Restaurant owners not optimistic about Monday's reopening

Restaurants and bars in Tallinn's Old Town are preparing to open their terraces on Monday when restrictions are eased, but many owners are far from optimistic.

ERR's Estonian portal spoke to several restaurants in the city on Friday to find out how they are preparing for the easing of restrictions.

Rein Belyaev, the manager of Scheeli restaurant, said their terrace will not open on Monday. "We are postponing until the end of the week. The opening of the terrace in such weather will not help us. We will not be saved by the four people who might have to eat there on Monday."

He said he wants clearer answers from the state and Enterprise Estonia about additional support. Belyaev said the restaurant is in debt and there is no light at the end of the tunnel at the moment.

Marek Reinaas, the owner of Hell Hunt and Humalakoda, said terraces will open at both establishments.

"I don't think, of course, that commercially, it can replace the opening of the whole restaurant. But certainly, all the chefs and waiters are happy that they can finally leave home and see people," he said.

Reinaas estimated that his restaurants make 30-40 percent of their income from outdoor terraces. The restaurants have been lucky and can cope with the crisis, he said, adding: "Although it has been costly, we decided from the beginning that we will sail through this crisis. Although we can do it, there are definitely places that need to close their doors."

Triinu Tapper, Rado restaurant manager, said their terrace is already up.

"A lot depends on the weather, which does not provide any stability. We hope that we can start working again quietly and stick a plaster over the wound, but we are optimistic and expect everyone to visit on Monday," she said. "We just really miss our customers."

Aare Hallop, manager of Vana Villem's taverns, said their terraces will open in Tallinn, Rapla and Saaremaa but also cited the weather as a concern. He said people are bored and want to go out, but if the weather is between 7-8 degrees (c) they will not want to sit outside for long.

Janita Barrera-Cueto of Texas Honky Tonk & Cantina said she will open their small patio. "Our terrace is very small, it is also subject to restrictions, so we are hoping for some improvement in the financial situation, but unfortunately a significant turnaround is not expected," she said.

On Monday (May 3), restaurants and bars can open their outdoor terraces and sell food and drink again until 9 p.m.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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