BUSINESSES got the reprieve they were asking for when the government decided to continue offering rental discounts until the end of May.

After a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce yesterday, the Gibraltar Government agreed to keep rents down for a month more than it stated on April 9.

This will mean public premises and private landlords will now offer rent reductions until May 31 instead of only for April, as previously announced.

During May, the government will meet again with the Chamber of Commerce to see if the rental discount must be offered for another month.

The Chamber of Commerce had pushed for rental discounts to be kept down until June 30 to allow businesesses to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

The government’s ability to compromise was tested despite a tough year for public coffers that saw nearly £200 million being shelled out to deal with the pandemic.

Authorities have praised the cooperation of landlords who have taken a hit on their own pocket for the general good of business on the Rock.

Visitor outbreak

“I am most grateful to all of our landlords for their support at this most difficult time to our business community,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.

“We believe and hope that our business community will be enjoying better times in June as a result of the success of Operation Freedom and there will be no need for these discounts to continue any further.

“We have agreed with the Chamber that we will meet with them next month and revisit our progress before reaching any conclusion on this matter.”

The resolution of this dialogue comes as the number of active COVID-19 cases rose to 14.

However, all of them are visitors, possibly from a visiting boat, with one of them staying in the COVID-19 ward.

A total of 35,649 people have now got their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, meaning most of the population as well as a lot of cross-frontier workers are now protected.

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