COVID-19 Updates

Republic of North Macedonia: 15.925 confirmed cases of corona-virus as of September 15 (1.846 active cases, 13.480 recovered and 661 deaths).

Worldwide: 29.119.433 confirmed cases and 925.965 deaths, according to World Health Organisation statistics.

Latest Updates by the Government of North Macedonia

September 15, 2020

Parents of Children Under 6 to Return to Work
Employed parents of children under 6 and mothers on a prolonged maternity leave, who stayed home due to Covid-19 measures, should return to work, effective from September 23. 

Government Change Protocol for Events
Wearing protective masks and keeping a two-meter distance remain mandatory for all attendees and event organizers. The outdoor events will be limited to 50 percent of the total capacity of the venue and must not exceed the maximum of 1,000 attendees. Indoor events to be organized with 30 percent of the total capacity of the venue and must not exceed the maximum of 1,000 attendees.

Obligatory Personal Protection Measures &
Protocol for Preventive Measures for Legal Entities

All citizens are obliged to wear personal protective equipment on the face when leaving their home, i.e. when moving in public places and areas of open and closed type, in markets, in the public transport and when entering closed spaces where many people gather (state institutions, markets, stores, banks, post office, waiting rooms, healthcare institutions etc.)
Wearing personal protective equipment on the nose and mouth is mandatory for all legal entities.

On June 2, the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, adopted a protocol for preventive measures that will affect all employees and companies on the territory of this country.

Travel Information

All land borders of the country are open, effective from June 17, 2020.

There are no requirements for a PCR test, nor are there requirements for self-isolation or quarantine. Exception from this rule applies to travelers arriving from Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina. These travelers must provide evidence of negative PCR test performed within 72 hours prior to entering the country, to submit a statement with their personal data and residency information.

Both airports in Skopje and Ohrid are reopened since July 1, 2020.

The company that manages both airports – TAV Macedonia, has announced several new requirements for departing passengers, to arrive at the airport no less than three hours prior to their flights. Wearing a protective mask, maintaining physical distance and keeping a high degree of personal hygiene is a must. Travelers displaying symptoms of COVID-19 infection such as a fever of 37.3 C or higher and coughing may not be permitted to enter the airport and board their flights.

All travelers are advised to frequently check the websites Skopje and Ohrid airports (http://skp.airports.com.mk) (http://ohd.airports.com.mk) as requirements change very often.   

Latest Information on Residency Permit for Foreigners

All foreigners whose residence permits have expired after the state of emergency period, can extend its validity at some of the local offices of the Ministry of Interior Affairs. For more information, please visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Protocols Adopted by the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia

Protocol for work meetings, seminars and workshops
Protocol for foreign nationals transiting the country
Protocol with preventive measures for all work places

Protocol for outdoor events
Protocol for international transport of passengers
Protocol for managing the international airport in Skopje
Protocol for managing the airport in Ohrid
Protocol for hotels and other guest accommodation
Protocol with preventive measures for citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia and foreign nationals

Other Resources

The World Bank recently published researches related to COVID-19 and its impact on fiscal policy, the financial sector, the external sector, and the private sector, in the Western Balkans:
Fiscal Policy to Flatten the Curves: Crisis Containment and Mitigation
Financial Sector Policy Interventions – Liquidity Support and Risk Mitigation
Widening External Imbalances But with Different Magnitudes among Western Balkan Countries
Coping with the Effects of COVID-19: Firm-Level Perspective

FinanceThink releases a policy brief on the economic measures in the midst of coronavirus  

The Impact of Coronavirus on directly аffected European Companies

Simple checklist to protect your business in the midst of coronavirus outbreak

Covid-19_Info Pager for Expats in North Macedonia

Economic Measures adopted by the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia

The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia has delivered two sets of economic measures to support the local economy, making it quite challenging for the businesses to quantify these measures and respond very quickly in terms of modifying their cash flows in this crisis situation. 

Measure 1 – Direct financial support to micro, small and medium-sized companies that perform business activity in tourism, transport, hospitality sector, by the Development Bank of North Macedonia for a total amount of EUR 5.7 million in the form of 0% interest rate loans. The financing has maturity of 24 months with a 6-month grace period. Each company, depending on the number of employees, can receive zero interest loans from EUR 3 thousand to EUR 30 thousand as follows:  
– Micro companies with 1 – 10 employees may apply for a loan in the range of EUR 3 thousand – EUR 5 thousand
– Small companies with 11 – 50 employees may apply for a loan in the range of EUR 5 thousand – EUR 15 thousand
– Medium-sized companies with 51 – 250 employees may apply for a loan in the range of EUR 15 thousand – EUR 30 thousand.  
Measure 2 – Subsidy on salary contributions up to 50% per employee (based on the average salary paid in 2019) for April, May and June of 2020. Companies to be eligible to apply for salary subsidies, must be able to fulfil the following terms:
– must not reduce the number of employees below the number of employees recorded in February 2020
– must not pay dividends during 2020
– must not pay bonuses to its employees after adoption of this measure.
Measure 3 – Exemption from paying corporate income tax (CIT) for a period of three months (April – June 2020) under the following conditions:
– the company should not distribute any dividends during 2020 and provide bonuses or other awards to its employees and members of the management and supervisory boards from the date of enforcement of the regulation (26 March 2020) until 15 June 2020
– the number of employees as it stands as at the date of enforcement of the regulation should not be reduced until three months after the expiry of its validity (indicatively, 15 September 2020), except in cases of death, retirement or dismissal by employees.  
Measure 4 – Reduction of statutory default interest will be reduced by 50% and the penalty for public duties will be reduced from 0.03% to 0.015% i.e by 50%.
Measure 5 – Reduction of the reference interest rate of the National Bank to 1.75% that should further reduce the cost for financing for companies and households. From 10 to 5% and from 8 to 4% for the period for which the Central Bank prescribes the reference interest rate will be changed to provide more favorable conditions when the reference interest rate decreases.
Measure 6 – Restructuring of loan liabilities to commercial banks loans to interest-free, with an interest rate of 0 percent, and the grace period to be 6 months and the repayment period to be 2 years.   Hospitality industry: all fees related to the Association for copyright protection (ZAPM) to be put on hold.
Measure 7 – Financial help to all companies in the private sector affected by the Covid 19 crisis, by paying MKD 14.500, net minimum wage per employee for April and May. To be eligible to obtain this measure, the companies:
-must not pay dividends, bonuses, annual awards, business success awards to their stakeholders, employees and members of the Management Boards
-have reported at least 30% decrease in their earnings, compared to their last year’s average. The same rule applies for the seasonal employers as well
-for the companies, where 10% of their employees receive the highest salaries, their net average must not exceed MKD 120,000 for the period for which these companies apply for financial support
-the financial support will not apply to those employees who received net salaries higher than MKD 39,900 in December 2019, and January/February 2020
-employers are required to retain the same number of employees as they had at the time of application until the September 2020
-employers are not obliged to repay their financial support if they report loss for 2020.
In all other cases, employers must refund up to 50% pre-tax profit plus tax expense.    
Measure 8 – All employees at sports associations, will receive a minimum wage of 14,500 denars for the April and May.  
Measure 9 – 141 independent artist will receive a minimum wage of 14,500 denars for April and May, including paid contributions, through the Ministry of Culture.
Measure 10 – Monthly salary for the citizens who lost their jobs due to the crisis, will be paid in amount of 50% of the average monthly net in the last 24 months in accordance with Article 68 of the Law on Employment and Unemployment insurance.
Measure 11 – All elected and appointed officials and heads of departments of state and local government, Members of Parliament, Prime Ministers, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, Mayors, Directors, Judges and Prosecutors, will receive a minimum net salary of MKD 14,500 denars for April and May.  
Measure 12 – Presidents and members of municipal councils, governing and supervisory boards of public institutions will work without remuneration. The decision will be valid until the Government decides to terminate it. This measure does not apply to unemployed individuals to whom this is their only source of income.  
Measure 13 – Financial support in amount of MKD 7.000 per household for April and May, will receive all those who are unemployed or have been part of the informal economy.  
Measure 14 – The enforcement law will be suspended by June 30 and all enforcement actions will be on hold for this period.  
Measure 15 – Banks will offer deferment on loan payments to their clients. With this measure, legal entities will receive access to more favorable conditions, such as greys periods, loan reprogramming options, more favorable interest rates etc.  
Measure 16 – Leasing companies and financial institutions to provide options for reprograming of loans and lower instalments. Leasing companies and financial institutions will individually offer their clients – the legal entities with most appropriate benefits, according to the clients’ needs. New loan agreements will include grace period of 3 months. The statutory default interest rate, will be reduced from 51% to 31%, while all other administrative costs for new loan agreements will be limited to 20%.  
Measure 17 – Instalments for social housing rent for social families, citizens will be waved for the period, also for legal entities that are renting premises under regulation for of right to qualify for use of this benefit.
Measure 18 – Additional EUR 8 million interest-free loans will be available for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. These loans will be granted with grace period of 12 months and repayment period of 3 years. These loans will range from the minimal amount EUR 3.000 to maximal amount of EUR 90.000. Measure 13 – To protect liquidity of companies, the Development Bank of North Macedonia will provide low-rate loans worth EUR 50 million total. The primary purpose of this credit line is to provide fresh capital to support new projects, new jobs, increased liquidity and export. These loans will be available through the commercial banks, with interest rate of 1.5%.  
Measure 19 – During the period of emergency and 6 months after it is forbidden to imitate a bankruptcy procedure.
Measure 20 – Mandatory use of the first part of annual paid leave for 2020 and the remain 2019 annual leave by end of May.
Measure 21 –The Government will establish Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund, available for donations by individuals and legal entities.
Measure 22 – Decreasing the fees up to 50% for individuals who have employment under a copyright agreement, and also at a same time are also engaged by the state institutions. This measure does not apply to individuals to whom this is their only source of income.  

On May 18, the government of the Republic of North Macedonia, presented the third set of measures, to help the local economy and its citizens.

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