Hospitality sector takes Dutch State to court over lockdown
Hospitality industry association KHN is taking the Dutch State to court over the coronavirus lockdown that's had restaurants and other catering establishments largely closed since October. "We are close to despair," the KHN said, NU.nl reports.
The KHN referred to statements made by departing Health Minister Hugo de Jonge to the Telegraaf. He said: "Culture, events and sports are simply smaller and safer to organize. Also for the retail trade, apart from testing, you can make things possible sooner. When the catering industry opens, you get an enormous increase in contact moments and thus in infections. With that, all space disappears."
The KHN does not agree with this and therefore decided to go to court. "Catering entrepreneurs are close to despair and no longer accept the discrimination." The association wants compensation and for the cabinet to reopen the catering industry as soon as possible. According to the KHN, the State is acting unlawfully "by violating the fundamental rights of catering businesses so seriously without properly substantiating the necessity thereof and without compensating the damage." The KHN wants to inspect all advice and research the government used to decide on its coronavirus measures.
"We are deeply disappointed in this cabinet. The epidemiological situation is persistently held onto, while the medical parameters on which decisions are based change regularly. Meanwhile, the catering industry is becoming increasingly oppressed," KHN chairman Rober Willemsen said to NU.nl. "The mandatory closure of the catering industry plus the fact that the support form the government does not cover 100 percent of the costs, means that many entrepreneurs face bankruptcy, with all the consequences - both business and private - that entails."
The Ministry of Economic Affairs would not comment on the lawsuit to NU.nl, but did point out that the TVL scheme, which subsidizes some fixed costs for companies struggling under the lockdown, was expanded on January 21. More entrepreneurs can make use of the aid and more support is granted. In the first week after the expanded scheme opened on February 15, a massive 46 thousand applications were received. 19 thousand have already been approved, the Ministry said.