The government has endorsed a support measure which contributes towards rent payments for business operators whose retail or service spaces are situated in shopping centers which during the emergency situation. The measure is to open in the next few weeks.
Finance Minister Martin Helme (EKRE) said in a statement on Friday: "Stores in shopping malls have been closed already for one-and-a-half months, their sales have fallen and the relaunch of their business may be difficult. For us it is important that when the restrictions are lifted, companies are able to open their doors again at the earliest opportunity and go on with their business - for this, we are shouldering a portion of their rent payments,"
He said it is important that the shopping mall also must make a discount to the retailer and the retailer themselves must pay a part of the rent. This ensures that the companies going on with their business are viable businesses.
Eligible for the subsidy are retail and service companies active in the shopping malls that were closed due to the emergency situation from March 24 this year.
The one-off, non-refundable subsidy can be applied for via Enterprise Estonia (EAS).
Information about the start of the application round will be published by EAS on its website and e-service environment. The subsidy will be paid out within 10 business days of the decision to grant the subsidy.
Stores will be provided with rent payment aid equaling the reduction in rent by the owner of the rental space but no more than 25 percent of the total rent payment. The minimum amount of the subsidy is €100.
This means that if the owner reduces their tenant's rent by 25 percent, the state will provide an additional 25 percent compensation for that amount, so the tenant only needs to pay 50 percent of their initial rent. It is mandatory for the tenant to pay at least 25 percent of the rent.
In addition, the applicant must not be in such difficulty that it does not meet the conditions for the receipt of state aid or is unable to pay taxes.
Food stores, pharmacies, bank offices, sales points of telecommunications companies, parcel stations and post offices situated in shopping malls are not eligible for support as they remained open during the emergency situation.
Based on information received from the Estonian Traders Association, the estimated maximum expenditure by the state on estimated on the support measure is €4 million a month.
Editor: Helen Wright