Coronavirus News Asia

Hong Kong launches relief measures for businesses


The Hong Kong government on Wednesday launched a HK$137 billion (US$17.67 billion) package of measures to help businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic and save people’s jobs. 

The government will pay 50% of private-sector workers’ salaries for six months, with the monthly subsidy for each worker capped at HK$9,000 – half of the city’s median salary of HK$18,000.

Companies will be reimbursed in two installments, with the first of the money arriving by June. This measure will help make sure 1.5 million workers get their wages, according to the government.

The government will also create 30,000 short-term jobs, covering a 12-month period, and 10,000 more civil servants will be hired across 2020/21.

Also, MTR fares will be cut by 20% for six months, with the government bearing half the losses this will lead to. About one million taxpayers are allowed to defer paying their bills for three months if they wish.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said unprecedented steps were required to tackle what is an unprecedented challenge, with businesses across all sectors affected by the crisis in one way or another.

Beauty and massage parlors

On Wednesday, the government ordered beauty parlors and massage establishments to shut for 14 days from Friday as the transmission chain of Covid-19 had not yet been cut off in the city. 

The government also said various rules to ensure social distancing would be extended until April 23.


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