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The Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced today (July 23) a S$1.1 billion support package to help businesses and workers cushion the impact of the new Covid-19 restrictions following the emergence of new clusters.

Singapore has reverted to phase two (heightened alert) since yesterday, with tighter measures in place until August 18 to curb the worsening virus outbreak.

According to MOF, the package will be funded by reallocation arising from one-off underutilisation due to Covid-19, and fiscal resources set aside earlier in the event of extension of support measures.

Support includes enhanced wage subsidies under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and rental relief, more support for drivers of taxis and private-hire vehicles, and a new relief fund for market and hawker centre stallholders.

“In putting together this support package, the Government took into account feedback from workers and businesses, and engaged business and trade association leaders to understand their concerns,” said the ministry in a statement.

1. Enhanced JSS support

JSS support will be bumped up to 60 per cent for the hardest-hit sectors such as food and beverage, gyms, performing arts organisations and arts education centres, from July 22 to August 18.

Meanwhile, support will be increased to 40 per cent for sectors that are significantly affected by the restrictions.

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.

JSS support for these sectors will taper to 10 per cent from August 19 to 31.

2. Rental relief for commercial properties

Tenants of government-owned commercial properties will get an additional four-week rental waiver, and qualifying tenant-occupiers and owner-occupiers of privately-owned commercial properties will get an additional two-week rental relief cash payout under the Rental Support Scheme.

This will offset rent for the full duration of Phase 2(HA) for government-owned commercial properties and for half the duration of heightened measures for privately-owned commercial properties.

More details will be available on the Inland Revenue Authority Singapore (IRAS) website.

Noting that many tenants have said not all landlords were forthcoming with rental support, MOF said it is looking at how to require rental obligations to be shared fairly between the government, landlords and qualifying tenants.

3. Enhanced Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund

To support taxi and private hire car drivers, the government will enhance the Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF) from July 22 to end-September.

Currently, the fund provides eligible drivers with S$10 per vehicle per day for 60 days from July, and S$5 per vehicle per day for the next 30 days.

Under this latest enhancement, eligible drivers will get an additional S$10 per vehicle per day from July 22 to August 31, and an additional S$5 per vehicle per day in September.

4. Support for hawker and market stallholders

A new Market and Hawker Centre Relief Fund will give a one-off S$500 in cash to all individual stallholders of cooked food and market stalls in centres managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or NEA-appointed operators .

This follows the announcement earlier this month of an additional one month of subsidies for fees for table-cleaning and centralised dishwashing services, and one month of rental waivers for these stallholders.

5. Support for other affected workers

To help other workers affected by the tightened measures, the government will also make the temporary Covid-19 Recovery Grant available until August 31.

It provides a payout of up to S$700 for those who were placed on involuntary no-pay leave, and up to S$500 for those who lost at least half of their income for at least one month, due to tightened safe management measures since May 16.

According to MOF, existing grant recipients who continue to need help can apply for a second support payout.

6. Extension of food delivery, e-commerce booster packages

Given the impact of tighter measures on the food and beverage sector, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) will reintroduce the Food Delivery Booster Package to defray part of food delivery costs via food delivery platforms and third-party logistics partners, for transactions made from July 22 to August 18.

For the use of food delivery platforms, ESG will fund five per cent of the commission cost charged. ESG will fund 20 per cent of the delivery costs for food delivery orders through third-party logistics partners.

Grant support will also be given to local retailers to get on-board local e-commerce platforms through the extension of the E-commerce Booster Package, which will now be available until November 16.

Retailers get a one-time 80 per cent support on qualifying costs for service fees charged by platforms such as Lazada, Qoo10 and Shopee, capped at S$8,000.

More details can be found on the ESG website.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)