Slow rise, fast fall: who knew this better than a climber – or the operator of a climbing forest, like christian donner?. In the spring, the entrepreneur and host at veilbronn near heiligenstadt had certainly seen the financial abyss looming on the horizon.
“Now in march we had permanent occupancy here. But since the closure I have zero euro turnover. This is a break in the neck”, the boss reported five permanent and 20 seasonal workers in the climbing garden and beer garden in marz.
How is he today?
Six months later he is in good spirits again. On 19. March he applied for an interest-free loan of 20,000 euros from the rescue umbrella of the district of bamberg, explained by e-mail his situation and mentioned the investments. “Within a week the money was on the account”, he reports.
Today, donner is still grateful for it: “for us, the rescue umbrella definitely had a positive effect, because we were really down to zero in the months of march to may. And the money was important as a bridge aid.” He has not made use of any further assistance. So far he has made good time. “I did not have to lay off anyone”, reports the chief.
Hairdresser sven submann also experienced a lot of uncertainty in march and april. “One did not know what would happen next”, reports the boss of two employees. “Gradually, things returned to normal.” Nevertheless, the question remains: is the crisis over yet?? “Loans were out of the question for me, as I did not want to take on any further liabilities. The state of bavaria’s emergency aid has cushioned the worst of the crisis.”
Don’t leave local businesses out in the freezing cold of the corona rain: that was also the goal of the rescue umbrella that the city and county of bamberg put up. Even before the state and federal governments had organized or even decided on their own financial aid, the people in charge in bamberg had already erected a local umbrella over their business location shortly after the municipal elections in mid march. To be more precise, there were even two umbrellas, each costing 1.5 million euros roughly.
And the demand was also rough, in the city as well as in the county. “The rescue umbrella is effectively exhausted. The feedback was great. He certainly helped a lot of people during this difficult time”, stefan goller, the city’s economic advisor, takes positive stock of the situation. 119 companies and self-employed people received money.
Criticism of the loans
At that time, there were also critical voices: “what is the point of an interest-free loan of 20,000 euros that you have to pay back again??”, asked about a hairdresser from the district. His criticism: this only postpones the problem without solving it.
Unlike, for example, the immediate aid from the state, the money from the city and county were not grants, but only borrowed. Nevertheless, they were received by the local economy in small and medium-sized businesses, like rain in a dry flowerpot.
The fast money
The decisive factor for success was speed, explains goller today: “we were the first, even before the government programs.”
The initiators in the district also see it this way: “the project, which was launched jointly by the district and the city of bamberg, has been very well received and, in addition to the corona emergency aid programs from the state of bavaria and the federal government, offers further funds for companies severely affected by the crisis”, explained district administrator johann kalb (CSU). Of the 1.5 million euros available in the district, 1.028 million have been paid out to 80 companies. 17 companies have withdrawn their applications, according to inge werb of the economic demand in the district office. Two inquiries could not yet be processed due to missing documents.
What happens next?
For christian donner, the rescue parachute has exactly fulfilled its purpose. Things have been going well since whitsun, and since then he has been allowed to work with overnight guests again. The upswing in the beer garden, however, was hampered by people who had no understanding of the hygiene inspections and did not want to wear a mask. “Some people get really snotty and stubborn. I no longer entertain such people. They should go. But 99 percent of all guests are completely understanding. Every day, a couple of idiots get up”, reports the host.
One thing is very important to him: he does not want to complain. “The norglers get me all riled up. The state puts money up the backside of even the most stupid person, but many are only nagging.”
Donner, in his climbing forest and beer garden, suspects that a “winter without gastronomy” would be but he thinks that somehow he will manage that too.
Comment by sebastian schanz: “first aid”
Helping without bureaucracy. This noble intention of politicians often ends up in a bureaucratic monstrosity, as the criticism of the framework conditions of state corona funds shows. The fact that the rescue umbrella of the city and the district of bamberg is a positive exception in this respect is worthy of praise. While the free state just confirmed the receipt of an e-mail, the county had already transferred the money, it was heard among domestic entrepreneurs in april – that is, at a time when the hat was really on fire. The criticism that the interest-free loans had to be repaid was foreseeable, but too short-sighted. Because during the weeks of the lockdown, the aim was to keep companies solvent, to prevent chain reactions in the solvency of companies. How well this really worked out will only become clear later, when insolvencies can no longer be postponed – and when the cold autumn brings a new lockdown threat.
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