Questions and answers for companies and the self-employed about the coronavirus
The city of Dortmund is in close contact with the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The latest findings, facts and background information are published via a news ticker on the website corona.dortmund.de. The information listed there is made available by the Dortmund Health Authority and other official offices of the city council.
We ask all residents and business owners to find answers to general questions on the above-mentioned page and to keep the telephone hotlines of the health department and the local authority free for emergencies.
The Dortmund Economic Development Agency has compiled a separate FAQ section for companies and the self-employed which provides information on initial measures and various offers of assistance. The information and data of the FAQ are based on official decrees by the federal government and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Alternatively, we are offering a telephone info line to answer questions from Dortmund entrepreneurs and solo self-employed people. Not everything has been arranged yet, but we can already offer you shortcuts to forms and applications.
In parallel with this service we are working with the state and the municipality as well as other partners to develop further regulations for financial support.
Hotline phone number: 0231 50-22860
If you cannot reach us by phone, please send us an e-mail:
From Monday, 15 June 2020, further adjustments to the coronavirus protection measures will come into force in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The new version of the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance comes into force on Monday, 15 June 2020 and is valid until 1 July 2020.
This removes most of the existing restrictions. However, a number of hygiene regulations still apply. A few areas and event formats remain closed or forbidden until further notice (see below).
All regulations (permits, requirements, prohibitions) can be found in this tabular overview (Appendix) from the Dortmund Ordnungsamt:
Which companies remain closed?
Clubs and discos remain closed.
Prostitution facilities, brothels and similar facilities remain prohibited.
Which events are prohibited?
Large festival events such as folk festivals, city, village and street festivals, shooting and wine festivals or similar festive events continue to be prohibited until at least 31 August 2020. This also applies to music festivals, festivals in general and similar cultural events as well as sports festivals. Events with a predominantly social character are also still prohibited
Which economic sectors and events do the requirements also apply to after 15 June 2020?
The basic rules for restricting contact in public spaces and the obligation to wear a mouth-and-nose cover in certain areas with public and customer traffic remain.
Events and celebrations
Events and gatherings with up to 100 people are permitted subject to distance and protective measures. Regulations on hygiene, control of access, guaranteeing a minimum distance of 1.5 metres and the traceability of spectators and participants apply here. Additional requirements apply to events with more than 100 spectators. These are only permitted in consultation with the relevant health authority. They also require a special approach to hygiene and infection protection.
For events with fixed seats, the distance regulation of 1.5 metres can be omitted when creating seating plans and ensuring the traceability of participants. This also applies to extra-curricular educational offers or cultural events if there are permanent seats. The requirements for traceability include recording participants’ data as well as creating a seating plan that records where which person was eating.
Private festive events
Events with a predominantly social character are still prohibited. Exceptions are made for celebrations on special occasions such as anniversaries, weddings, christenings, birthdays or graduation ceremonies, which can take place under certain conditions. These festive events are possible with a maximum of 50 participants, if hygiene rules are observed and the participants are recorded for traceability. Under these conditions, for example, for civil marriages or gatherings after a funeral, wearing a mouth-and-nose cover is not necessary. These celebrations can also take place in separate rooms in restaurants and hotels.
Shops, museums and catering establishments
Easing of the area-based access restrictions in retail will also apply from 15 June. These are expanded from one person per ten square metres to one person per seven square metres of the retail store’s sales area. This also applies to visitor restrictions in museums and exhibitions as well as in zoos and animal parks. Bars can resume operation in accordance with the standards for hygiene and infection protection standards that apply to other catering establishments.
Recreational and leisure facilities
Second-hand and flea markets can take place under conditions including a special approach to hygiene and infection protection. Temporary amusement parks from a large number of fairground businesses can also be approved subject to a special approach to hygiene and infection protection and in consultation with the responsible authorities. Wellness facilities and saunas can resume operation subject to hygiene and infection protection standards. The same applies to water parks and leisure pools. The usage limit on swimming pools with lanes no longer applies.
Starting on Monday, non-contact-free sports are again possible in closed rooms for groups of up to ten people who are directly related or members of two households. Outdoor contact sports can take place in groups of up to 30 people. In both cases, traceability of the participants must be ensured through data collection. Recreational and leisure sport competitions are also permitted in closed rooms and halls if a hygiene and infection protection approach is adhered to.
NRW Bridging Aid Plus (Federal & NRW State)
The bridging aid programme provides grants to eligible companies for fixed operating costs from June to August 2020.The prerequisite for this is an average decline in sales of at least 60% in April and May 2020 compared to the same period in the previous year. Depending on the level of sales decline in the months of June to August, up to 80% of the fixed costs are covered. The maximum funding amount is 9,000 or 15,000 euros for micro-enterprises and solo self-employed people with up to five or ten employees and 150,000 euros for larger companies.
Bridging aid is a cross-industry grant programme. The programme is intended for solo self-employed people, freelancers and owners of sole proprietorships and partnerships with a maximum of 50 employees in North Rhine-Westphalia supplemented with NRW Bridging Aid Plus. The supplement is a cross-sector economic development service (fictitious entrepreneurial wages).Provided that the application requirements of the federal government's bridging aid are met, companies will receive additional funding of 1,000 euros per month for a maximum of three months in the period June to August 2020 (maximum 3,000 euros) from funds of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Here is the web link to the information on NRW Bridging Aid Plus: https://www.wirtschaft.nrw/ueberbrueckungshilfe
Effective immediately, tax advisors, auditors or sworn accountants who submit applications for companies can register on the application platform www.ueberbrueckungshilfe-unternehmen.de . There you will also find frequently asked questions and answers about federal bridging aid.
Emergency aid programme (Federal and North Rhine-Westphalia)
Companies from the region affected by the coronavirus crisis were able to apply for financial support from the state and federal government. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia paid up to 25,000 euros as emergency aid. The deadline for the digital application process expired on 31 May 2020. No further requests for immediate assistance can be made.
Short-time working allowance (Employment Agency)
If companies order short-time working due to the global incidence of illness caused by the coronavirus and this results in loss of pay, affected employees can receive short-time work compensation. This benefit must be applied for by the employer. Companies wishing to apply for short-time working allowance due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic must first report the short-time working to the local Federal Employment Agency. This then checks whether the prerequisites for the benefit are met.
The Federal Employment Agency employer service can be reached on the hotline 0800 4555520 from Monday to Friday (08:00 - 18:00).
For companies from Dortmund, Hamm and the district of Unna there is a collective phone number 0231 842 9031.
There are two ways to apply:
- The application is completed online and can be printed out and submitted
- Registration: Form Notification of loss of working hours
- Reimbursement: Form Application for short-time working allowance (Kug) - benefit application
- For business people who are registered for eServices with the Agency, the application can also be sent online: eServices
Complementary programmes to secure liquidity
- KfW quick loan for medium-sized companies For acquisitions (investments) and running costs (equipment), medium-sized companies will soon be able apply for the new KfW quick loan. The loan is 100% secured by a federal guarantee. This significantly increases your chance of getting a loan approval. The loan application is to be made through the principle bank.
And most important of all:
Promotional loan for acquisitions and running costs for companies with 11 to 249 employees that have been trading since at least January 2019
Max. loan amount: up to three months’ turnover in 2019
Companies with up to 50 employees receive max. 500,000 euros
Companies with more than 50 employees receive max. 800,000 euros
Interest rate of currently 3.00% p.a.
100% assumption of risk by KfW
No risk assessment by your bank
Prerequisite: You last made a profit either in 2019 or on average over the past 3 years
- KfW loans: Companies, the self-employed or freelancers who have got into financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus crisis and need a loan will receive help from the KfW Bank. You can now apply for a loan for investments and working capital from your principal bank, provided that you were not in economic difficulties up to 31/12/2019. KfW assumes 80% - 90% of the default risk of the principal bank. KfW provides the following online form to prepare the loan application at the principal bank: https://corona.kfw.de/?kfwnl=Unternehmensfinanzierung_MSB.27-03-2020.700218 Contact: 0800 539-900
- Universal loan from NRW-Bank: NRW.BANK is making the terms of its universal loan more attractive and will now assume up to 80% (instead of 50%) of the risk from the first euro. For exemptions from liability up to an amount of €250,000, the documents available at principal banks are sufficient for the risk assessment. The loan approval is usually made within 72 hours. Contact: 0211 91741 4800
- Guarantees:Bürgschaftsbank NRW provides conditional guarantees for loans to small and medium-sized businesses and freelancers if they are unable to provide their bank with sufficient collateral. Contact: 02131 5107-200
- Investment capital: The ‘Mikromezzaninfonds Deutschland’ can enter into silent partnerships without the involvement of the principal bank and without collateral (max. 75,000 euros). It is aimed at small companies, start-ups and special target groups (including companies that provide training and start-ups out of unemployment).
- Support for freelance artists: The emergency programme of the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MKW) for freelance artists has ended. All persons who have too little or no own means of subsistence can have a right to basic security benefits for job seekers (Arbeitslosengeld (unemployment benefit) II). Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the legislature has temporarily simplified access to basic social security benefits for job seekers.
Further information can be found at: https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/corona-faq-grundicherung
- Compensation for quarantine: Compensation measures exist for loss of earnings in connection with an officially declared quarantine period. Employees and self-employed people / freelancers are entitled to this. The LWL Office for Social Compensation Law in Münster is responsible. Contact: 0251 591-01
Since 30 March 2020, working parents and foster parents of children in need of care who have not yet reached the age of twelve or are disabled and dependent on help and whose schools or daycare centres have been closed can apply for compensation. All information on the right to compensation and the online application process is now available on the website http://www.ifsg-online.de/.
Important: Always check the URL of the online application and beware of fraudulent websites.
Basic income (unemployment benefit Arbeitslosengeld II), especially for small businesspeople and the so-called solo self-employed (Jobcenter)
Basic income can be applied for by any person in need of help who has too little or no means to support themselves (and their own family). This applies regardless of what form of employment this person has.
The following temporary simplifications of access to basic income are planned (this information is still provisional and subject to legal decisions):
- There is no longer an asset check for the first six months.
- In the first 6 months of receiving the benefit, the actual rent and heating expenses are accepted.
- The applicant receives a child supplement (KiZ) as an alternative to basic income where his/her income is sufficient for him/herself but not for his/her family.
Further information can be found at: https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/corona-faq-grundicherung.
You can do this immediately (Tax office, “GEZ”, GEMA):
- Fiscal liquidity assistance: The liquidity of companies can be improved through tax measures.
- Interest-free deferral of income tax, corporation tax, value-added tax
- Application for a reduction in advance payments / the tax rate for business tax advance payments
- The contact person is the responsible tax office: Application documents
- Further useful forms, instructions and links can be found here: https://www.finanzverwaltung.nrw.de/de/steuererleichterungen-aufgrund-der-auswirkungen-des-coronavirus
- Exemption from broadcasting licence fee (“GEZ”) and GEMA (performing rights fees): A temporary exemption from payment of the broadcasting licence fee and for GEMA is possible for the period of business closure:
Broadcasting licence fee:
- Selection field “I would like to ask a question about my contribution account”
- Message with customer number and brief details of the reasons and the estimated period of exclusion.
GEMA: Email with customer number, brief details of the reasons and the estimated exclusion period to firstname.lastname@example.org (https://www.gema.de/aktuelles/news/coronavirus-hinweis-fuer-veranstalter-und-musiknutzer/)
- Deferral of social security contributions:
If the immediate collection of social security contributions would involve considerable hardship for the company and entitlement would not be jeopardised by the deferral, the deferral of contributions under easier conditions is possible. All other measures from the various government aid packages and support measures must be exhausted. The health insurance company, as the responsible collection agency, decides on the application for deferment at its discretion. Please contact your respective health insurance provider directly.
Subsidy for the cost of business advice:
Due to the high level of demand, the funds earmarked for the special coronavirus module within the support programme for the promotion of entrepreneurial know-how have already been exhausted. Funding from the special coronavirus module has therefore been prematurely discontinued. The other modules for promoting entrepreneurial know-how for existing companies and companies in difficulty can continue to be used. Applications can be submitted to the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA; = licensing authority).
You can find the application here: https://www.bafa.de/DE/Wirtschafts_Mittelstandsfoerderung/Beratung_Finanzierung/Unternehmensberatung/unternehmensberatung.html?nn=8062106
The “go-digital” support programme supports the establishment of home-office workplaces:
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and craft businesses with fewer than 100 employees can receive financial support if they create home-office jobs in the short term. Up to 50 percent of the costs of support advice up to the implementation of home-office solutions are reimbursed by a BMWi-authorised consulting company. With a maximum daily rate for a consultant of 1,100 euros, the scope of support is a maximum of 30 days.
The project sponsor, EURONORM GmbH, answers specific questions about eligibility and application by telephone at 030-97003-333.
You can find information on how to apply here: https://www.innovation-beratung-foerderung.de/INNO/Redaktion/DE/Kurzmeldungen/Aktuelles/2020/200320-go-digital-homeoffice.html
Promotion programme for retail: Advancing digitisation:
Many retailers in North Rhine-Westphalia are still struggling with the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. These have been particularly challenging for small and medium-sized companies without an internet presence. Digital technologies can help overcome the crisis: Customers have become increasingly accustomed to digital services and information channels and will continue to use them in the future. With the project call “Thinking digital and physical retail together” - special programme 2020” the state government wants to support companies en route to digitisation. The project is aimed at physical retail companies that have no more than 49 employees and a turnover of up to 10 million euros or an annual balance sheet total of up to 10 million euros. Funding is provided for short-term projects by small enterprises that are setting up a digital presence for the first time or want to advance the establishment or expansion of digital technologies for their business. The projects must be completed by 31 December 2020. The maximum amount of funding is 12,000 euros with a funding rate of up to 90 percent. The project must also serve directly to avert or mitigate the consequences of the coronavirus crisis.
Project ideas can be submitted to Jülich Project Management until 30 August 2020. Further information on the call, application documents and the funding basis can be found at www.digihandel.nrw .
Financial aid for sports clubs
Non-profit associations or organisations can apply to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for a one-off grant of up to 15,000 euros to overcome a liquidity bottleneck caused by the coronavirus pandemic that threatens their existence. Support is based on actual needs.
A prerequisite for the granting of the special aid is the avoidance of a liquidity bottleneck caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which could lead to a threat to the company’s existence in the form of imminent insolvency. The existential economic situation and/or the financial bottleneck must have occurred due to the loss of income and/or unavoidable expenditure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
You can only apply online and must do so by 4 December 2020 at the latest via this link https://heimatsoforthilfe.nrw.de/lip/authenticate.do . https://mhkbg.nrw/sites/default/files/media/document/file/faq_sonderprogramm_heimat_2020.pdf .
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia’s emergency aid programme for sports clubs (10 million euros)
The condition for the granting of emergency aid is a liquidity bottleneck caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which could endanger the existence of the association in the form of imminent insolvency. Sports clubs in need can apply for this assistance online until 15 August 2020 via the support portal of the State Sports Association of North Rhine-Westphalia https://foerderportal.lsb-nrw.de/startseite - written applications are not possible! Information on the procedure can be found on the website of the State Sports Association of North Rhine-Westphalia www.lsb.nrw . All clubs that are affiliated to the State Sports Association of North Rhine-Westphalia through one of our member organisations (sports association or sports association) are eligible to apply. Corporations in which applicant associations hold shares are not eligible to apply. Clubs must provide detailed information on their income and expenditure situation. The funding takes the form of a non-repayable grant amounting to 60 percent of the proven deficit. The maximum funding is 50,000 euros.
If you have any questions, please contact email@example.com.
Increased training supervisor support (3 million euros)
The 7.56 million-euro programme for the promotion of training work in sports clubs (Übungsleiterförderung - training supervisor support), which is regularly used by 7,000 to 8,000 clubs, will be increased by the State Chancellery by 3 million euros or around 40 percent in view of the corona crisis. This is intended to support the retention of trainers, who are indispensable for the operation of the association (also working part-time or as freelancers). The aim is to bring payment forward to the summer (normal payment date is October/ November). Applications can be submitted online via the funding portal of the NRW State Sports Association at https://foerderportal.lsb-nrw.de/startseite.
Short-time working allowance
If short-time working allowance is registered for an employee who receives a job-related subsidy (e.g. integration specialist / full-time employee or coach for competitive sports), entitlement to the subsidy lapses for the period that the short-time working allowance is received. However, due to the current COVID 19 crisis, top-up payments by employers are considered eligible expenditure and can therefore be included in the statement of expenditure. Maximum limits apply, which are based on the regulations of the collective agreement of municipal employers (TVöD VKA).
Since 16 March 2020 childcare centres and schools in North Rhine-Westphalia have been closed, initially until the start of the Easter holidays. What can I do if I cannot look after my child during this time?
In Dortmund, the care of children from class 1 up to and including class 6 is provided in the usual schools for parents who cannot provide other care for their children and who work in so-called critical infrastructure (KRITIS). This also applies to childcare centres in the city.
What is ‘critical infrastructure’?
According to the Federal Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of North Rhine-Westphalia, Critical Infrastructures (KRITIS) include "organisations or institutions of major importance to the state community, the failure or impairment of which would result in lasting supply bottlenecks, significant disruption to public safety or other serious consequences.”
In Paragraph 5 of the Decree of 02/04 you can see the definition of critical infrastructure https://recht.nrw.de/lmi/owa/br_vbl_detail_text?anw_nr=6&vd_id=18383&ver=8&val=18383&sg=0&menu=1&vd_back=N
What is a key person?
Key persons are parents who work in critical infrastructure. Care is provided for their children despite the closures. You can find further information here: https://www.dortmund.de/de/leben_in_dortmund/gesundheit/informationen_zum_coronavirus/kitas_und_schulen_1/index.html
How do companies demonstrate the critical infrastructure to key personnel to be eligible for childcare?
The city of Dortmund has provided a form on its website that employers can use to certify to their employees that they are key personnel because the company operates as part of the critical infrastructure. (https://www.dortmund.de/media/p/fabido/dl_fabido/20200315_Muster-Vordruck_Betreuungseinrichtungen.pdf)
What are decrees for and who formulates them?
The state's decrees are on the Website of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of the State of North Rhine Westphalia.
The state government has basically decided on various packages of measures with the aim of preventing further infections and slowing and stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Personal contacts must be severely restricted because the virus is transmitted from person to person through the air and through touch.
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- Recommendations to hospitals on ‘Necessary measures to contain the coronavirus and to treat patients with COVID-19’ (13/03/20)
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- Additions to the decree of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia of 17 March 2020 ‘Update of the decrees of 15 and 17 March for further contact-reducing measures from 18 March 2020
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How are the decrees implemented in Dortmund?
After the decree, the city of Dortmund implements the measures in the municipality. The Notices are published in the official gazettes on the dortmund.de website. All measures taken for entrepreneurs as well as the self-employed and their employees are derived from decrees and notices.