Nine out of ten restaurants in Belgium ready to reopen next week
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Nine out of ten restaurants in Belgium ready to reopen next week

Credit: Belga

Over 90% of restaurants in Belgium are planning to reopen on Wednesday next week, when the hospitality sector can reopen indoor areas, according to a survey by restaurant booking platform The Fork.

Since the reopening of terraces last month, over half of restaurant owners surveyed by the platform have resumed business, and in the first two weeks after reopening, 80% of the level of bookings made in the same period in 2020 was recorded on The Fork, which is concidered positive, as the offer was limited to outdoors.

“It’s very positive that customers started booking their next restaurant outing just after the announcement of the reopening,” Damien Rodière, The Fork’s managing director for Western Europe told L’Echo.

However, the cancellation rate during these two weeks was 4%, twice as high as before the pandemic.

“Customers are tempted to book in several places to make sure they get a table, but they don’t always cancel the reservations they won’t honour, which has a considerable impact on the sector,” Rodière added.

The Consultative Committee had previously announced that from 9 June, the hospitality sector will be allowed to serve clients inside again, with a maximum of four people per table (as with terraces, exceptions will be made for larger households).

Opening times for indoor areas are limited to 10:00 PM, however, the closing time for terraces will be moved up to 11:30 PM, from 10:00 PM.

These relaxations would only be made if about 50% of adults had received at least one vaccine dose, and if the number of patients in intensive care units due to the coronavirus dropped below 500. As it currently stands, both these requirements have been met. 

Yes to planned relaxations, no to new relaxations

From 9 June, other relaxations will be made including among others the reopening of fitness centres, cinemas, theatres, whilst people will be allowed to receive four close contacts at home.

Despite the fact that all coronavirus figures in Belgium are going in a favourable direction, Corona Commissioner Pedro Facon said people should not expect any new relaxations from the Consultative Committee scheduled for this Friday.

“However, the danger has not gone away,” Facon said. “We will announce the planned relaxations on Friday, but I do not expect any additional easing on top of those that were planned.”