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Belgium’s hospitality sector losing €47 million per day

Credit: Belga

Belgium’s hospitality industry is losing €47 million per day in turnover because of the coronavirus crisis, the Dutch-language newspaper De Standaard reported.

That number was calculated by the research department of Comeos (the federation for commerce and services in Belgium). Without extra help, “we are heading towards a social cemetery,” it stressed.

“The loss of turnover is enormous,” said Comeos’ managing director Dominique Michel. “If they are allowed to reopen on 8 June, the establishments will suffer a total loss of €4 billion.”

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The National Security Council mentioned 8 June as a reopening date, but no decision has yet been taken. Even if the sector can start up again in early June, the damage incurred is still huge, Comeos said. “The crisis has only just begun,” Michel explained.

The government put in place a series of measures including temporary unemployment. “But for a normal restaurant, you still have to pay 15 to 20% of wage costs, even if the employees are not working,” said Michel, pointing to costs including end-of-year bonuses, group insurance and holiday pay.

Comeos is calling for additional support measures, such as a reduction in VAT (value added tax) to 6%, exemption from contributions to social security, and the extension of temporary unemployment.

The Brussels Times