Scrap 23:00 closing hour as soon as possible, hospitality sector says

Scrap 23:00 closing hour as soon as possible, hospitality sector says
Credit: Belga

The Horeca Flanders organisation that represents bars and restaurants has called for the mandatory 23:00 closing hour for bars and restaurants to be scrapped quickly as it causes large losses of turnover for the sector.

Now that the hospital figures are evolving favourably, the sector asked for the closing hour to be scrapped as soon as possible or at least moved from 23:00 to 01:00. They hope it will be discussed when the coronavirus barometer is discussed in tomorrow’s Consultative Committee.

“The current coronavirus measures are really making themselves felt,” Matthias De Caluwe of Horeca Flanders said in a press release. “Especially the closing hour causes a huge loss of turnover for bars.”

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Half of all bars lose 25–50% of their turnover due to the early closure, and a quarter of bar owners lose even more – especially in party areas, a survey by Horeca Flanders showed.

“For 85.5% of the bars, a 01:00 closing time would result in ‘a little less’ to ‘a lot less’ loss of turnover than the 23:00 time,” said De Caluwe. “A small difference in hours but a big difference in revenue.”

If the coronavirus barometer is introduced, De Caluwe calls to implement a 01:00 closing time in the worst phase of the pandemic. De Caluwe hopes that a later closing hour for bars and restaurants will be on the agenda of the Consultative Committee on Friday (tomorrow) afternoon, along with the coronavirus barometer.

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