Shanghai released a 21-point document on Tuesday to assist businesses in the city and promote development while it fights its worst COVID-19 outbreak.
The document sets out tax rebates and reductions, fee reductions, rent reductions and exemptions, financial subsidies, and measures to stabilize employment, which are all part of the city's latest effort to help businesses through the challenging period in sectors including catering, retail, tourism, transportation and exhibitions.
Official estimates showed that the tax-related measures alone can reduce the financial burden on related industries and businesses by 140 billion yuan ($22 billion) this year.
"The measures were issued under the principle of planning pandemic control and socioeconomic development as a whole, as we've continued to strive to achieve the best pandemic prevention and control effect at the least cost," said Ruan Qing, deputy director of the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission.
He said the measures in Shanghai came after the release of similar national policies in mid-February, and these were updated to offer stronger support to businesses in the city.
For example, the national policy stipulated that retail and catering enterprises are given subsidies of no less than 50 percent of the cost of employees' nucleic acid tests. In Shanghai, this has been increased to 100 percent.
Zhang Guohua, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Commerce Commission, explained that this policy applies to workers selling and processing imported cold-chain food at malls, supermarkets, farmers markets and catering enterprises, as well as logistics and delivery employees with e-commerce platforms.
Also, while the national policy stipulated that small and microsized enterprises in the service sector would benefit from rent reductions and exemptions, Shanghai has expanded this to all sectors.
"All such enterprises and self-employed people renting real estate from State-owned enterprises for production and business activities will be exempted from rent for three months in 2022," said Chen Dong, chief economist with the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of Shanghai.
"Those located in medium- or high-risk regions or those whose business activities are severely affected by pandemic control measures can be exempted from rent for a total of six months this year," he said.
In terms of tax reductions, Pang Wei, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Tax Service, said the related measures in the document are expected to especially benefit small and micro-sized businesses in the city.
Mei Guodong, general manager of Shanghai Lanqin Travel Agency, said that small businesses welcomed such policies, as many have coped with difficulties since 2020 and were eager to continue their operations.
Shanghai reported having 4,477 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections on Monday, including 96 confirmed cases.
A total of 8.26 million residents in the regions east of the Huangpu River and key areas west of the river received nucleic acid tests on Monday as the municipality kicked off a new round of testing among its residents.
Those regions will be locked down from 5 am Monday to 5 am Friday. From 3 am Friday to 3 am on April 5, other regions west of the river will be locked down while residents are tested.