1. Spending Measures (Budget Allocations)
On 21 February 2020 Hong Kong Legislature created a HK $30bn Anti-epidemic fund for allocations such as: supporting the Hospital Authority; improving local mask production; procuring personal protective equipment; and supporting property management, construction, cleansing, security, and frontline workers’ anti-epidemic efforts.
2. Tax Measures (Deferral of Payroll Tax Obligations, Extensions of Tax Filing Deadlines)
3. Subsidies to Preserve Jobs, Employee Benefits, Food Assistance
Subsidies to sectors: retail, food license holders, transport, convention and exhibition, fishing vessels with Mainland deckhands, arts and culture, licensed guesthouses, travel agents, training bodies, and licensed hawkers.
4. Public Loan Guarantees and Expansion of Loans to Businesses
- Government welcomes low-interest loan with 100 per cent guarantee.
- Cash payout: HK$10,000 cash payout to Hong Kong permanent residents aged 18 or above.
- Tax relief: Reduced salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for 2019 to 2020 assessment year by 100%, subject to a ceiling of $20,000.
- Low-interest loans: Low-interest loan (up to $2 million) with a 100% government guarantee for enterprises, which will be open for application for 6 months.
5. Student Loan Relief
Students receiving reimbursement at some grade levels, expansion of grant money, schools also receiving expanded grant.
6. Insolvency Law Relief
1. Reduction of Interest Rates
Government welcomes low-interest loan with 100 per cent guarantee.
2. Expansion of Central Bank’s Holdings of Government Bonds
Government Bonds of HKSAR have reopened 10-year Government Bonds in February and 15-year Government Bonds in March.
3. Other Measures to Support Flow of Credit
Standard rates of currency exchanges, holdings, and liquidity remain in place.
4. Suspension of Foreclosures/Evictions
Suspension of foreclosures/evictions – Standard rules still apply, although there are some cases of landlords foregoing rent.
5. Reductions/Suspensions of Mortgage Payments
Reductions/suspensions of mortgage payments – Hong Kong Housing Authority to pass on rates concessions to tenants.
6. Asset Purchases (Liquidity Facilities, Purchase of Private and Public Sector Securities, Acquiring Equity of Larger Affected Companies)
Hong Kong forecasts running a deficit budget for the next five years.
7. Exchange Rate Adjustments
HKD is still maintains a USD pegged rate of exchange between 7.75 and 7.85.
1. Social Distancing
Yes, now enforced 1.5m distancing at restaurants. Public groupings of more than 4 are not allowed.
2. Closure of Public Places for Gathering
Public space remains open however groups of more than 4 are not allowed. Generally private industry is discouraging gathering in any common areas (roped off and/or notice given).
3. Closure of Non-Essential Businesses
Yes, most recently bars are closing for a two-week period, starting 3 April 2020.
4. School Closures
Yes, until 20 April at least, likely to shift online for the entire year.
Comment: Hong Kong is following a graduated model of containment instead of universal stay-at-home orders. Things remain open and functional, however industry-specific and situation-specific closures are still being introduced and then repealed when infections are contained.
1. International Assistance
The jurisdiction is working to remain an active facilitator of international business.