The Executive Yuan is mulling additional coupons to revitalize sectors hit by COVID-19 that do not require people to stay at a hotel or bed-and-breakfast (B&B) before they can use the coupons, and the budget for the coupons would exceed the NT$2.3 billion (US$76.29 million) already earmarked, Minister Without Portfolio Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said yesterday.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs had budgeted NT$2 billion for the coupons, which was raised to NT$2.3 billion after the Ministry of Culture’s plans were included.
Under the Executive Yuan’s current plan, each Republic of China (ROC) citizen would receive NT$800 worth of coupons when they stay at a hotel or B&B, which can be used at night markets, other markets, shopping districts and cultural and art venues, Kung said.
Asked by reporters whether the government plans to issue coupons that could be used without having to present proof of a hotel stay, as previous tourism-industry booster coupons linked to hotel and B&B stays did, Kung said that the possibility was under consideration.
If additional coupons were to be introduced, the budget would exceed what has been earmarked, he said, although he declined to provide any specifics.
Asked when the coupons would be distributed, Kung said when the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) deems it suitable for people to go shopping.
Photo: Hung Jui-chin, Taipei Times
Later in the day, the Ministry of Culture said in a statement that its coupons, which would have a face value of NT$200, would not be bound to hotel stays.
Its coupons would be redeemable at more than 10,000 venues, stores and performances nationwide — including movie theaters, record and bookstores, and concert venues — and when purchasing tickets via nine online ticket booking services, which have teamed up with more than 6,700 local performing groups, it said.
In related news, the Executive Yuan green-lit eight sets of regulations to complement the Special Act on COVID-19 Prevention, Relief and Recovery (嚴重特殊傳染性肺炎防治及紓困振興特別條例), each tendered by a central government agency, as well as three accompanying regulations laid down by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
The complementary rules include qualifications for businesses eligible for compensation, while the regulations set the daily compensation for people quarantined or taking care of quarantined family members at NT$1,000.
Employers who voluntarily pay workers who are quarantined or on leave to take care of a quarantined family member would receive an income tax break equivalent to twice the salary payout during the quarantine period.
People who are convicted of hoarding resources that the CECC has deemed as necessary for containing the COVID-19 outbreak or those who drive up the prices of such items could face a prison sentence of up to five years.
The health ministry on Wednesday declared N95 respirators an item necessary for COVID-19 prevention efforts, and more items could be added at the ministry’s discretion, Minister Without Portfolio Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said yesterday.
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