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Hospitality industry asks for more support after enforced closure is extended beyond the festive season

Traditionally December and early January are busy periods for café’s, bars and restaurants as families, groups of friends and colleagues go out to enjoy meals or simply meet up for a few Christmas and/or New Year drinks. Things will be different during this year’s forthcoming festive season though with the measures forcing cafés, bars and restaurants to close remaining in force until at least 15 January 2021. This is a major blow for the many thousands of mainly small businesses in the hospitality trade. 

The hospitality industry federation Horeca Vlaanderen is calling for extra state support to help make good some of the lost turnover its members will suffer due to having to remain closed throughout the festive season.

The decision to keeps cafés, bars and restaurants closed until 15 January didn’t come as a surprise. However, it did still come as a blow to an industry that by 31 December will have been closed for 5 months of 2020 and have been forced to work under strict rules to curb the spread of COVID-19 for another 5. Needless to say this has had a seriously adverse effect on turnover.  

Horeca Vlaanderen’s Matthias De Caluwe told VRT News that "There is now clarity about the next few week and this will enable restaurant and bar owners to be better prepared. However, it is still harsh news for our 60,000 businesses and the 140,000 people that earn their living in the hospitality industry”.

The festive season is very import to the industry and consequently Horeca Vlaanderen believes that more state support should be offered.

"It seems quite logical to me that certain measures should be extended in any case. But modifications are needed. I am thinking about a double bridging right with hotels and caterers being able to retain a minimal level of activity”.

Moreover, Horeca Vlaanderen believes that in addition to a relaunch plan a stability plan needs to be worked out for the industry.

This would enable those in the industry to know what support they will be entitled to during the next 12 months. The trade federation says that any reopening needs to be sustainable as it believes that no one among its members will survive a third wave.


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