The vast majority of managers in the hospitality ('horeca') industry say they need three-quarters of their pre-crisis clientele to be profitable, according to a survey by the Neutral Trade Union for Self-Employed Persons (SNI).
The union surveyed of 950 managers, who reported to expect around a third of pre-crisis levels.
The union is calling on cities and municipalities to let horeca establishments put tables and chairs outside. Additionally, it wants the National Safety Council to communicate clearly on safe practices for customers.
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"It is time to tell consumers that it is safe to go out of the house to eat or drink something," the SNI said.
According to the SNI survey, half of the entrepreneurs fear that they will find themselves in great difficulty and will have to lay off staff. A quarter of them think they will go bankrupt.
"Even if the entrepreneurs realise that reopening will not necessarily be profitable, three-quarters will do so, mainly because they need cash to pay operating costs such as bills and rent," said the SNI.
The survey also shows that about a quarter of the respondents do not want to reopen as "they made their calculations and it would not be profitable for them to restart."
"These are mainly small businesses, where it is difficult to keep a social distance, or those that need too much staff, so that labour costs would be too high in relation to income."
The National Security Council is due to launch phase 3 of the deconfinement on 3 June, with the likely reopening of the horeca sector on 8 June.
The Brussels Times