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Moscow Offers Mini Handouts to Firms with High Vaccination Rates

Payouts will go to small businesses that have vaccinated 60% of their employees.

Small businesses have complained about a lack of support throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Maxim Mishin / mos.ru / Moskva News Agency

Moscow will offer small stimulus payments to businesses in the capital that have vaccinated at least 60% of their employees against the coronavirus, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced Thursday.

Firms operating in certain service sectors, including bars and restaurants, cinemas, beauty salons and educational and cultural institutions, will be able to access the payouts of at least $300, provided they had hit the vaccination target by Aug. 15.

Moscow had earlier rolled out a controversial mandatory vaccination program requiring businesses in the capital to ensure 60% of their workers were fully vaccinated by mid-August. But Sobyanin, citing rising vaccination rates in the capital, ditched that policy last month after coming under political pressure.

City authorities have allocated 1 billion rubles ($13.5 million) for the new handouts, which will be set at a flat payment of 15,000 rubles ($200) per business with an additional 6,500 rubles ($90) for each employee. 

The funds are officially designated to help businesses cover the costs of compliance with anti-coronavirus measures, such as the purchasing of masks, gloves and sanitizers for employees.

Small businesses have previously criticized the government for not offering sufficient support in response to the pandemic, with the most generous subsidies and assistance reserved for the country’s largest employers.

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