Representatives of market organizers from the largest cities, including Prague, established their own associations in December and have since lobbied for “quick and fair” compensation for costs and lost profits. The organizers were concerned about the signals of government officials from the beginning of February, which indicated a “capping” of compensation at the level of one million to one and a half million crowns. The CEO of Taiko Libor Votruba pointed out that the Advent markets are nowadays “dispatch towns” in practice, with costs in the order of many millions of crowns, which the previous government ordered to close overnight. Specifically in the case of Taika and its markets on the Old Town Square, the costs for last year’s markets with a minimum profit are said to be around 20 million crowns.
“We are extremely disappointed and outraged by the completely unjust order of the previous government, which promised immediate compensation but did nothing, and by trampling on the current government, which it says is thinking of a solution that is completely liquid for bigger market organizers,” Libor Votruba commented last week. from the government. Votruba also suggests that “the one who bypassed the government order at the end of November, whether by renaming the markets to a cultural event or the farmers’ markets, proceeds as a winner with cost and profit, but the one who obeyed the order is in “desperate situations and compensation must be sought,” the Taiko representative continued.
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“There is no doubt that the Advent markets were devastating for both the vendors and the organizers, and worse, hugely discriminatory when the department stores remained open but the stalls nearby, standing outside in the open, had to close. It should be the duty of the state to repair not only the financial losses they caused, but also the moral damage and injustice that they have committed, “added Lenka Střítecká, co-founder of the APAT association, which organizes Advent markets on Přemysl Otakar Square in České Budějovice.
The maximum possible
According to Střítecký, the final form of support approved for the failed business on the Christmas markets is finally “maximum possible”. The ceiling has moved to the amount of 200 thousand euros (about 5 million crowns) from EU funds should be replaced thanks to the “de minimis” regime relatively quickly – in a matter of weeks. “This is enough for most organizers. I can imagine that it may be different in Prague. However, the Advent markets will eventually reach, as a special sector, relatively more than other business segments affected by the pandemic. Support for future markets may now be at stake in the form of various advantageous conditions, “said Střítecká, who communicates with the government on behalf of the association.
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“Tuned” compensation is also relatively satisfactory for a number of sellers. They should receive from the state 5 thousand crowns for one stand and a day when they could not sell (the restriction lasted a total of 30 days). “I must say that I was quite pleased with this amount. It won’t bring me salvation, but it’s something after a long time. The last two years have been challenging. We had large surpluses of goods from the year before last year and last year. We sold only a few ‘side channels’, “Tomáš Listík told the Prague daily, who obtained a trade license just before the Velvet Revolution as a wife and has been producing and selling Christmas decorations and nativity scenes ever since. “After Christmas, we usually ‘switch’ to creating ceramic objects for tourism. But they are not much in Prague now, so there was nowhere to ‘switch’, “Listík further pointed out.
And what are the organizers’ plans for the near future? “We are preparing Easter markets and I believe that they really will. It should start on April 2 and last until April 24, 2022, “said Taiko company spokeswoman Hana Tietze.