Berlin (dpa) – If the partial lockdown is extended in December, the federal government plans financial aid for affected companies in the amount of an estimated EUR 17 billion.

The German news agency learned this from government circles. Details are still unclear. Negotiations were in full swing, federal and state governments said Wednesday before consultations on how to proceed with the persistently high number of corona infections. First, the newspapers of the Funke media group reported that companies could count on support of 15 to 20 billion euros.

The extension of the partial lockdown in Germany until shortly before Christmas is almost certain. The minister-presidents of the federal states agreed on Monday evening that the measures, which were limited to the end of November, should initially continue nationally until December 20, the German news agency heard from participants. A final decision must be made during the talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the states on Wednesday.

If the partial closure was extended, restaurants, leisure and cultural facilities closed since the beginning of November would remain closed. The extension of the measures is intended to significantly improve the corona situation.

The federal government had pledged to support companies affected by the closures. The federal government is planning about 14 to 15 billion euros for this November aid. This is to repay lost sales. According to previous information, the start of the application is scheduled for this week. The first funds should flow in the form of advances to companies and self-employed people such as artists by the end of the month. The money must come from a pot for continuous bridging aid, which is far from exhausted.

It is still unclear exactly what the new support for December will look like. According to reports, support for December should be based on the November support model. The following applies: the vast majority of companies should receive a subsidy of 75 percent of the average turnover in November 2019.

It remains to be seen whether another 75 percent loss of sales will be awarded. Because December is a month with high sales, for example for the catering industry. The federal government has already taken on massive debts during the corona crisis to protect businesses and jobs. The European Commission should also approve the new aid.

Federal government officials had already promised further financial assistance should the partial shutdown be extended. Business associations had insisted on this.

The hospitality industry said extending the partial lockdown would be bitter. The industry then needs further financial support. “An extension of the November support is important so that the farms have a chance to survive. The reserves have been used up, ”said the general director of the Dehoga trade association, Ingrid Hartges, on Tuesday. “We need specific information, including details about the November aid, when the money will be paid out, because not a cent has been disbursed yet. The fact that the closures now continue until December 20, of course, exacerbates the situation. “

The Federal Association of Medium-sized Enterprises called for an improvement in November support. This mainly concerns companies that are indirectly involved in closures, for example in the catering industry. Federal Director Markus Jerger said federal and state governments should finally make a binding statement on how aid for troubled companies should be disbursed in November and continued unbureaucratic in December.