People select vegetables and other daily supplies at a market in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on Monday. (Photo by LIU XIN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE)
Authorities in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, will help small and medium-sized businesses hit hard by the recent COVID-19 outbreak as the city steps up efforts to restore order in the lives of residents, the city government said.
"Small and medium-sized businesses affected by the outbreak can apply for tax refunds," Liu Qian, deputy secretary-general of the city, said at a news conference on Monday. "They can also apply for deferred tax payments, and water, electricity and gas supplies won't be cut off at least before Dec 31 even if their payments are in arrears."
He added that businesses still unable to resume normal operations are eligible to receive government subsidies. A 500-yuan ($70) one-time subsidy will be given to businesses for every person they employ.
Banks and financial institutions are encouraged to extend deadlines for loan payments from small and medium-sized businesses and reduce fees for late payments. The deadlines for credit card bills and mortgage payments of business owners including farmers and those who are self-employed should also be extended, Liu added.
On Saturday, the city government announced that it had "basically cleared" COVID-19 cases at the community level and that order in the lives of residents will be gradually restored. Urumqi recorded three new local confirmed cases and 109 asymptomatic carriers on Sunday.
From Tuesday, courier services will be gradually resumed in low-risk areas in Urumqi. Currently, there are a large number of parcels bound for Urumqi held in express service depots around the country, Fang Tao, head of the Urumqi Postal Administration, said at the news conference.
"We will make sure they can be cleared as soon as possible and arrive in Urumqi smoothly. At the moment, 39 of 369 postal and express service depots in Urumqi are operational. We will assess all the other depots in low-risk areas from Tuesday so they can reopen," Fang said.
Civil aviation services from Urumqi to Beijing have already resumed. Flights to other cities including Changsha in Hunan province, Sanya in Hainan province, and Shijiazhuang in Hebei province, will resume soon, Li Qiang, Party chief of the Transport Department of Urumqi, said on Monday.