Catering sector worried about new Covid restrictions

The Dutch association for the hospitality sector KHN is worried that new restrictions on bars and restaurants will be announced on Friday. Rumors about a mandatory closing time of midnight in the large cities are particularly worrying. "Such a decision means an extra financial setback for a sector that is already looking into the abyss," Rober Willemsen of the trade association said to Hart van Nederland.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that there will be a coronavirus press conference on Friday, immediately sparking rumors of new restrictions as the number of infections in the Netherlands is rapidly increasing. One of these rumors is the mandatory closing time for catering establishments. The KHN calls this "a disproportionate measure in relation to the profit that may be achieved with it and which, moreover, lacks an adequate scientific basis".

KHN raised concerns that this measure will have more negative impact than positive. "It is naive to think that guests will go home after hours and read a book," the association said to Hart van Nederland "KHN expects that with this disproportionate measure there will be additional unrest on the street as people will move to the public space, like squares, parks, streets."

Catering establishments also feel that they are unfairly labeled a big source of infections, according to KHN. "RIVM figures from last week show 113 people for the whole of the Netherlands who became infected in the catering industry," the trade association said. "That is 5.5 percent of all infected people."