Effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has enormous consequences for the economy. Some sectors are hit hard, such as the hospitality industry, the events industry, the public-transport sector, and the travel industry. ACM wants to contribute to the economic recovery, and help combat the negative effects of the pandemic on the economy, and to prevent markets from becoming permanently disrupted. The laws that we enforce offer opportunities to do just that.
In 2021, we will continue to deal with the following topics:
Distribution of the effects of the coronavirus crisis
The effects of the coronavirus crisis are not felt equally among individuals and businesses in the Netherlands. Some groups and sectors are hit harder than other ones. As part of its mission to ensure that markets work well for people and businesses, ACM in 2021 will devote attention to the distribution effects of the crisis in general, and, more specifically, to those of its oversight. In that context, ACM will look at, among other aspects, the distribution between individuals and businesses, but also between businesses and groups of individuals.
Extra attention for vulnerable consumers
ACM educates consumers about their rights through its consumer information portal ACM ConsuWijzer. In that context, ACM in 2021 will devote extra attention to the protection of individuals in vulnerable positions, which have worsened as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We remind individuals of their rights, and offer support when they wish to exercise those rights, for example, by urging businesses in sectors that have been hit by the pandemic to fulfill their obligations. Think of, for example, paying out vouchers for cancelled trips or live events.
Good practices for collaborations in the health care sector
In 2021, ACM will pay special attention to concrete plans for far-reaching forms of collaborations in the health care sector and it will publish several good practices, which are real-world examples that are allowed. In order to keep health care accessible, affordable, and of high quality, now and in the future, it is necessary to work together in the sector. The coronavirus crisis has re-emphasized the importance thereof. In its policy rule ‘The right care in the right place’ (JZOJP), ACM explained how it will conduct oversight over such collaborations. Competition rules do offer latitude for collaborations, as long as they are in the interests of patients and insured.
Preliminary study into the consequences for the retail industry
ACM will study the potential consequences of the crisis on retail markets. Visitor numbers to and turnovers of brick-and-mortar stores are expected to suffer a structural decline, and vacancy rates in traditional main streets (or high streets) are expected to go up. That will have a negative effect on the appeal of those same main streets and stores. ACM will launch a preliminary study into this broader problem, and will sift through its regulatory toolkit in order to see if, in any way, it can help physical markets function well, and help downtown areas stay livable.
Share your ideas with ACM
ACM wishes to ensure that markets function well for people and businesses. We invite everyone to share their ideas about the implementation of the ACM Agenda. Do you have any concrete tip-offs about a specific market that is not functioning properly, for example, because of unfair competition or misleading practices? Or do you have any suggestions for investigations related to our Agenda topics? If so, we would like to hear from you. You can share your knowledge, experiences and tip-offs with us via our social-media channels on LinkedIn , Twitter and Facebook or by sending an email to info [at] acm [punt] nl.