City of Utrecht Entrepreneurs and coronavirus
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Many entrepreneurs and self-employed people are seriously affected by the novel coronavirus. We have had extensive contact with business owners in the city; we understand your concerns and continue to look for opportunities to help you in this difficult time.
Financial aid from the municipality
On 17 March, the Cabinet announced the relaxed BBZ scheme: the temporary bridging scheme for independent entrepreneurs (Tozo). The Tozo consists of income support for living expenses and/or a loan for operating capital.
There are 2 types of Tozo:
1. Tozo income support
Tozo income support supplements your income up to the social minimum for 4 months. You can use this money to do your grocery shopping and to pay your fixed costs. This grant is a gift. You do not have to repay it.
2. Tozo business credit
Tozo business credit is a loan for working capital to a maximum of €10,157 with an interest rate of 2%. The maximum term of the loan is 3 years. You do not have to start repayments until 1 January 2021. If you are unable to pay the interest or repayments from this date, you may be able to obtain a postponement based on your individual circumstances (Article 4:94 General Administrative Law Act).
In addition to the government measures, it has been decided that organisers of events which cannot or could not take place as a result of the coronavirus will not have to pay any fees, unless they are insured for these costs or if they plan to reschedule the events for later in the year. We will also not make any charges for the related costs of noise and alcohol dispensations and the rental of municipal land. The organisers of these events will be notified shortly. We are looking into which organisers want to reschedule their events for later in the year, and under what conditions we can cooperate. We are taking into account the capacity of the various municipal and emergency services, but also the people's need to enjoy public spaces again in the future.
Taxes, levies and fees
Generally speaking, the municipality of Utrecht is lenient in the collection of taxes, levies and fees. For more information on the collection of municipal taxes and coronavirus measures, please visit the BghU website.
The municipality is extending the payment term for almost all debtors—e.g. tenants leasing from the municipality—from 30 to 180 days.
The payment period for terrace taxes has also been extended to 180 days. Incidentally, businesses in the hospitality industry will only have to pay tax on terrace space used in 2020, and the tax will only be imposed later in the year.
Entrepreneurs who have had to shut down due to the coronavirus are now not utilising commercial waste collection services. To relieve these companies financially, we are offering the option to suspend commercial waste collection until 1 July 2020 at the latest. The companies concerned in the municipality of Utrecht will receive further information about this goodwill scheme.
Other help from the municipality
Expansion of terraces
Existing terraces in Utrecht may be temporarily expanded until 1 November 2020. This is subject to the applicable national conditions. Hospitality businesses can apply for an expansion at the hospitality service point.
Read more about the expansion of terraces (Dutch only)
Events and coronavirus
Events are allowed to be organised again, subject to additional rules and conditions. For instance, we must ensure that everyone can keep a distance of 1.5 metres to keep the virus under control as much as possible. You need to apply for a permit for an event in a public space. There is a notification obligation for street and neighbourhood parties.
Go to the Coronavirus event rules and conditions page (Dutch only)
Opening hours for the food industry and supermarkets
Many shops and supermarkets in Utrecht are already open from 10.00–22.00 on Sundays and public holidays, as they already have a dispensation. We are also calling on other supermarkets and retailers in the food industry to make use of extended opening hours as much as possible, as this allows the visitor numbers to spread out over the day. Find more information on applying for the dispensation (Dutch only).
Financial aid from the government
The government has taken measures to mitigate the impact of coronavirus for sole traders, SMEs and large companies. The government also wants to protect jobs and incomes.
Tailor-made advice for entrepreneurs in the Utrecht region
If you have a business in the Utrecht region and need personal advice on the future of your company because of coronavirus, you can contact the Utrecht Region Economic Corona Alliance (URECA). The website is in Dutch, but you can ask your question in English.
Register on the URECA online platform (Dutch only)
Sign up for the entrepreneur panel
In these unprecedented times, the municipality would like to know which problems the entrepreneurs of Utrecht face and whether you feel that the municipality is supporting you sufficiently. This knowledge will enable us to improve our policy and service. To that end, we are starting an online entrepreneur panel. Entrepreneurs in Utrecht can sign up for the panel at www.startvragenlijst.nl/ondernemerspanel (Dutch only) . If you take part, you will receive a questionnaire by email 4–6 times a year.