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Greece Keeps COVID-19 Rent Reductions, Business Subsidies Going

Ευρωκίνηση

Empty Streets in Athens amid coronavirus lockdown. (Photo by Eurokinissi)

ATHENS – While a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus is gradually being eased back beginning May 4, the New Democracy government said aid will continue with rent reductions and business subsidies.

The government said there will be a one-month extension of the 40 percent discount on commercial and residential properties for those affected by the pandemic and 1 billion euros ($1.11 billion) in aid to 90,000 businesses, said Kathimerini.

The rent reductions will keep for companies that start operating again May 4 and gradually  over the month, as they will also be considered affected parties, affecting more than 80 percent of rented properties in the country, whether they are residential or commercial, such as offices, shops, hotels, and warehouses.

The rent reductions are likely, the paper said, to go beyond May, at least for those businesses that do not open at all this month, such as shopping malls and year-round hotels, which are scheduled to reopen in early June.

But there's been no plan to provide a property tax exemption for owners of properties receiving less rent, leading them to complain they are helping subsidize the program aimed at helping businesses while leaving them out.

“By no means are we saying that the reduction of rent is not correct or necessary in the current situation. However, we are reacting to the fact that it is being financed exclusively with our own funds, without any support from the state,” Stratos Paradias, President of the federation of property owners (POMIDA) told the paper.

He said that any favorable regulations that came into force in recent weeks for property owners are a “drop in the ocean” and wouldn't help them for now.