The Brussels hospitality federation is asking “as of now” for new aid and adapted premiums for nightlife establishments directly affected by the early closure of bars in the capital since Monday.
“You cannot impose a restriction without adequate compensation,” the federation said in a statement on Wednesday.
Since Monday evening, cafés in the Brussels-Capital Region have had to close at 11:00 PM, instead of 1:00 AM as had been agreed when the sector reopened in June. This early closure measure was decided in order to respond to the rise in infection rates in Belgium.
“Even if we have doubts about the possible ‘responsibility’ of our establishments for the increase in the number of cases, the experts do not seem to have any doubts,” the hospitality federation deplores.
The measure does not apply to restaurants and café-brasseries, which offer a small catering menu, which can remain open until 1:00 AM.
However, the federation estimates that some 200 establishments in the nightlife sector will be hard hit by the decision, “sometimes large organisations with a lot of staff,” said Philippe Trine, president of the Brussels Horeca Federation.
The organisation is also calling on the authorities to “take a firm stance on strict compliance with the bans on the sale and consumption of alcohol on the street, and on any gathering of more than ten people that is not organised by professionals,” said Trine.