Business owners demand reimbursement for hard lockdown measures
Business owners want the government to compensate them for their profit losses due to the strict lockdown announced on Saturday evening. All non-essential stores, including gyms, cinemas, museums and theaters, must remain shut until January 14.
"Since last evening, I have spoken with dozens of store owners who want to blow off steam," director of the retail store association INretail Jan Meerman told the AD. "I understand the measures from a health perspective, but the Cabinet should generously reimburse entrepreneurs. As far as we are concerned by 100 percent," Meerman said.
Many businesses filled their stock in anticipation of Christmas shoppers. It remains possible to order products online and collect them in the store, but Meerman also hoped for additional opportunities. "We also hope for the possibility to shop-by-appointment.," Meerman said.
The Royal Catering Association Netherlands (KHN) agreed that entrepreneurs should be reimbursed for the money they spent preparing for the winter holiday. "Catering entrepreneurs put everything in the last glimmer of hope to make something out of Christmas. This new lockdown hits us hard," the KHN wrote in a press release.
The association demanded that the Cabinet move forth with a clear plan. "We have to prevent that the sector is hit time and time again with measures that destroy it," the KHN wrote.
Gym owners suggested the government recognize them as essential stores, so they will be allowed to remain open. "In Spain, they already did that. There, gyms remain open in any case. The demand came from the healthcare sector. If people continue to exercise, they generally remain healthier and require less care," director of the trade association NL Actief, Ronald Wouters, said.
The government announced the lockdown due to rising concerns about the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant. "It is terrible that this is necessary. We were blown out of our seats when we first heard about the major concerns the OMT has," Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Saturday evening. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said the complete lockdown would buy time to ramp up the Covid-19 vaccine booster campaign.