Restaurants protest late information on Covid restrictions for hospitality sector
Several catering businesses in Horst aan de Maas in Noord Limburg and Egmond aan Zee in Noord Holland threatened to open on Saturday after the Cabinet did not give a clear indication before the weekend if the catering industry could reopen next week. The KHN said on Friday it would stand behind the initiatives "now that there is again no clarity."
On Saturday, information leaked on the latest advice from the Outbreak Management Team to the Cabinet. In the advice, the experts said that all sectors could safely reopen again until 8 p.m.The KHN said on Saturday they are happy with the advice but emphasized that many entrepreneurs are still struggling. "The OMT advice that will hopefully be followed on Tuesday is a good step towards fully reopening but one with mixed feelings. There is still no perspective for entrepreneurs who still have to keep their business closed, such as, nightclubs," the KHN said on Saturday.
Horst aan Maas mayor Ryan Palmen said he understands the protest and supports the catering sector. Around 30 cafes and restaurants opened at 12 p.m. The establishments will close again at 4 p.m. as agreed with the mayor.
The municipality of Bergen, which includes Egmond aan Zee, said that it supported the call of lifting coronavirus measures, especially for the catering industry but will nonetheless enforce restrictions. "What is not allowed is not allowed," a spokesperson for Bergen mayor Lors Voskuil said. The municipality said they would first issue a warning before handing out fines.
The Royal Hospitality Union (KHN) was disappointed that there is no clarity before the weekend about the relaxation of the Covid-19 measures. During the press conference after the Council of Minister on Friday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte only said that he is "moderately optimistic" that the Cabinet can announce relaxations on Tuesday.
The prime minister is still concerned about the "incredibly high" infection numbers reported daily. On the positive side, hospital admissions continue to fall. Rutte and Health Minister Ernst Kuipers will hold another press conference on Tuesday.
KHN said that from all conversations it had in The Hague, it appears that "the signals are green for a reopening of the catering industry." From January 26, the hospitality sector would then be allowed to open until 8 p.m. "Obviously, it would have been better to have this news officially confirmed by the Cabinet today because entrepreneurs must be able to plan, schedule employees and make purchases," a KHN spokesperson said on Friday.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times