Strict restrictions on reopening of terraces makes it unprofitable, says hospitality sector
Wednesday, 21 April 2021
Even if the situation in Belgium’s hospitals and the success of the vaccination rollout allows for the planned reopening of terraces on 8 May, there will be strict conditions that the hospitality sector will have to follow.
Although the conditions, which according to reports from Belgian media could include a closing time of 8:00 PM, will have to be confirmed by Belgium’s Consultative Committee on Friday, they are already a source of concern for bar and restaurant owners.
The main framework for reopening is similar to the protocol that was adopted in the summer last year, such as keeping a 1,5-metre distance between tables, explained Matthias De Caluwe, Managing Director of Horeca Vlaanderen.
“But the closing time will be a point of discussion. We have suggested 11:00 PM as it was before, as there was a logic to this. This gives people an hour before the ban on gatherings for more than three people starts,” said De Caluwe.
He added that, if terraces have to close at 8:00 PM, people will leave a controlled situation and “just sit in other public places as they do now,” uncontrolled.
De Caluwe also emphasised that a compulsory closing at 8:00 PM, without additional government support, is not profitable.