Current situation in Russia
In the week of March 28 – April 5, all non-essential work will be suspended, and workers will receive paid leave. Emergency services, medical services, pharmacies, stores, and banks will remain open.
Economic support for individuals
All social welfare payments and benefits will be automatically extended for six months. No proofing documents should be introduced to the authorities
Payments for families with children between the ages of three and seven will begin a month earlier, in June instead of July.
By the end of the year, minimum sick leave payments will be established on a federal level to match Russia’s minimum wage regardless of a worker’s rank. Unemployment payments will be set to equal the minimum wage.
A credit holiday will be instituted to suspend fines on unpaid purchases and mortgages. The suspension will apply to individuals whose income decreases by more than 30 percent as a result of the pandemic.
Economic support for businesses
Credits for entrepreneurs in coronavirus-affected industries will be extended.
Russia’s bankruptcy procedures will be made “stronger and less burdensome.”
Small and mid-sized businesses will be given more time to pay all taxes except for value-added taxes in the course of the next six months.
Microbusinesses [i.e. companies with 15 employees or fewer that make no more than 120 million rubles (€1.53 million) in income] will be given more time to make federal welfare payments.
Small and mid-sized businesses that experience financial difficulties amid the crisis will have their credit payments delayed for six months.
A six-month moratorium on bankruptcy applications will be put in place for companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Tax and fee collection from those companies will also be suspended.
Dividends that are transferred from Russia into offshore accounts will face a 15-percent income tax.
Quarantine measures in Moscow and Moscow region are stepped up from March 30.
Starting March 30, the self-isolation regime is implemented for all residents of Moscow and the Moscow Region, regardless of age
- It is forbidden to leave the apartment with the exception of: medical help need, going to work (if it’s a must), store or pharmacy visit, walking pets not more than 100 meters from the place of residence, taking out the trash.
- Muscovites and residents of the Moscow region are required to observe a distance of at least 1.5 meters. The only exceptions are taxi rides.
- Special passes allowing to leave the residences will be issued to every Muscovite and resident of Moscow region.
- In addition, a system will be deployed to monitor the movement of citizens and their compliance with the home regime.
- Violators of self-isolation will be punished
What will operate
- Entry and exit from Moscow are permitted du a solid reason only
- transportation by personal, official, special and public transportation is not forbidden
- food stores and pharmacies
- restaurants for take away and deliveries
- delivery services
- tank stations
Russia stops international air traffic from March 27, 2020
The ban does not apply on repatriation, freight, postal, sanitary and humanitarian transportation.
The decline of international flights from Russia began gradually from February 1. The restrictions were applied in several stages: firstly, were limited the flights to China, South Korea and several other countries, later to Spain, Italy, Germany, France, and a few days later the limitations were extended to all of Europe. The most widespread restriction was introduced on March 23, when the flight ban was spread to 95 countries. In all cases, the restriction implied the possibility of flights exclusively from terminal F Sheremetyevo to the capital of a closed country. Aeroflot continued regular flights to New York and several European capitals:
S7, the second largest air company in Russia, has previously completely suspended international flights (although it like other companies continues repatriation flights). Pobeda and Utair has stopped the International flight program. The largest charter air company, Azur Air reported the suspension of any international flight programs for a month - from March 22 to April 20.
Russian Tour Operators Cancel All Tours Till April 30
Tui Russia announced the cancellation of all tours to all destinations with a departure date from March 20 till April 30, 2020.
The company explained this decision by the recommendation of the Federal Tourism Agency to decline traveling outside the Russian Federation until the epidemiological situation normalizes.
At the same time, the tour operator offered to rebook the tours to Russian resorts or to postpone travel dates after April 30, 2020. In addition, the funds for a canceled trip can be used to any future one. The found transfer from one booking to another will be carried out at the exchange rate on the day the tour was paid.
The cancellation of all tours abroad was also announced by Anex Tour. The company will operate only one way flights for their current clients to Russia. The tour operator offers to rebook tours to any Russian destination or to postpone travel dates to later dates.
The partner air company of Anex Tour - Azur Air emphasized that the return of Russian clients from foreign countries runs in normal mode. The company will keep the flight team during the forced pause to be ready to start operation any time.
Pegas Touristik announced on its website the cancellation of all tours to all abroad destinations from March 23 till April 20, 2020. The clients are invited to reschedule travel dates or to use the done payments for any travel product of the company until December 31, 2021.
The company deposits the payments, so no actual costs are charged. Moreover, funds will be re-charged at the exchange rate on the day of payment. This allows to the agents to save the commission and will be beneficial for the tourists, because the exchange rate has increased significantly.
A similar decision was made by the tour operator Intourist. The company cancels all bookings for the dates March 20 - April 25, 2020. The payments (excluding actual costs for regular flights, visas, insurances), can be transferred to another reservation for the same clients at the rate on the payment day or can be left as a deposit on the same booking.
The tour operator Space Travel announced the termination of any flight programs for the period starting from March 20 till April 20. The dates can be revised later on. The tour operator asks not to cancel, but to rebook the holiday for later dates.
Ics Travel Group offers to the partner travel agencies to book for later dates, most likely, the situation will be settled in July or August. According to the Ics general manager Mr. Filatovsky the main issue for the entire tourism market is to build effective interaction in the chain "tour operator – travel agent - tourist" taking into account the interests and capabilities of all parties.
The Russian government has prepared a new plan to support the tourism sector of the economy due to the virus and fall in oil prices
The plan developed by the authorities is divided into four units. This is support and provision of basic necessities of the population; support of especially negative affected economic sectors; support of small and medium-sized businesses; system-wide measures. An anti-crisis fund of 3 billion euro was created to implement the support plan.
Avia and travel companies experience the most serious negative impact. A separate package of support of them includes:
∙ deferral of tax payments
∙ no contribution to the reserve fund of the tour operators’ association and no contributions to personal liability funds of tour operators
∙ state guarantees for loans restructuring and payment prolonging
The losses to air companies because of flight cancellation are planned to be reimbursed.
The tourism sector of Russia is mostly represented by small and medium-sized businesses. Therefore, the following apply to the majority of companies in this field.
Support measures for small and medium-sized businesses:
∙ deferral of insurance premiums starting this March (30% of the salary)
∙ soft loans and guarantee support programs
∙ a deferral for leasing state and municipal property for three month
The economic effect of current events cannot be predicted at the moment, so the package of implemented measures will be extended if necessary.
Thought the tourism sector holds the support as non-sufficient, the measures generally were very welcomed by Russian travel professionals.