Opening terraces on June 1 too little too late, hospitality assoc. says
The Dutch association for the hospitality industry KHN is pleased that the government is finally planning to allow restaurants and cafes to start operating again. But only allowing them to open their terraces is too little, and June 1st is too far away, KHN director Dirk Beljaarts said to NU.nl.
Cafes and restaurants in the Netherlands have been closed since March 15, in an effort to curb te spread of the coronavirus. "It is nice that there is now some perspective, but the vast majority of the catering industry has no terrace, or not one worth mentioning," Beljaarts said. He added that terraces will likely also have to maintain social distancing. "With a distance of 1.5 meters, so the capacity is also reduced."
This relaxing of measures will not save entrepreneurs in the catering industry, the KHN director said. "[May] is also another month with extra wage costs, with the holiday allowance. Without perspective, many entrepreneur will throw in the towel and employees will end up on unemployment benefits," he said to the newspaper.
KHN would prefer to see the catering industry open "in phases" from May 20, and with more than just terraces. "We will take our responsibility with much-needed measures to guarantee people's health. Consumers are also fed up, we can meet a need and we would like to do that," Beljaarts said.
The association is meeting with the Ministry of Economic Affairs on Wednesday, before the relaxation measures will officially be announced ."We also had consultations last week, but that was very disappointing," Beljaarts said to NU.nl.
Restauranteer Laurens Meyer, who owns over 50 bars in the Netherlands, also said that terraces alone will not be enough to save restaurants and cafes. "A lot of catering establishments have no or small terraces. And for those who do have a terrace, it is unclear what the capacity will be," he said on talk show Beau on Tuesday evening.
Meyer added that terraces are also very dependent on the weather. Entrepreneurs will have to assume that the weather will be good and base their stock purchases on that. "But if the weather is disappointing, your terraces will remain empty. Then you'll have to throw everything away."