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COVID-19: New emergency support measures for the local economy

The Administrative Council has taken new emergency measures linked to the health crisis with a view to supporting the local economic fabric. This involves implementing a system of vouchers to support local trade, waiving the rent for the month of December for commercial tenants of the municipal real estate agency (Gérance immobilière municipale) and financing, in addition to the Canton, the 20% share not covered by the lessors or the state for tenants of commercial premises whose rent falls between CHF 7,000 and 15,000.

In light of the difficult situation caused by the 2nd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Executive Committee of the City of Geneva has decided to introduce new emergency support measures for the economy. These measures have been determined on the basis of the objectives formulated by the Delegation of the Administrative Council (AC) for the economy, consisting of Mr Alfonso Gomez (Chairman), Ms Marie Barbey-Chappuis and Mr Sami Kanaan: 

  • encourage consumption in local shops; 
  • increase the purchasing power of the inhabitants of Geneva; 
  • inject funds and provide support for local traders; 
  • maintain the diversity of local businesses within the territory of Geneva.

To achieve these objectives, two types of assistance have been proposed:

  • the implementation of a voucher system to support local commerce:
  • the provision of assistance in paying commercial rents.

Implementation of a voucher system

Vouchers worth CHF 20, 50 and 100 will be made available to the local population with a discount of 20% financed by the City of Geneva, in partnership with Fondetec (municipal foundation for the development of employment and the economic fabric), the GenèveAvenue platform and the “Monnaie Léman” network. The participating businesses must be located within the territory of the City of Geneva and be present on or register with the GenèveAvenue website. Food shops are excluded from this system. The vouchers will be purchased by the customer via the platform for a specific shop, thereby enabling the trader to receive the money spent directly. The 20% covered by the City is paid via Fondetec. Currently bringing together 100 local businesses and some 200,000 products GenèveAvenue has undertaken to support Geneva’s traders and accelerate the digitisation of trade. Through the 20% participation of the City, the benefits for the local economy could reach 10 million francs. Sami Kanaan, responsible for the digital transition process, “is delighted by the partnership which has been established with the GenèveAvenue platform, a local project developed before the crisis in response to the shift away from in-store purchases towards international online groups.”

"Monnaie Léman" network

Fondetec is also mandated for marketing operations. In particular, these operations are designed to enable shops in the social and solidarity-based sector of the economy and those belonging to the “Monnaie Léman” network to join GenèveAvenue and to encourage local businesses to turn their attention towards sustainability by joining the Léman network. Businesses which are not part of the “Monnaie Léman” network will be encouraged to join by receiving a voucher for 20 Lémans (equivalent to CHF 20) upon registration. Consumers will also receive a voucher for a further 20 Lémans for each voucher purchased, regardless of the amount, in a shop which is a member of the network, up to a value of 100 Lémans per transaction. 

The Léman is an additional, civic currency enabling the local economic fabric to become more resilient. “The Lémans injected into the local economy never leave it. They therefore facilitate the emergence of a sustainable, circular economy as promoted by the City of Geneva. In addition to providing tangible help for today’s traders, it is also a matter of seizing the opportunity – at this time of crisis – to support a social and solidarity-based economy in the medium term. I firmly believe that an alternative economy is possible. We must begin implementing it today,” stresses Alfonso Gomez, responsible for the Department of Finance, Housing and the Environment. 

A mandate will be granted to Caddie Service to organise deliveries by bicycle. In total, this aid is estimated to be worth 2.5 million francs.

“Geneva must remain an attractive, vibrant city. It needs its shops. These new measures are a strong political sign in support of Geneva’s economy. They bear witness to the commitment of the Administrative Council in support of trade and those economic stakeholders severely affected by the health crisis,” states Marie Barbey-Chappuis, responsible for the Department of Security and Sport. “Furthermore, it represents a small but welcome direct boost to the purchasing power of the inhabitants of Geneva as the festive period approaches.”

The provision of assistance in paying commercial rents

The AC has extended its policy of waiving commercial leases for tenants of Gérance immobilière municipale (GIM) to the month of December, in accordance with the conditions established for the exoneration of the month of November. This measure costs 1.2 million francs.

Furthermore, in the case of commercial tenants who do not have a lease with GIM, and in addition to the measure proposed by the State Council, the City will fund the 20% not covered by the lessors or the Canton for tenants in the City of Geneva whose rent is between 7,000 and 15,000 francs. The draft law dealing with this cantonal measure, which is subject to an agreement between the Union suisse des professionnels de l'immobilier (USPI Geneva), the Chambre genevoise immobilière (CGI) and Asloca Genève, must still be adopted by the Grand Council on 25 November. For the City of Geneva, the cost is estimated at 2 million francs.

This measure and the distribution of vouchers will be put to the Municipal Council on Tuesday 24 November by means of two emergency proposals. 

Article modifié le 20.11.2020 à 16:36