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    Coronavirus: Brussels restaurants switch to delivery

    Credit: Creative commons

    A roundup list published by Visit.Brussels is attempting to draw attention to restaurants offering delivery and takeaway after Coronavirus measures have seen them close their doors to customers.

    The list – published on the Visit.Brussels website – names a select number of restaurateurs offering delivery or takeout in an effort to ensure continued business during this unusual time.

    Across the capital, many restaurants have had to adapt their traditional business method in response to exceptional measures taken to stem the spread of the new coronavirus, which imposed the closure of bars and restaurants until 3 April.

    Takeaway orders and deliveries are possible, confirmed Friday the offices of the ministers of Independents Denis Ducarme and Public Health Maggie De Block.

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    Delivery service Deliveroo has already announced that it hopes to help restaurants, as much as possible by delivering their meals to homes, and taking additional measures for client/ rider safety.

    “Chefs can continue working and restaurant stocks can still be sold,” Deliveroo spokesperson Rodolphe Van Nuffel said. “It’s not much, given the impact of the measures, but we’ll help as much as possible,” he added.

    Rival service Uber Eats has offered a similar service. “We understand that you may be relying more on food delivery right now. If you prefer, you can leave a note in the Uber Eats app to ask your delivery person to leave your food at the door,” the company said in a statement.

    A catastrophe

    The closing of bars and restaurants will be “a catastrophe” for the food and drinks industry, according to Philippe Trine, vice-president of Horeca Bruxelles, the sector’s professional federation.

    “These are exceptional measures, extremely tough, but probably necessary faced with a worldwide pandemic,” he said. “The authorities have a lot of health data that we don’t have.”

    A series of government measures, however, aim to assist companies having trouble repaying debt as a result of the shutdown. Specifically for the horeca sector, there has been an announcement of a one-off payment of €4,000 for each business that has to close fully for the period — bars and restaurants, essentially — and €2,000 for those who have to close partially — shops other than food shops.

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times