BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe’s biggest economy will be dealing with the coronavirus crisis and its consequences for months and can only in 2022 expect to again reach output levels seen before the pandemic, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Thursday.
To mitigate the impact of a month-long partial lockdown in November, which includes the closure of bars and restaurants, the government is offering targeted financial aid to those hit hardest, especially small businesses.
Under a 10-billion-euro ($11.82 billion) aid package, firms with up to 50 employees will receive 75% of their year-earlier revenues for the month of November.
“This can help cushion the economic consequences as much as possible,” Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told reporters, adding funding for this was covered in the existing budget so he would not have to ask parliament for more money.
In addition, self-employed workers, such as artists and stage hands, will get access to emergency loans, and the government will expand a liquidity programme to give small firms with fewer than 10 employees access to very cheap loans.
However, at their joint news conference, the two ministers revealed no new measures beyond those outlined on Wednesday.
Altmaier said the new restrictions would have an impact on the economy but that growth in the third quarter had picked up more quickly than expected.
“(The economy) is so strong that we can avoid sliding into a long period of recession,” said Altmaier, adding Germany was not experiencing an industrial collapse as it did in the initial phase of the pandemic.
The government has already introduced a wide range of rescue and stimulus measures which supported a recovery in the summer after the economy plunged by nearly 10% in the second quarter.
Preliminary third-quarter gross domestic product figures are due on Friday.
(Reporting by Thomas Escritt, Thomas Seythal, Madeline Chambers)