Restaurants awaiting compensation to match restrictions
Since people without proof of coronavirus vaccination or recovery aren't permitted to enter catering facilities, this is also reflected in decreased turnover at restaurants and cafes. Restaurant owners are as a result expecting compensation measures to go alongside the restrictions.
Only those who have a coronavirus certificate or a recovery certificate can enter cafes and restaurants. A negative PCR test is no longer enough, as of this week, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.
As the virus spreading is more likely to happen at events where alcohol is sold, venues also have to close their doors by 11 p.m.
"Every hour less brings huge damage to our company, which is especially a dinner restaurant. In terms of turnover, the loss is around 50 percent, but in terms of clients, the loss is somewhere around 60-70 percent," head chef at the exclusive Noa restaurant, Tõnis Siigur, told AK.
"Maybe presenting the certificate isn't an issue, but whereas before, people with negative test proof could also visit, then now, these people are not permitted. Now, in the context of a family, for example, if someone in that family doesn't have the certificate, the whole family will stay away. As a result, the net loss of custom is high," he added.
Tiina Kõresoo, owner of the Salt restaurant, concurred, saying: "There are definitely fewer clients, I think around 40-50 percent fewer. As of this week, all Christmas parties have been canceled, and not only Christmas parties but all other events which were taking place - meaning those with larger groups. Most large companies and public sector agencies have announced that they're acting according to the government's recommendations,"
"This Christmas will be bleak. I'm not sure how many bookings will be left. It depends on the restrictions," Siigur said.
During the last restriction period, some restaurants took on loans just to keep going, which wouldn't have been the case earlier.
"We've always taken loans to improve things, to invest. This time, I can't imagine if we have the option to increase [our loan burden] and whether we want to. We most likely don't," Siigur said.
Restaurant owners agree that the government, which establishes the restrictions, should also think about its compensation measures.
"Alone, and without any help, I'm afraid we won't survive through these months. In a restaurant economy, if you have a couple of days or a week of vacancies, full of cancellations, it's hard to come out of that," Kõresoo said.
"Whatever kind of restrictions come, there should be measure for them immediately, not delayed measures. These delayed measures create bad decisions for entrepreneurs. When we would know the consequences of measures, it would be easier to save the situation. Be it people or something else. This time you could react quickly, not think and wait even with these new restrictions. Nothing is to be expected here, and cutting this hour from the evening will not really give anything either. Immediate action and the corresponding compensation or continuing as is," Siigur said.
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Editor: Roberta Vaino