Petsas: Gov’t measures cover three in four businesses or freelancers

There is no intention to call for a reduction of salaries or pensions because of the coronavirus pandemic emergency, government spokesman Stelios Petsas told Real FM on Wednesday, adding that the government has made plans to May, at which time the government will reasses the current measures.

Among those measures to help businesses and the self-employed are a three-month grace period for outstanding debts to banks and supplementing incomes lost because of the curfews for coronavirus, he reiterated.

Three in four businesses, professionals and self-employed and eight in ten wage earners have qualified for these protective measures, Petsas explained. He added that the government is providing several financial assistance tools that include the subsidies of interest rates, and a one-billion-euro guarantee by the Ministry of Development & Investments to leverage capital liquidity of businesses in need.

“There is no plan in the government to reduce salaries in the public sector or in pensions,” he asserted. “This is our planning, and it goes to May,” the spokesman noted. “If we see that the repercussions of the coronavirus extend much further, we will have to review our stance,” he noted about the measures.

Over 2,000 doctors and nurses have been placed in jobs already and additional ones will be contracted as needed, he also said in terms of fighting Covid-19 disease. The number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds, meanwhile, have increased in two months by 54 percent to 870 (from 565) and will be further increased with the assistance of the private sector.

Petsas again warned the public not to plan gatherings “in neigbhorhoods and common areas in apartment buildings” to roast a lamb on a spit. “Let’s stay home and take protective measures, roasting the coronavirus this year,” he quipped.


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