Hotels and guesthouses in the state of emergency are waiting for government compensation. – Compensation for lost income should be granted, because some people already do not have the means to live – said the owner of agritourism in Białowieża. The bill on this matter is to be dealt with by the Sejm at its next session.
Inhabitants of the state of emergency, who provide tourism-related services, mostly praise the government for its rapid adopting a law on compensation for losses. Some of them, however, are afraid of extending the state of emergency. Also, not everyone knows whether they will be entitled to compensation.
Hotels without guests
As Agnieszka Zaorska, the owner of the agritourism “Żubrowe Sioło” in Białowieża said, not a single client has appeared there since the introduction of the state of emergency. – Turnover fell by 100 percent. We would like to apply for government compensation, but firstly we do not know whether agritourism will be covered, and secondly – what the compensation will look like in the case of new facilities, without several months of income history from before the introduction of the state of emergency – Zaorska said. “We don’t have any information on that,” she added.
Zaorska emphasized that she did not judge whether the introduction of a state of emergency is necessary or not. – The government decides about it and it is not us who judge it, but compensation for lost income should be granted, because some of them already do not have the means to live – she pointed out.
The owners of the accommodation base point out that their guests also powered other services. Shopkeepers or handicraftsmen took advantage of this, selling their articles to tourists.
The situation is similar in Krynki. As one of the entrepreneurs told the Polish Press Agency, since the introduction of the state of emergency, there are no guests in hotels in the town, although people call and ask for rooms. – I think we will apply for compensation. We always had full occupancy in September, so it is a huge loss for us, the entrepreneur noted.
Podlasie “was safe, it is safe and it will be safe”
On the other hand, Marek Czarny, the owner of the Hotel “Białowieski”, the second largest hotel in Białowieża, assessed that the compensation “is the proper and quick action of the government”. However, he drew attention to the need to create a special fund that would be used to restore a positive image of Podlasie.
– In relation to Podlasie, a certain atmosphere of foreigners sneaking across the green border, people wandering in groves, the presence of the police, border guards, and the construction of fences has been created. Regardless of any assessment of the legitimacy of these actions – because I believe that the government side has its basis for conducting them – this atmosphere goes to Poland, to potential customers, not only in September, but also in October, November and December – assessed Czarny.
He added that, irrespective of the compensations, the government should create a fund at the disposal of hotel chambers or other competent entities, “which would be intended for advertising Podlasie”. – To restore the image that we have bison, we have Tatars, we have peace and quiet – he emphasized. – Podlasie was safe, it is safe and it will be safe. Mainly due to the fact that the people who live here permanently are people who are very open to other people – he assured.
Compensation for the state of emergency
On Wednesday, the Council of Ministers adopted a bill on compensation for entrepreneurs from the area under the state of emergency in some of the Podlaskie and Lubelskie voivodships. Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration Paweł Bossernaker said during a press conference on Friday that he was convinced that the draft law on compensation for companies from the area covered by the state of emergency will be processed at the next session of the Sejm. The session of the lower house will start next Wednesday, September 15.
According to the draft, the compensation will be available to entrepreneurs and farmers providing hotel services, entrepreneurs running a business in the field of gastronomy, as well as tour guides and tourist guides. Compensation will also be available to entrepreneurs operating as a tour operator or facilitator of linked travel arrangements.
The compensation was established for the period of 30 days of the state of emergency in the amount of 65%. the applicant’s average monthly income for the period covering June, July and August 2021. The entrepreneur applying for compensation should attach to the application documents confirming information about the income. The voivode issues a decision on compensation immediately, but not later than within 14 days from the date of submitting the application.
The draft adopted by the government assumes that the compensation can be obtained by entrepreneurs in the area covering the precincts listed in the president’s decree introducing the state of emergency in the border zone of 115 towns in the Podlaskie Voivodeship and 68 towns in the Lubelskie Voivodeship.
Main photo source: PAP / Artur Reszko