Support and services for businesses
The City of Helsinki is actively seeking solutions to help the many businesses that find themselves in dire financial circumstances due to the covid-19 coronavirus.
Helsinki updates event planner guidelines for coronavirus era
Municipal authorities and service providers from the City of Helsinki have drawn up new supplementary guidelines for event planners to limit the spread of the covid-19 coronavirus at public events. Organisers of the annual football tournament Helsinki Cup and the Suvilahti Summer festival contributed to the process. The new guidelines assist event planners to prevent the spread of covid-19, and in this way ensure that event participants will have a safe experience.
Streamlined permit processing
Helsinki decided earlier this spring to waive rental fees on outdoor restaurant terraces for the months of April and May, and this same exemption has now been extended to June. In addition, the city will streamline its permit process in the restaurant sector and make it easier to build terrace extensions.
Encouraging temporary business endeavours
The city will allow temporary business, sports and cultural activities to take place in popular public areas, such as squares, marketplaces, parks and beaches. Temporary business activities will also be allowed from boats and piers that are not in use by water transport companies.
- Helsinki plans summer hotspot in Senate Square to boost service sector
- Historic market halls resume operations
Self-employed welcome to apply for 2,000-euro state grant
On 20 April, the City of Helsinki started taking applications from sole traders based in Helsinki seeking operating support to cover financial losses resulting from the coronavirus crisis. Municipalities across Finland are charged with distributing the one-time payment of 2,000 euros to one-person businesses for the period 16 March-31 August 2020. Eligible business owners are encouraged to apply for the state grant via the City of Helsinki's e-services portal. Find more information at the website of the City of Helsinki's business advisory service NewCo Helsinki.
Around 5,000 Helsinki-based sole entrepreneurs have received operating support due to coronavirus
City of Helsinki started on 20 April accepting applications for the operating support for sole entrepreneurs. The support is a lump-sum compensation of 2,000 euros for sole entrepreneurs to cover costs caused by the coronavirus outbreak in the business activities. Around 5,000 entrepreneurs have already received operating support from the City. This means that Helsinki has distributed around 10 million euros to sole entrepreneurs, to cover damages caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The City of Helsinki supports entrepreneurs and jobseekers amidst the coronavirus crisis
The City of Helsinki helps businesses in many ways in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis and is actively seeking solutions to ease the situation for many entrepreneurs. Many services such as employment services continue normally – only remotely for the time being. Helsinki is also actively collaborating with other cities both in Finland and abroad, universities and businesses so that the city can take measures based on the most up-to-date information and help is directed in the right way.
Rent exemptions on commercial plots
The City of Helsinki is helping firms in sectors that have lost business by making it possible to apply for a three-month rental payment exemption on land leased from the city. Tenants deemed eligible by the city will be exempted in full from their lease invoices for a temporary period. Applications must be submitted to the city by 31 May 2020. Find more information on the city's Urban Environment Division website page For leaseholders.
Rental payment cancellations for certain businesses
The City of Helsinki has also decided to waive rental payments for the period 1 April to 30 June 2020 for commercial tenants in at least the following lines of work: restaurants and other food services, retail stores, hairdressers, beauty salons, fitness and health services (including massage and physiotherapy), activities related to the arts, music and other public events, and business and start-up advisory services. The waiver also applies to rent on space in Helsinki's market halls and restaurant terraces.
The decision will go into effect automatically, so business owners affected need not contact the city. Businesses that work in other sectors may also be exempted from rent payments, if it is deemed necessary in a separate evaluation.
Free business consulting from the city
Helsinki also runs an informational service for business owners that provides practical business advice and support during this exceptional time. The NewCo Helsinki service aims to improve people’s general understanding of the situation and come up with concrete actions to provide immediate assistance to business owners in distress.
NewCo Helsinki's busieness counselling service is free of charge and open to everyone. The service has also compiled a helpful list of entrepreneurial support services on its website.
Organisations need not pay back grants for cancelled events
The City of Helsinki will also not require repayment of municipal funding granted for 2020 events that were cancelled due to covid-19. Organisations that were recipients of the grants can instead adapt and adjust their activities to the situation, if possible, in order to provide their target audience with important services just the same. In other words, the plan that inspired the funding can be altered, but it still must fulfil the grant’s principles, even after the changes. No separate permission is required to make these changes.
Instructions for food industry businesses during the coronavirus pandemic
During the current epidemic, food industry businesses such as restaurants, cafés, grocery shops, bakeries and other food production facilities must maintain excellent hygiene in their operations. The City of Helsinki's Environmental Division has compiled a series of recommendations, and the Finnish Food Authority is also a source of helpful information in this area.
The City of Helsinki has also extended the payment period on customer billing of over 100 euros for various city services from 30 days to 60, at the customer’s request, until further notice. The city has also offered early payment of pending invoices to help business owners maintain liquidity and grace periods on loans it has granted. The City of Helsinki-owned energy company Helen has likewise extended its payment times.