Economy & Politics

The capital is trying to save its businesses

Eight weeks since the virus forced traders and restaurateurs to stop. Faced with the difficulties created, the City of Luxembourg has announced that it will take measures to help them recover.

Anne-Sophie DE LA BARRE DE NANTEUIL-BEDEL

Eight weeks since the virus forced traders and restaurateurs to stop. Faced with the difficulties created, the City of Luxembourg has announced that it will take measures to help them recover.

Traders and restaurateurs of the City of Luxembourg will be able to get their heads (a little) out of the water. Faced with the difficulties encountered by the sector, almost at a standstill since March, the municipal council of the capital confirmed Wednesday morning its wish to help them concretely. And this notably involves the cancellation of rents.

As of March, the big cities of the country have indeed given up the rents of the premises belonging to them. A measure confirmed and even extended in the capital. “The rents will remain free until June 1,” said Serge Wilmes (CSV), the city’s first alderman. At least, for signs that have been able to reopen. Coffee makers and restaurants, whose recovery date has not yet been confirmed, will be able to benefit from this measure in the longer term.

335,000 euros offered

In this surge of solidarity, the City of Luxembourg does not intend to stop there. In the process, the town abandons its “terrace tax”, an amount usually owed by establishments that come out of the tables on sunny days.

Measures that will represent a significant shortfall for the capital. The City thus renounces “225,000 euros for around forty commercial areas” confirms Wednesday at Wort the alderman in charge of trade, and this for the closing period spanning from March to June 2020. A sum to which are added the 11,000 euros of terraces for the season, for a total of 335,000 euros.

And to give them visibility, adds Serges Wilmes, a website was created “to group together merchants who were selling online or to take away”.

It therefore now remains only to prime the pump again. To this end, several avenues are being considered, such as vouchers to boost consumption. The capital is studying the issue and is looking for “technical solutions” with the letzshop.lu site. “Customers could buy a voucher on this site that would be valid throughout the city, for all businesses. The City would add a certain percentage to this voucher, for example 10%, ”explains Serge Wilmes. In other words, when buying a voucher of 100 euros, customers would benefit from 110 € in store. Coupons valid in all shops in the capital.

And to revitalize trade, the City intends to make the districts more attractive by installing fairground stands there, while the traditional Schuberfouer will not take place this year.

Finally, direct aid to traders could also be envisaged, in addition to that already provided by the government. The City ensures to work there. “We are currently looking with the Minister of the Interior what would be legal”, specifies the alderman without however specifying the amount of potential aid or the terms of allocation.

At the microphone of RTL radio Monday morning, the president of the Commercial Union of the capital Guill Kaempff nevertheless indicated that no bankruptcy had been reported to date in the city. Before specifying that several stores had however terminated their lease in recent weeks.


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