$640m in support measures for sectors hit by extension of Covid-19 rules

SINGAPORE – A $640 million package of support measures will be extended to individuals and businesses affected by the one-month extension of tighter measures under the stabilisation phase.

These sectors include food and beverage (F&B), retail, cinemas, museums, art galleries, historical sites, family entertainment, tourism, gyms and fitness studios, and performing arts and arts education.

In a statement on Wednesday (Oct 20), the Health Ministry said the Government will offer 25 per cent wage support under the extended Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) for sectors that are significantly affected by the continuing tightened measures, which will remain in place at least until Nov 21.

There will also be a half-month rental waiver given to qualifying tenants of Government-owned commercial properties.

Qualifying tenant-occupiers and owner-occupiers of privately-owned commercial properties will also be given a half-month rental relief cash payout under the Rental Support Scheme (RSS).

More details on the RSS will be made available on the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) website.

Cooked food and market stallholders in food centres managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or NEA-appointed operators will also receive a half-month rental waiver.

The Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund will also be extended to support taxi and private hire car drivers. They will receive a $10 payout per vehicle per day in November, and a $5 payout per vehicle per day in December.

The package of support measures will be funded from higher-than-expected revenues collected to date, and there will be no further draw on Singapore’s past reserves, the MOH said.

 Speaking during a press conference by the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong sought the public’s understanding on the need to extend the stabilisation phase, given that hospital isolation beds are still at close-to-full occupancy. About two-thirds of Singapore’s 200 ICU beds in public hospitals are also being used by Covid-19 patients.

“We know this is a difficult time for everyone in many ways. I would say this is probably the most difficult phase in our journey through Covid-19 so far,” said Mr Wong, who co-chairs the task force.

He said the stabilisation phase and tightened measures will not last indefinitely, and that the wave of infections will peak at some point.

With more people getting exposed to the virus, and more getting booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine in the coming weeks, Singapore will have better immunity, he said.

“Let’s continue to have faith that the situation will get better. In the meantime, (we) seek everyone’s understanding of why we need the measures that we have today.”

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