Belgian brewers demand 'urgent' reopening of hospitality sector

Belgian brewers demand 'urgent' reopening of hospitality sector
Credit: Belga

The Federation of Belgian Brewers is calling on the authorities to consider an "urgent reopening" of bars and restaurants ahead of the Consultative Committee on Friday.

About a year after the first outbreak of the virus, brewers need clarity and perspective on when they can reopen, the federation said in a press release.

The sector wants to start a dialogue and "pleads for a date of principle to be fixed as soon as possible for the reopening of bars and restaurants as soon as the health indicators allow it."

"If measures such as table service, mandatory face masks and sufficient distance between tables are followed, there is no reason why pubs and restaurants should not reopen," federation director Krishan Maudgal said in a press release.

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The Belgian brewers want to work constructively with the authorities and the hospitality industry to determine which exact rules are necessary, according to him.

Maudgal stressed that the sector pleads for an "urgent reopening" of bars and restaurants, without any distinction between the two types of establishments.

The federation, which represents more than a 100 Belgian breweries, fears for the future of some of its members now that bars have been shut completely for almost half of the year, causing brewers to lose half their sales in bars.

"It is the first time since World War II that the brewing industry has been confronted with such figures," the federation stated, adding that it fears for "major financial problems" in 2021, not only for the whole hospitality sector, but also for the brewers.

In January, the hospitality sector already called on Prime Minister Alexander De Croo to "give them perspective, with a reopening of the hospitality industry on 1 March."

Politicians or experts, however, have not said anything about discussions concerning the sector during the Consultative Committee meeting on Friday, which will focus on the possible reopening of hairdressers and other contact professions.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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