Restaurants, coffeeshops can reopen for takeaways, deliveries

People standing in line outside a coffeeshop set to close for coronavirus regulations
As businesses were ordered closed to cope with coronavirus, people crowd outside coffeeshop Nogal Wiedes to make one last purchase before April 6. March 15, 2020NL TimesNL Times

After ordering restaurants and other catering businesses, including coffeeshops, closed until at east April 6 on Sunday, the government announced on Monday that these establishments can reopen, but only for takeaways and deliveries.

The government hopes that this will help keep these businesses running, while also avoiding crowds. Customers of takeaways and coffeeshops are advised to avoid busy stores and are not allowed to consume their purchased items on the spot.

Mayors urged the government on Monday to allow coffeeshops to open their counters again, according to NOS. They feared that keeping coffeeshops closed will result in street trade flourishing. The government apparently gave heed to their call. 

Hundreds of restaurants have registered with delivery service Thuisbezorgd.nl over the past days, a spokesperson said to NOS. "Clearly more than usual."

But delivery is not a solution for all catering establishments. "Not all restaurants are equipped to have meals delivered, let alone cafes," Rober Willemsen, chairman of national hospitality association KHN and owner of three eateries in and around Rotterdam, said to the broadcaster. "My turnover will just be 0 euros in the near future," he said. "I have 80 people working for me. 38 of them full time. I have to keep paying them and I want to, but you wonder with what money?"

A helpline set up by the KHN received hundreds of calls with similar questions. Willemse noticed that there is a lot of uncertainty about the rules. 

The government is currently looking into the possibility of allowing restaurants that do not have a takeaway function to open one, according to the broadcaster. In this way they may still earn some money during the coronavirus crisis. 

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