SME's sue Dutch state for damages caused by Covid restrictions
A group of entrepreneurs, united in the foundation Coronaclaim MKB, is suing the Dutch State for the damages they suffered as a result of coronavirus restrictions. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are paying the bill for the pandemic almost entirely, foundation chairman Pascale Petiet said to BNR.
Now that the coronavirus crisis seems to be at its end, it is time to "take stock," Petiet said. "For entrepreneurs who have gone into debt, have dipped deep into their savings, have sold assets, and above all, have missed a lot of income."
According to Petiet, coronavirus restrictions were implemented to protect all Netherlands residents' health. "Normally, we pay the health costs as a collective. Now you see that the receipt only ends up with SMEs." Government support measures were mainly for employees, not employers, she added. And the best SMEs could hope for were payment arrangements. "There have been quite a few discussions with sector organizations. But nothing has come from that. So it's time to go to court."
This is not the first time someone is suing the government for its approach to the pandemic. But, Petiet said, "our foundation focuses not so much on the legitimacy of the corona rules, but on the unfair distribution of the costs." She expects the court will rule in their favor.
Attorney Joop van de Wint, who specializes in corporate law, is less optimistic. "They are asking the judge to declare that the government acted unlawfully, but that is a very difficult issue," he said. "I don't think it has much chance of success."