Cafe guests could stay after closing time in adapted coronavirus rule
Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhouse will ask the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) to provide advice about a plan presented by the hospitality industry that would allow bars, cafes, and restaurants to remain open for longer. The current rule is that the businesses are required to close nightly at 8 p.m.
The hospitality sector instead proposed no longer allowing new guests to enter the establishments after 8 p.m., but they may remain open for the guests who were already inside. Grapperhaus promised to consider the proposal during a meeting with Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN), which represents the hospitality industry, during a meeting in The Hague.
According to KHN chairman Robèr Willemsen, the conversation with Grapperhaus and Economic Affairs Minister Stef Blok was difficult. He said nothing concrete came out of the meeting other than the commitment that the OMT would weigh in on the proposal.
Blok did say that he would look into whether the compensation from the Cabinet for the catering industry can be increased. KHN previously indicated that it was "very disappointed" about the announced support for the catering industry.
Willemsen indicated that Grapperhaus wants to ask the OMT for advice this week so that a decision about that advice can be discussed during the weekly meeting of Cabinet ministers later this week.
"Last week they were able to announce a measure on Friday that took effect on Saturday, so if they agree to this on Friday, it should already be possible on Saturday," Willemsen said hopefully.
Willemsen claims the catering industry is being penalized by hundreds of millions of euros every month because of the current coronavirus restrictions. This includes measures affecting hospitality businesses with an indoor and outdoor space, who have to check coronavirus access passes from most of their guests, and the forced closure at 8 p.m.
He does not know exactly how much less the damage will be under his proposal, which he calls his "walk-in model." He said the impact to businesses will be "much less."
Reporting by ANP.