“What’s the point in opening, when you can’t pay the staff?”

Many bars and restaurants are closing because they are hardly seeing any custom.  It’s especially downtown Brussels that is being hit.  Marc Van Muylders, the deputy president of Brussels Hospitality says turnover is so low owners don’t see the point in opening.

This is the time of year that it’s commuters who sustain Brussels’ hospitality outlets.  People, often office workers, come for a pint after work or to celebrate the New Year.  Due to the pandemic this isn’t happening this year, as homeworking is mandatory at least 4 days a week for those that can.

Tourists too are an important mainstay of Brussels’ hospitality trade, but there aren’t any either says Van Muylders.  The Motor Show too usually brings in the crowds to Brussels but that too has been abandoned due to the pandemic.

“If turnover is so low that you can’t pay the staff, there’s little point in opening.  As a result, many businesses have decided to close, especially downtown” says Van Muylders.

Life is getting increasingly hard for people, who make a living in hospitality. 

“The bills arrive this time of year.  Annual bonuses need to be paid.  Proprietors count on turnover to pay the bills, but it’s difficult.  The beginning of the year normally means lots of New year’s receptions but for reasons that are clear they have all been cancelled too.  It’s going to be a difficult time”.

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