On 23 July 2021, the government announced a supplementary $1.1 billion support package for businesses to tide through Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) “part 3”. This tightened measure will last from 22 July to 18 August 2021.
This is a timely announcement given the recent start-stop nature of Singapore’s re-opening since May 2021. Coupled with the fact that government support has been significantly lower than in 2020, the haphazard nature of easing and tightening measures introduced and just no end in sight to COVID-19, many more businesses have been throwing in the towel in 2021. In a recent article we wrote, we found that despite overcoming the worst of COVID-19 more businesses are closing down this year compared to 2020.
There’s some respite now, with new and extended schemes provided to businesses and individuals. Here’s a summary of the schemes provided under this latest support package.
#1 Enhanced Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) Payouts
The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) has been the default support package the government has been extending as and when it decides to tighten safe management measures. So, it comes as no surprise to see the JSS being enhanced once again. This will be up to 31 August 2021.
The most affected businesses such as food & beverage (F&B) businesses, gyms, fitness studios, performing arts organisations and arts education centres will be enhanced to 60% until 18 August 2021. Other significantly affected businesses will also receive 40% JSS payouts until 18 August 2021 – these include the retail sector, affected personal care services, tourist attractions, licensed hotels, cruise and regional ferry operators, MICE organisers, travel agents, museums, art galleries, cinema operators and other family entertainment centres. This will then taper to 10% from 19 August to 31 August 2021.
#2 Rental Relief For Commercial Properties (Under the Rental Support Scheme)
An additional 4 weeks of rental relief will be provided to qualifying tenants on government-owned commercial properties, and an additional 2 weeks rental relief cash payouts for qualifying tenant-occupiers and owner-occupiers of privately-owned commercial properties under the Rental Support Scheme.
This is meant to offset rent for the full duration of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) for government-owned commercial properties, and half the duration for privately-owned commercial properties.
In their announcement, the government also encouraged landlords to provide rental support to affected businesses during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert). It goes on to say that they are looking to require landlords to share some rental obligations.
#3 Enhanced COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF)
Besides the “affected businesses” taxi and private hire car drivers will also see significantly reduced demand for travel during this period.
The government will enhance the CDRF from 22 July to end-September 2021. Currently, the CDRF already provides drivers with $10/vehicle/day for 60 days from July 2021, and $5/vehicle/day for the next 30 days.
The government will enhance this to provide an additional $10/vehicle/day from 22 July to 31 August 2021, and an additional $5/vehicle/day in September 2021.
#4 New Market and Hawker Centre Relief Fund
On 16 July, the government announced that subsidies and rental waivers for table-cleaning and centralised dishwashing services, as well as for stallholders in hawker centres and markets managed by the NEA or NEA-appointed vendors.
A new Market and Hawker Centre Relief Fund will replace this scheme. All individual stallholders of cooked food and market stalls in centres managed by NEA or NEA-appointed operators will receive a one-off cash assistance of $500 per stallholder. More details will be provided in the future.
#5 Enhanced COVID-19 Recovery Grant-Temporary (CRG-T)
On top of the CRG scheme, the CRG-T provided an additional one-off $500 payout previously. This was for both affected employees and self-employed individuals.
Now, the latest enhancement to the CRG-T will provide a further up to $700 payout. While the announcement doesn’t say that self-employed individuals will be covered – we should expect the same conditions.
#6 Food Delivery Booster Package + E-Commerce Booster Package
#7 Credit Support To Remain
While no specific support was listed in the latest announcement, it does state that cashflow assistance to borrowers affected by phase 2 (Heightened Alert) will continue. Furthermore, it also mentions that lenders will offer further relief and restructuring options for borrowers based on their specific circumstances.
We can assume that these are the government-assisted loans, Temporary Bridging Loan, SME Working Capital Loan, and others.