This week, Switzerland’s federal government decided to increase aid money to Covid hit businesses to CHF 1 billion.
Before this announcement, Bern had already committed to providing CHF 400 million to struggling businesses.
Funding for the first CHF 400 million is split 50-50 between cantonal and federal tax payers. The additional CHF 600 million will be funded 80% out of the federal tax pot and 20% out of cantonal tax revenues. This means in aggregate 68% of the package will be funded from Bern and 32% by the cantons.
To qualify for aid businesses will need to prove they were viable before Covid struck and show that their turnover is now less than 60% of a normal year. Payments will need to be approved by the cantons.
Sectors likely to receive the most support include travel, events and the entertainment sector.
CHF 175 million has been earmarked to support professional and semi-professional sports clubs that agree to stop dividend payments and reign in salaries over CHF 150,000.
A government funded partial unemployment scheme will be extended and broadened to include those on fixed term contracts.
The federal government also said it would amend the law so that fines could be issued to people breaking the rules on mask wearing and other rules designed to slow the spread of the virus.
“We need to be disciplined…for the economy and for all of us ultimately”, said finance minister Ueli Maurer. We can criticise masks, but we must wear them, he said, according to a report by RTS.
The package requires a new law, which is likely to be passed by parliament and come into force on 1 December 2020.