The final corona measures were relaxed on 23 March 2022. The government updated its advice again on 19 April 2022. You might still have questions about the current situation. See if your question is answered below. More information about the schemes can be found by following the links to specific pages.
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Restrictions liftedOn 15 March, the government announced the relaxation of the final corona restrictions in the Netherlands. Read what the rules are as of 23 March in the article The coronavirus and your company.
Rules for running your business
Most restrictions have been phased out, and the final measures were lifted on 23 March 2022. There are still some rules and advice to keep in mind regarding safety and international travel. Read about the current situation.
As of 23 March 2022, the corona entry pass is not needed to access events or locations in the Netherlands. Free corona tests have stopped. Businesses cannot ask visitors to show a valid QR-code to enter.
There is not enough money coming in, due to the corona crisis. You can no longer apply for NOW, TVL, Tozo or TONK. But there are still measures in place, depending on your type of business:
- A TVL for starters will focus on support for entrepreneurs who set up their business between 30 June 2020 and 30 September 2021.
- The Decree on Social Assistance to the Self-Employed, Bbz (Besluit bijstandverlening zelfstandigen) is available for self-employed professionals (zzp'ers). The Bbz is available at your municipality.
- SMEs can make use of the extended SME credit guarantee scheme, BMKB-C.
- Small companies can also make use of the KKC, or bridging loans for small companies scheme.
- For agricultural entrepreneurs, there is the extended Credit Guarantee scheme for Agriculture (BL-C).
- Larger businesses can make use of the Business loan guarantee scheme, GO.
Yes, you can. The Unemployment benefit for short-time working or wtv was re-instated on 1 October 2021.
- Do you worry your business will not make it? Read this article on how to prevent bankruptcy.
- Make arrangements with creditors and use the WHOA act.
- Are you temporarily unable to pay your debts? Then you can file for a suspension of payment.
- If you are unable to pay your debts over a longer period of time, you can make use of debt restructuring.
- If you want to temporarily stop your business, you can use the Time-Out Arrangement. This is a precursor to the new WHOA act, which makes it easier for businesses to reach agreements with their creditors and avoid bankruptcy.
- Is your company in danger of going bankrupt? Read our articles on bankruptcy.
Agreements must be fulfilled, that is the basis of our legal system. An appeal to force majeure is not often approved. You should not count on being able to make such an appeal successfully.
Whether or not force majeure is in play depends on the contract you have drawn up. Commercial contracts often feature a force majeure clause. This clause states under which circumstances force majeure applies, and what the consequences are if these circumstances occur. It usually features matters like government measures, strikes, sudden blockages to the infrastructure, or shortages in transport. So, you may be able to claim force majeure based on the government measures taken to stop the spreading of the coronavirus. It is also possible to include illness, epidemics or quarantine in your contract. The district court decides, if you have a dispute.
Does you agreement not contain a force majeure clause? Then check the applicable law. This may be either Dutch law, or the law in your customer’s country. Not being able to deliver is described in the law as ‘a shortcoming in the fulfilment of a contract’ in articles 74 and onwards of Book 6 of the Civil Code (Burgerlijk Wetboek, in Dutch). Do you fail to meet your contractual obligations? Then you may ultimately have to pay damages.
Pandemic outbreaks, such as the coronavirus, are expected to be excluded from the terms and conditions of insurance policies.
The government has a scheme in place to co-fund travel organisations that offer vouchers to clients who cancel a package deal they had booked. For cancelled events, you can apply to RVO for the TR-SEC subsidy scheme for events cancelled due to corona measures or for the Additional Reimbursement Events (ATE).
It depends on the type of damage. If you miss out on income due to the coronavirus, that is a business damage, or trading loss. However, trading loss insurance only covers material damage, and the Insurers Association (Verbond van Verzekeraars) has announced (in Dutch) that income losses due to corona do not fall into that category.
When it comes to personnel, it is a different story. If your employees have to stay at home sick, you must continue to pay their wages. If you have taken out sick pay insurance, this will cover the obligation to continue wage payments. Is your employee unable to work, due to illness? Then the sick pay insurance will pay out, no matter what the illness. But if your employee has to remain in quarantine, or is unable to leave an area as a precautionary measure, the insurance company will not pay out.
What about you? If you decide not to work, because you don’t want to catch the virus, or if you are in quarantine, or unable to leave an area as a precautionary measure, your disability insurance will not cover it. Disability insurance only covers income loss due to illness or a (physical) inability to work, and that is not the case in the example described above. If you contract the coronavirus and become ill, the disability insurance will pay.
At this time, businesses no longer have to close to comply with corona measures. It is not foreseen in the near future that they will have to close again.
The government removed the work from home advice on 15 March. If your employees do have to work on site, it is up to you to provide a safe working environment for your employees. This includes minimising the risk of them contracting coronavirus by providing the means to disinfect work stations, and proper ventilation.
Tax exemption for home officesThe cabinet has introduced a specific tax exemption for home office costs as of 1 January 2022. This allows you to reimburse your employees for home office costs tax-free. Read more.
Since 21 May 2022, there are no mandatory rules for wearing face masks in the Netherlands. Read more about the rules.
Rijksoverheid.nl has prepared several information posters about the coronavirus, available in several languages.
If your staff cannot come to work as a consequence of mandatory quarantine, travel restrictions or other coronavirus-induced blockages, you will most likely have to continue paying them. However, which exact rules apply depends on the specific circumstances and the labour laws per country.
Self-employed (including zzp)
Here are some measures you can take yourself when you find your company is in stormy weather:
- Look for changes you could make to your business processes. Perhaps you could get deliveries from different suppliers, from other countries, or you could offer your services in a different region.
- Do you have outstanding invoices? See if you can get these paid. Or you could try factoring, a type of credit where you ‘sell’ your outstanding invoices to a third party, and quickly get your money.
- Discuss the possibility of a longer than usual payment term with your suppliers and other parties you owe money.
- Look into external financing. Always ask your bank first (for instance a current account) before considering other financing options (also see: SME credit guarantee scheme).
Take care! Flash credits may seem a quick and easy way to get money, but they come at a price – usually a high one.
TechLeap.nl offers the COVID-19 Startup Guide, a toolkit that contains resources, contact and information points, as well as analyses of the corona crisis.
The Netherlands Point of Entry advises all Netherlands Startup Visa holders to contact the RVO Startup Visa team directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Regional Development Companies (ROMs) may be able to help you out. Contact the ROM in your province or region. If you want to apply for a loan, fill out the form on the Techleap.nl website. An English translation (pdf) is available.
SMEs with relatively small financial needs may be eligible for a bridging loan of up to €50,000 under the Small Corona Credit Guarantee Scheme (Klein Krediet Corona Garantieregeling or KKC).
International business and travel
The government is taking several measures to protect international trade. The export credit insurance now also covers short-term projects that have been active for less than 2 years. In addition, options for domestic coverage are extended, national policies will become more flexible and coverage will be available for more countries. Procedures are also extended and accelerated, and a higher percentage of working capital is covered. For more information, visit Rijksoverheid.nl (in Dutch).
For full and up to date details on who is and who is not allowed to travel into the Netherlands, check the Government.nl Visiting the Netherlands page.
- If you were granted a payment extension for income tax, corporate tax, payroll tax, and turnover tax (VAT), you will have 5 years to pay, starting no later than 1 October 2022. You can contact the Tax Administration for a payment settlement.
- You can no longer apply for a special tax payment extension after 1 April 2022. That means you have to pay the taxes you are due after 1 April 2022.
- You will not have to pay any fines for late payment. Also, it is not necessary to send in any proof straightaway. You will have more time for this. Read more.
Call the Tax Information Line
Since the information on the tax options offered to entrepreneurs during the coronavirus crisis is mostly only available in Dutch, it would be wise to consult the Tax Information Line if Dutch isn't your primary language. The number for resident entrepreneurs is +31 (0)800 0543; non-residents can call +31(0)55 538 53 85.
It is also a good idea to ask someone - your accountant, for instance - to help you.