Covid-19 Bill To Be Introduced In Parliament, Will Help Struggling Businesses Not Go Bankrupt

The Ministry of Law announced today (1 Apr) that a new Bill that will be introduced in Parliament next week will protect some of those whose lives have been made harder by Covid-19.

This Bill, titled the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill, is here to provide relief for those who’ve had to cancel events or cannot pay rent for their business.

Tenants who cannot pay their rent because of Covid-19, will no longer have their deposit forfeited by their landlords. They’ll also be protected from having to pay other damages.

Unfair to penalise people for losses due to Covid-19

Due to supply chain disruptions and manpower shortages, as well as low footfall, it “would be unfair to hold (individuals and companies) strictly liable for their failure” in meeting contractual obligations.

Non-residential leases will be protected by the bill. Landlords cannot terminate them if businesses cannot pay.

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Events bookings will also be protected, should they be cancelled due to Covid-19.

In normal cases, they’d have to pay damages or forfeit their deposits if they cannot hold their events or pay rent.

Now, they cannot be taken to court or have their property locked.

Relief for those who may face bankruptcy

The Bill will also cover those in financial distress due to their business, by increasing the threshold for bankruptcy.

That threshold is now increased to $60,000 for individuals from $15,000 before, while for businesses it’s $100,000 from $10,000 before.

Panels will assess disputes

The Ministry of Law has set up 8 panels to assess disputes related to these issues. Those who are caught in them currently can contact the Ministry.

The panels will assess whether the inability to pay or fulfill contracts is due to Covid-19.

They promise that the process will be “affordable, fast, and simple”, and their decisions are final. This is not a dealing in court as lawyers cannot represent individuals or businesses involved.

New bill should help struggling businesses tide through Covid-19

The keyword here for the Bill appears to be that of survival.

Businesses are struggling, but if they have to fold due to Covid-19, that’d mean an even worse economy once the crisis is suppressed.

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This new bill will prevent businesses from collapsing, and those who’ve had events cancelled won’t suffer more losses than they already did.

After all, we can’t have anticipated all of this happening just a few months back.

Hopefully this will help those suffering at least survive the Covid-19 crisis.

Featured image adapted from EdgeProp.