Retail in Slovakia mobilising to sue government over lockdown

Support and aid schemes are insufficient, they say.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

The last Sunday of March 2021 marked the 100th day since small brick and mortar shops were shut down as a part of epidemiological measures against the spread of the coronavirus in Slovakia.

As of this date, they have been closed 40 days longer than they were during the first wave of the pandemic, without counting the two-week lockdown that took place during the time of nationwide testing in October.

The Initiative of Retail Businesses (ISKM) stated that the current situation can be summed up with the words “intentional liquidation” and “desperation”.

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ISKM unites over 80 non-grocery retail stores ranging in size. In Slovakia, over 300,000 people are employed in retail. ISKM members own over 800 brick-and-mortar shops all over Slovakia.

Entrepreneurs in retail say they are working on a way to sue the government for reparations for the damage done to them.

They insist the government ignores their requests, preferring to leave the businesses to solve the problem by themselves. The ISKM stated that “the support is insufficient since it barely covers the wages paid out to the businesses' employees and only some of the rent. There is no support for other expenses such as energy costs, phone bills, internet bills, leasing bills, interest on loans, seasonal goods etc.”

Related articleMost entrepreneurs encounter problems with state pandemic aid, survey shows Read more 

Other countries have taken a far more flexible approach to support small businesses and are reacting to changes in the overall status of the pandemic, ISKM claims.

“Even in cases where brick and mortar shops are closed for extended periods, support upon support packages are approved, which allow affected sectors to survive. At home, we are still using only two schemes to support retail - one for covering employee wages and the other for covering rent expenses, which were covered during or shortly after the first wave. Since then, nothing has changed.”

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