Belgium’s Easter pause was ‘an economic flop,’ say shop owners
Monday, 26 April 2021
Belgium’s four-week “Easter pause” that was announced at the end of March by the Consultative Committee to curb the spread of the coronavirus has proved to be “an economic flop,” the Neutral Union for the Self-Employed (SNI) said on Monday.
From Monday 26 April, shopping without an appointment is possible again, and customers can be accompanied by a person from the same household, or a close contact. Non-medical contact professions, such as hairdressers and nail salons, have also been able to resume their activities following established protocols.
“For shops who had to work by appointment, we can talk about a loss of turnover of 50% to 60%,” the SNI said in a statement. “Remarkably, there has been no significant shift to e-commerce as in previous confinements.”
For the independents’ organisation, shopping by appointment “totally missed the mark,” and this Monday’s upturn “is slow in coming.”
Additionally, retailers will have to grit their teeth for another two weeks, until the reopening of the terraces in the hotel and catering industry, scheduled for 8 May, according to the SNI.
While most hairdressers’ agendas are full again, other contact professions, such as tattoo artists, are seeing a lot of hesitation from customers, the SNI notes, pointing out that retailers “want to be better armed against the virus so that they can stay open for good” and want standards for ventilation.