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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure CZ-2020-12/253 Updated – measures in Czechia

COVID I interest-free state loan

Bezúročná půjčka COVID I

Country Czechia , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 16 March 2020 – 20 March 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Access to finance
Author Soňa Veverková (Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs) and Eurofound
Measure added 03 April 2020 (updated 28 May 2022)

Background information

COVID I provided an interest-free state loan for SME´s which business activities were affected by COVID-19. It was prepared by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic (Ministerstvo průmyslu a obchodu České republiky, MPO ČR ) and the Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank (Českomoravská záruční a rozvojová banka, ČMZRB , which also managed the measure. Loans should allow businesses to cover their basic operational expenses, acquisition of small tangible or intangible assets, the acquisition and financing of inventories or for other operating expenditures.

Content of measure

The total amount of the programme is CZK 600,000,000 (approx. €21,818,181). The call was opened for applicants 16 March 2020.

COVID I Loan programme provided support in the amount of CZK 500,000 (approx. €18,181) up to CZK 15,000,000 (approx. €545,454) with zero interest rate. Loans were granted up to 90% of eligible expenditure with maturity of 2 years, including the possibility of deferred repayment for up to 12 months. There were also no fees associated with the processing and granting of the loan or its possible early repayment.

Applicants had to provide that their contractual performance had been delayed, suspended or cancelled due to measures taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

29 June 2020

The programme was terminated after 5 days in operation since the demand was enormous. New similar measure were proposed under the name 'COVID II warranty program for companies affected by coronavirus'. In the database .

Use of measure

165 companies were supported with the total a amount of CZK 981,000,000 (€36,333,333 approx.) by COVID I.

There was a lot of criticism of COVID I and COVID II measures. The Chamber of Commerce of the Czech Republic (Hospodářská komora České republiky, HK ČR ) carried out a survey among its members in April 2020, which highlighted the tangle of bureaucracy and lack of clarity in the COVID I and COVID II programmes. To apply, companies needed to complete complex forms forecasting the next three years, which is an impossibility in the current situation. Also the capacity of Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank (Českomoravská záruční a rozvojová banka, ČMZRB), when approving the loans, was very low and the process too long.

In February 2022, the Ministry of Regional Development of the Czech Republic published an evaluation analysis of the ESIF measures responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and evaluation of the ESFI. This analysis evaluates some of the COVID-19 antiepidemic measures, namely COVID I interest-free state loan, COVID II state guarantee programme, COVID III state guarantee programme, COVID Prague and Technology-COVID call within OPPIK.

This evaluation shows that the positive impact of the above mentioned antiepidemic measures cannot be yet statistically confirmed. The moratorium on debts and mortgages declared in the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic played a major role regarding the survival rate. However, in combination with the above mentioned measures, it has likely only delayed the insolvency of a number of beneficiaries. In general, no statistically significant difference in the trends of employment rates was observed when comparing supported and unsupported enterprises.

Evaluation studies also have proven that the support was not strongly focused on the economic sectors that were most affected by the pandemic (tourism, HORECA, accommodation services). In general, above mentioned measures applied were appropriate, however, should have been more targeted on most affected sectors and regions.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
European Funds
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


Employers organisations, which are members of the tripartite body (Council of economic and social agreement, Rada hospodářské a sociální dohody, RHSD) were informed and consulted in both formal (requested by institutional settings) and informal ways. They were not involved into the management of policy measures.

Views and reactions

Partially in agreement. Not all suggestions to the proposal of policy measure made by employers´ organisations have been accepted, however, employers' organisations were ready to compromise.


  • 16 March 2020: CMRZB: Text of the call for proposals (ČMRZB: text výzvy) (
  • 05 April 2020: CMRZB: COVID I Interest-free state loan (ČMRZB: COVID I Bezúročný úvěr) (
  • 28 May 2020: MPO ČR: List of companies supported by COVID I (MPO ČR: Seznam společností, které obdržely podporu v programech COVID I a COVID II) (
  • 19 June 2020: Chamber of Commerce: Survey among Prague entrepreneurs on COVID-19 measures (HK ČR: šetření mezi pražskými podnikateli ohledně vládních opatření proti COVID-19) (
  • 21 June 2020: CMRZB: Number of applications finalized/in process (ČMRZB: počet schválených a vyřizovaných žádostí) (
  • 25 February 2022: Analysis of the ESIF measures responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and evaluation of the ESFI/Analýza opatření reagujících na pandemii COVID-19 a vyhodnocení EFSI (


Eurofound (2020), COVID I interest-free state loan, measure CZ-2020-12/253 (measures in Czechia), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.