Coronavirus in Slovenia: Fall in Bookings at Hotels, Calls for Tax Relief & Subsidies for Small Businesses

By , 06 Mar 2020, 16:19 PM Business
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. In this view, the protein particles E, S, and M, also located on the outer surface of the particle, have all been labeled as well. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. In this view, the protein particles E, S, and M, also located on the outer surface of the particle, have all been labeled as well. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). US CDC, public domain

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STA, 6 March 2020 - Certain hotels in Slovenia have been temporarily closed in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the head of the Slovenian hotelier association Gregor Jamnik told the STA on Friday, highlighting that the situation was serious, with hotels recording cancellations and few new bookings on a daily basis.

The situation varies according to individual hotels - spas are less affected than accommodation facilities in Ljubljana, lakeside resort Bled and on the coast, said Jamnik.

Currently, hotels in the capital are detecting a 30% decrease in occupancy rate and an even bigger slump in revenue. So far, there is no detailed information provided for other parts of Slovenia.

Apart from closing doors for the time being, certain hotels have already started slimming down their workforce as well, said Jamnik, adding that the revenue lost to the outbreak would be impossible to offset.

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS) warned today that Slovenian small businesses, including hoteliers, coach companies and pub and restaurant owners, were already feeling the ramifications of the coronavirus spread, urging the government to introduce temporary tax exemptions and sick pay subsidies.

Tourist guides expressed concern over the situation as well, listing cancellations spanning the entire tourist season and a looming threat of complete loss of income.

There are currently seven confirmed cases of infection with the novel coronavirus in Slovenia. The outbreak has taken a heavy toll on Italy, one of Slovenia's key tourist markets. The Foreign Ministry advised today against all travel to northern Italy and against non-urgent travel to other parts of the neighbouring country.

Small business group calls for tax relief and subsidies

STA, 6 March 2020 - Small businesses are already feeling the effects of the novel coronavirus spread, shows a recent survey by the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS) indicating that some 80% of its members experience disruption. The chamber is thus urging the government to introduce temporary tax exemptions and sick pay subsidies.

Among those already seeing a slump in sales and demand are pub and restaurant owners, bus and shuttle companies, and hoteliers.

The survey was conducted between 4 and 6 March and included 233 respondents, who estimate that revenue will be halved in the first half of 2020, said the OZS today, urging tax breaks amid the coronavirus outbreak as well as subsidising paid sick leave for workers on furlough due to the emergency situation.

The OZS proposed additional measures as well, such as allocating funds for keeping companies afloat during the outbreak. "The measures should be adopted as soon as possible since we're already on red alert," said OZS head Branko Meh.

Moreover, OZS pointed to the unenviable situation coach companies have found themselves in since the outbreak, listing cancellations from travel agencies spanning until June and demand dropping by as much as 95%. The chamber highlighted that companies would have to deal with long-term ramifications as well.

The Labour Ministry has already drafted an emergency bill to subsidise pay for workers temporarily sent on furlough. It has announced that it will send the proposal for examination to social partners as early as today so it was ready to be passed should the need arise.

Under the proposal, subsidies would be granted to companies that would be forced to temporarily lay off at least half of their workforce. The workers on furlough for up to three months would get 80% of the average pay for the past three months.

The state would cover 40% of their pay as well as 40% of the pay for the employees under quarantine ordered by the Health Ministry. The remaining 60% would be covered by employers.

The companies claiming subsidies would have to commit to preserve the jobs of the workers on furlough for at least six more months after the start of such temporary lay-offs.

All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia are here

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