Vantaa exempts businesses from rent

During the past coronavirus month, the City of Vantaa has taken more than a hundred measures that support Vantaa residents and the city in coping under these exceptional circumstances. On Thursday, April 16, the city decided to continue to financially support businesses.

– Businesses are challenged by a serious situation. Already more than 200,000 employees (in companies employing more than 20 people) in Uusimaa are within the lay-off procedure. Increased unemployment is inevitable, and businesses will become bankrupt. Many businesses’ cash-flow has already dried out, so we must help these businesses to survive the following months, says mayor Ritva Viljanen.

Rent compensations for businesses and communities

Vantaa has been waiting for government guidelines on rent compensations for entrepreneurs. Since no decisions on sufficient support measures have been made, Vantaa decided on rent relief for businesses and communities on April 16th. As regards business premises leased by the city and rents for land, businesses and communities will be granted rent exemption for April 1 - May 31, 2020.

The precondition for exemption is, among other things, that the business or its field is restricted by a decision by authorities or that the restriction and its impact are significant.
When assessing rent exemption for communities, the operating grants paid by the city in 2019 - 2020 will be accounted for.

Businesses whose operations are suspended—such as restaurants and cafés—will automatically receive a two-month rent exemption. Organizations that are the city’s leaseholders and businesses that have rented a lot from the city may apply for rent compensation. The application shall list the impacts that the coronavirus epidemic has had on the business.

Vantaa recommends that its subsidiaries apply the same procedure.

Vantaa begins reception and handling of self-employed entrepreneurs’ support applications this week. Other entrepreneurs will be given instructions for and advice on applying for state corporate assistance. The one-stop service is provided by Vantaa DropIn, implemented in cooperation with Finnvera plc, Business Finland and Vantaa.

Early support decisions and websites inform about tourism industry operators’ products and services under exceptional circumstances with themes #supportlocals #tueyrittäjää. A new online store was opened in cooperation with business organizations.

Vantaa has also decided to fully remunerate rents of its premises when the leaseholders’ access to the premises has been blocked by the city's closing of the property. Rents of city-leased separate business premises and of businesses operating on the city’s lots can be suspended for at max. three months on request and for justified grounds. These guidelines apply to the entire group.

To ensure equal treatment, early childhood education’s customer fees will fully remunerate all the children’s absences regardless of the reason for the absences for the duration of the Emergency Powers Act. As regards children with a service voucher, the service providers will be compensated based on the number of days children have been absent, notified by the service providers.

Before and after-school activities’ customer fees will not be charged for the children's absences, and the City of Vantaa will compensate the service provides for their customer-fee losses based on the realized costs.

Vantaa’s coronavirus situation on April 16, 2020

Vantaa’s coronavirus situation remains well contained. By April 15, 252 coronavirus infections were verified in Vantaa.

The situation regarding hospital beds is also good. Reserve hospitals are ready to be taken into use. Nevertheless, availability of protective gear remains challenging.

What gives cause for alarm is young persons’ disregard for restrictions: groups of more than 10 people have assembled in malls, schools and sports facilities.
Airport traffic has slowed down, and reception of people entering the country was last week transferred from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health to the City of Vantaa. Last week 1,595 symptom surveys and 30 samples were taken, and 24 people were quarantined. Transportation was arranged for 17 people. Quarantine accommodation at the city’s rental accommodation has been continued.

This week 552 passengers on return flights from Spain were checked; seven of them were referred to testing and transportation. On Thursday, April 16, around 350 passengers arrived and on Friday around 750.

Schoolchildren have been given lunch packages as of April 2, 2020. On the first day, the lunch packages ran out in a few distribution points. The city has significantly increased the number of portions to be distributed. On April 14, more than 5,000 lunch packages were distributed; nobody was left out.

Some abuses have been noticed in the lunch-package practice. In the future, the person fetching the lunch package must have the child's KELA card with him/her. Vantaa will also inquire guardians through Wilma about the need for lunch packages to ensure the sufficiency and real need for them.

Support for Vantaa residents’ coping

Exhaustion with the coronavirus epidemic can be seen everywhere to an increasing extent. Vantaa's emergency situation management group has addressed the need for psychosocial support and increasing the support during the coronavirus epidemic. The epidemic’s negative byproducts are seen in, for instance, increased use of intoxicants, domestic violence, and general insecurity. The impacts of the epidemic will continue far in the future. Vantaa is preparing an action program for psychosocial support.

The city has taken active measures to reduce the negative impacts. Vantaa has recognized the need to coordinate on city level psychosocial support services for different customer segments. An individual workgroup has been set up for this task.

The city has increased and formatted services on the basis of changing requirements. The city has also retained the possibility of face-to-face encounters.

The need for psychosocial support will increase in the future. The present situation is challenging also those families and people that previously had no major problems. Of special concern are the people that remain outside services and communication; such as the young with whom contact-making has failed.

Published: 17.4.2020 
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