File photo: Global Times
WUHAN, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Wuhan, the capital of central China's Hubei Province previously hard hit by the COVID-19 epidemic, has offered financial support to help restaurants resume operations.
Starting from Monday, Wuhan Rural Commercial Bank will offer 5 billion yuan (about 707 million U.S. dollars) in credit to catering service providers in the city, which can also apply for interest subsidies from the government.
Wuhan has 51,000 registered food and beverage service providers, with some 500,000 people employed.
Liu Lixin, head of the city's local financial work bureau, said to mitigate the impact of the epidemic, the city has earmarked over 60 billion yuan to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and private businesses in real economy sectors including catering services and offered 3 billion yuan in interest subsidies. To date, more than 6,700 businesses have received financial support exceeding 42 billion yuan in total.
Restaurants have seen their dine-in business return to 40 percent of ordinary levels, while the figure for the food delivery sector has hit 80 percent, said Liu Guoliang, head of the food and beverage industry association of Wuhan.
A liaison group sent by China's State Council to Hubei also requested the local government and enterprises to make use of the financial support from the central government, such as interest reductions and exemptions and extended repayments, to help local enterprises, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, overcome difficulties.