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Local Algarve businesses angered by slow economic aid measures

90business measures“These measures may, perhaps, adjust well to the needs and requirements of other sectors of activity in the rest of the country, but they do not, of course, satisfy the situation in the Algarve,” said Elidérico Viegas this week. The tourism head spoke to press after a meeting of the Secretary of State for Tourism, Rita Marques, with businessmen and unions in the region, held at the headquarters of Turismo do Algarve, in Faro.

“The Secretary of State came to announce the measures that the Government approved for the country, not specifically for the Algarve, nor for tourism. What was expected was that there could be positive specific measures for the region, much more affected than the rest of the country, given its dependence on a single sector of activity “, stressed the leader of AHETA.

Extraordinary support for the progressive resumption, which will be in effect between August and December, may be requested by companies with a break in revenue equal to or greater than 40% “as of the end of next week”, announced on Monday the Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security.

Moreover, additional support for companies with a break in sales of 75% or more can only be requested in September, but will have ‘retroactive effects’ to August, said the minister. Extraordinary support for the progressive recovery was provided for in the Economic and Social Stabilization Program (PEES) but did not include new additional support for companies with a break in sales equal to or greater than 75%.

The business leader stressed that, as the support measures are only effective up to December and tourism in the region only hopes to resume in April next year, unemployment in the Algarve, “starting in October, will continue to increase exponentially”.

“In the case of the Algarve, there is no progressive recovery, nor is there likely to be. If there is any recovery in activity, it will only occur from Easter next year,” said Elidérico Viegas, who had called for the simplified lay-off for companies to continue through the low season.

The Secretary of State for Tourism said that this package of measures is linked to the Supplementary Budget, but that, in view of the continuous assessment of the situation, the door will not be closed to the possibility of support continuing into 2021.

“We do not want to close the door on anything, being sure that each decision has its ‘timing’. Given that we have a recently approved Supplementary Budget, we want to guarantee support here until the end of the year. We will see how the pandemic also evolves”, stated Rita Marques.

Furthermore, official added that specific support for companies with a break in sales equal to or greater than 75% is directed to the tourism sector. “Although there is no explicit reference to the tourism sector, this measure has the ultimate objective of ensuring jobs in the sector”, guaranteed Rita Marques.

However, the president of AHETA emphasized that, if the support is given due to the break in the billing in the last two months, this will penalize companies in the region, which will have late access to this specific instrument of recovery. “In the months of July and August, although far below what is usual in previous years, [companies] will not have a 75% drop, they will have a lower drop. Besides not serving or adapting the interests of the region, [the measures] can penalize the region in this regard”, he concluded.