Hospitality industry wants to know conditions for reopening

The Flemish hospitality industry wants the national security council to provide greater clarity on the reopening of bars and restaurants as early as next week.  “The hospitality industry needs to be able to prepare” says industry body Horeca Vlaanderen.

The security council that groups representatives of the devolved and federal governments and has the final say is only supposed to meet to discuss this issue next month.  Bars and restaurants are unlikely to reopen before 8 June when new relaxations are expected.

The security council is supposed to meet on 3 June to discuss the issue, but the hospitality industry feels this is too late.

“We’ve consulted about a guide for the sector, which sets out the safe conditions that should allow a reopening.  Talks are in the final stretch, but for operational reasons it is essential that the conditions are decided next week” says Matthias De Caluwe of Horeca Vlaanderen.

The industry requires time to prepare things properly.

“If you need to take certain security measures like providing hand sanitiser or reorganising your business, then this requires time.  Beer dispensers need to be cleaned and fresh supplies need to be ordered from the brewers.  You can’t do that in a couple of days, especially if thousands of businesses are being restarted at the same time.”

The industry body is also pressing for safety measures that ensure that bars and restaurants are still commercially viable.

In the Netherlands businesses won’t be allowed to let in more than 30 customers.

“We believe that limiting capacity like that will be difficult in our sector.  If some establishments are not able to survive the restrictions, then they should continue to receive support.”

Interior minister De Crem has shown understanding for the federation's positoin and is pressing for an earlier decision.

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