reduction agreement, it will remain valid. If you want to extend it, this will mean stepping over to the new scheme.

Employers can use the new arrangements to submit a request to the Employee Insurance Administration Agency (Dutch: UWV) for a ‘substantial contribution to wage costs’ and they will receive an advance payment for this from the UWV. This will allow employers to retain staff with both permanent and flexible contracts and to keep paying them. This also covers on-call staff. Temporary staffing agencies can ask for a contribution for temporary staff too. The compensation can be requested for 3 months in any event, with the option of extending it by a further 3 months (possibly with different conditions attached).

For more information, please go to the de website of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (Dutch: SZW).

If you have a question that you would prefer to ask by phone, businesses with questions about the Emergency Employment Bridging Fund Temporary Measure (NOW) can also call 0800-2117.

Read more.

Thanks to the Emergency Employment Bridging Fund Temporary Measure (Dutch: NOW), employers can retain staff with both permanent and flexible contracts and keep paying them. This also covers on-call staff. Temporary staffing agencies can ask for a contribution for temporary staff too. The compensation can be requested for 3 months in any event, with the option of extending it by a further 3 months (possibly with different conditions attached).

For more information about the Emergency Employment Bridging Fund Temporary Measure (NOW).

Deferment of payments

National measurement:

  • Deferred payment of tax: this may concern your income tax, corporation tax, VAT and payroll tax. See also local measures.

Local additions:

  • All businesses and self-employed people in Rotterdam will be granted a three-month postponement of payment of the municipal levies (OZB (property tax), waste disposal levy and sewerage levy, advertising and precario tax). This will happen automatically, and you don't have to do anything. All collection processes relating to these levies are also suspended for three months.
  • In line with the government decision, the municipality has also reduced the interest on late payments from 4% to 0.01%.
  • Suspension of BIZ (Business Investment Zone) tax: the imposition of all BIZ assessments for 2020 will be suspended for the time being. More information will follow as soon as this becomes clear.

All taxes imposed by the municipal taxes on a Chamber of Commerce number are exempt for 3 months. This also applies to self-employed persons who work from home.

Other questions

If you are in danger of losing your income, you can apply to your municipality for a temporary extra benefit under the extended financial support for self-employed professionals scheme (Bbz). The terms for application have been relaxed, to speed up the process. Also, the interest rate for loans has been decreased.

Self-employed professionals can also make use of the SME credit guarantee scheme, if their legal business structure is sole proprietor, general partnership (vof) or private limited company (bv).

All restaurants, bars and others in the horeca industry are closed from Sunday, 15 March at 6:00 pm until 6 April. That was announced during the special press conference on the Coronavirus.

Closings apply to all:

  • Restaurants, bars and other establishments that serve food, refreshments and/or drinks (even those where a permit is not required)
  • Catering areas inside a shop (such as a coffee corner in a bookshop)
  • Catering areas in cinemas and theatres
  • Community centres (catering area), playground associations (catering area), Market Hall (catering area)
  • Sex establishments, saunas and massage parlours (with and without a permit)
  • Gaming establishments
  • Markets are to be cancelled for the upcoming two weeks. If you have any questions, please contact the markets department via marktenstz@rotterdam.nl

The following facilities are open (with limited service):

  • ‘To go’ facilities such as the Kiosk at the train station
  • Home delivery / catering
  • Update 18 March 2020: Hotels may serve breakfast, lunch and dinner to their own guests only. The restaurant may open.
  • Update 17 March 2020: Meal pick-up and delivery are still permitted. Avoid crowds, make sure you are not too close to others and take your snack or meal home with you (do not eat it on site). You are not permitted to pick up or deliver bottles of wine.
  • Update 17 March 2020: Coffee shops can remain open for ‘to go’ orders.

Cancel orders where possible and make agreements about payments and payment terms. Contact your suppliers. The Dutch brewers have already informed us that they would like to work with us to find solutions and have stated that they will be flexible.

On 23 March, the government announced further stringent measures to protect the general health. Personal care professionals like hairdressers, beauty and nail salons are urgently requested to close until 6 April. If they decide to remain open in spite of this appeal, they have to take strict measures, like a door policy, to ensure that clients and workers keep at least 6 feet distance from each other, which is impossible in these professions. If they do not adhere to the 6 feet distance rule, they risk a fine of up to €4,000. Personal care entrepreneurs who decide to close until 6 April and experience income loss can apply for the compensation for affected sectors, which will become available soon.

Shops are required to take measures to ensure that people keep their distance, for example through a door policy. This means that customers will have to wait outside more often before they can enter.
If the 1.5 meter distance is not kept, the shops or a fine of up to 4,000 euros or even be closed.

The supermarkets have announced that they need more times to maintain the stock. Supermarkets may therefore also be temporarily supplied at night. This is reported by the Rijnmond Environmental Service, DCMR, which ensures that noise standards are not exceeded during the night hours. The DCMR will not be enforced during this crisis period.

Provisioning supermarkets near homes can be a nuisance. The DCMR asks companies to communicate well with the neighborhood and also to use quiet trucks. If complaints do arise, the DCMR will ask the reporters of the complaints for patience.

As long as street trading on our markets has been shut down, the entrepreneurs concerned will not receive an invoice for market money and electricity. Separate information will soon follow to our market vendors.

Discuss the problem with your lessor or mortgage lender. The government does not provide any options to help. Is it possible to agree to a lower rent? Is there a possibility to freeze rent payments for the period you must close your business? Can you suspend mortgage payments? There are many options available in mutual discussion. However, you are dependent upon the good will of a lessor or mortgage lender, but they may be willing to help.  After all, the lessor or mortgage lender derives no benefit at all from a bankrupt hotel, restaurant or caterer and a vacant business property.

Possible. For example, the government is in discussion with the culture sector, because the consequences of the corona virus are huge there to be. It is discussed which general measures can help the sector and where customization is required for self-employed persons and institutions, subsidized and commercial. In the coming days, the Municipality of Rotterdam will also consider whether and if so which other local measures are needed.

Entrepreneurs in these sectors are among those who are hit hard by the coronavirus crisis: the turnover loss they have is hard, if not impossible, to make up for. That is why the government is proposing to award businesses in these and other sectors affected by the corona crisis with a one-time compensation of €4,000. The terms for this compensation are yet to be announced. Businesses in these sectors are also eligible for the NOW scheme, as soon as it comes into effect, with retroactive effect from 1 March 2020.

Appeal to all entrepreneurs in Rotterdam:

The cabinet requires all shops, hardware stores and other companies where large numbers of customers can enter simultaneously to take measures to ensure that people keep their distance, for example through a door policy. If one is not able to do this, municipalities may close these locations.

We hereby appeal to entrepreneurs to regulate the number of people in their business premises in the interest of public health. All meetings are prohibited until June 1 (instead of April 6), even with fewer than 100 people.

Accelerated claims for maintenance payments

As of 16 March, stricter measures will apply with regard to the coronavirus. Many entrepreneurs and self-employed people are experiencing acute financial problems as a result of these measures. From Wednesday 18 March, the Regionaal Bureau voor Zelfstandigen (RBZ) will therefore be working with an accelerated application procedure for a livelihood allowance. In general, RBZ will primarily focus on financial services for entrepreneurs in distress. This will be in effect until 6 April 2020.

Do you also want to be eligible for the accelerated application procedure for a maintenance allowance? Check the conditions on our separate page. On this page you will find the most up to date information. There, you can translate the page.

The Counter for Entrepreneurs

The Counter for Entrepreneurs (Ondernemersbalie) and the Centre for Entrepreneurs (Ondernemersplein) in Rotterdam are closed until 6 April. You may ask a question by sending an e-mail to the Counter for Entrepreneurs. You may also call them at 14010. Be aware that we currently have longer wait times than usual due to increased activity.

Contacting the Counter for entrepreneurs

email the Counter for entrepreneurs

telephone: 14010

National websites with information for entrepreneurs

Information for employers and employees
The Coronavirus and international business
Centre for Entrepreneurs
Chamber of Commerce Corona Desk

More information

All national information to help you prepare for the risks of the Coronavirus can be found in the Chamber of Commerce digital Centre for Entrepreneurs. Learn about the latest information with measures the municipality is taking on Rotterdam.nl.