While many of us were looking forward to spring, some more company and an easing of measures, the consultation committee on Wednesday provided a reality check regarding the coronapandemic. Today, the figures call for stricter measures, which go into effect immediately on March 27. Will these have an impact on you as an entrepreneur or not, has anything been communicated yet about additional / (re)new(ed) support measures, ... we will try to answer some of your possible questions.
1. Should I close my business?
Once again, non-essential businesses must close with the list of stores, which are allowed to remain open, being the same list as from during the lockdown last November:
- food stores, including night stores
- stores offering personal care and hygiene products
- pet food stores
- newspaper and bookstores
- filling stations and fuel suppliers
- telecom stores, excluding stores that only sell accessories
- medical supply stores
- do-it-yourself stores
- garden centers and tree nurseries
- flower and plant stores
- wholesalers intended for professionals, although they may only serve those professionals
- specialized retail stores for clothing fabrics
- specialized retail outlets selling knitting yarns, crafts and haberdashery
- stores for stationery and paper products
- weekly markets can also continue
If you have any doubts about whether or not your company should close, feel free to contact your sector federation or contact the crisis center.
2. What about telecommuting?
The monitoring of compliance with the mandatory telework requirement is being sensitively stepped up. Companies that flout the measure will be faced with a hefty fine, and in extreme cases even with company closure.
In addition, employers, will have to register those employees for whom teleworking is not possible with the National Social Security Office (NSSO). Thus, a new registration tool will be launched on the NSSO website on which each employer will have to indicate, on a monthly basis, how many people he/she employs and how many staff members cannot telework.
3. Am I also entitled to the double bridging right as a contact appeal or non-essential case?
Any self-employed person who was forced to stop his activity for at least one day within a given month is entitled to the double bridging right.
For hairdressers and other related contact professions, this therefore means that they will be entitled to the double bridging right for both the month of February and March. After all, they are closed for at least one day in both months.
Non-essential stores that will be allowed to operate by appointment only from March 27 can also apply for the double bridging right due to closure from the month of March.
4. Is there already a known date for applying for the globalization premium?
According to the VLAIO website, the Globalization Mechanism will be able to be applied for as of April 1.
The website also mentions that a decision to grant final support will only be possible after the 2020 financial statements have been filed and are available to VLAIO at the National Bank of Belgium.
The scope of this provision is currently unclear. Should companies wait to apply until their financial statements are filed? What about broken financial years ?
We have inquired about this with VLAIO and we will get back to you as soon as we have an answer.
5. Can an installment plan (NSSO/Fiscus) still be obtained?
Both the NSSO and the tax authorities have confirmed that an instalment plan with exemption from possible sanctions can also be obtained for the tax and social security debts (e.g. BV, social security contributions, etc.) resulting from the first and second quarters of 2021. To this end, a substantiated file must be submitted. For example, it is possible to spread the social debts over a repayment plan of 24 months without any increase.
We will continue to follow the support measures closely for you. Entrepreneurship has been a challenge for all of us for some time now, but one that we continue to face together.
If you would like more information, you can always contact us at 051 26 82 68 or by e-mail at email@example.com.