Corona restrictions: innkeepers are desperate: “Not a single guest came in one evening”
Düsseldorf The Hansekai is a popular restaurant in Hamburg, it is located directly on the water. But since the 3G rule has been in place (vaccinated, recovered or tested) and now the 2G rule (vaccinated or recovered), many guests have stayed away. The turnover of the Hansekai has collapsed by 70 percent. “There was even one evening when not a single guest came,” says managing director Jan Matthiesen in frustration. He only leaves the kitchen open because of the delivery business.
All Christmas parties in the Hansekai were also canceled. Matthiesen understands this: “But the catering industry lives from the Christmas business in December,” says the restaurateur, who also runs an event location and catering.
“There has to be a ‘vaccination bang’ or even compulsory vaccination as soon as possible,” demands Matthiesen. If that doesn’t help, nationwide temporary closings shouldn’t be ruled out. “That would make more sense than unprofitable business with 2G well into 2022,” said Matthiesen.
The nationwide introduction of 2G for gastronomy, which was decided on Thursday by the federal and state governments, was already in effect almost everywhere. With serious consequences: The income of the crisis industry will be reduced by an additional one billion euros in December alone, calculated the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW).
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However, some countries have long since introduced 2G plus for gastronomy, and those who have recovered and who have been vaccinated also need daily tests for visiting restaurants. In Lower Saxony, 2G plus has been in effect for the catering trade since Wednesday – despite comparatively moderate incidences. In Saarland, 2G plus has been required since Thursday, in Rhineland-Palatinate from Saturday. And in Baden-Württemberg, from Saturday, only those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered with tests will be allowed to visit restaurants.
“Lockdown through the back door”
The industry, on the other hand, is in a storm: “With 2G plus, there is a great risk that restaurants and hotels generate so little sales that opening them is no longer worthwhile. That would be a lockdown through the back door, ”Dehoga President Guido Zöllick has been warning for some time.
The L’Osteria restaurants in Hanover, for example, have only been allowed to admit those who have recovered and who have been vaccinated who have had a negative test since Wednesday. Mirko Silz, head of the pizza and pasta chain with 150 branches across Europe, is outraged and desperate at the same time: “2G plus is tantamount to a lockdown for the industry and is causing another economic catastrophe for the catering industry. The effort of having to do a test before going to a restaurant is too high for many vaccinated and convalescent people. ”In the regions affected by 2G plus, L’Osteria is already recording a significant decline in sales. The guests are insecure and meet at home instead of in a professionally ventilated restaurant.
L’Osteria is currently suing the Munich Administrative Court by urgent action against unequal treatment. “How can it be, for example, that company canteens can be visited by unvaccinated people with a test, while in the catering trade even vaccinated people have to present a test?” Silz reserves the right to take legal action in other federal states.
According to Silz, the absence of guests also unsettled the employees, who the catering industry has only just been able to win back with difficulty. According to Dehoga, there is a risk of losing another 100,000 employees who will migrate due to short-time work.
Silz also wants to keep the restaurants open at 2G plus as long as possible in order to send as few employees as possible on short-time work. “We owe that to our employees,” said the entrepreneur.
“Help that is based on sales, not on fixed costs”
The organizer GOP Varieté, who entertains its guests with a menu, is also concerned. The family business operates seven permanent houses that have previously opened under 3G, 2G or 2G plus, depending on the state. Managing director Olaf Stegmann senses increasing uncertainty among the guests. Business got off to a strong start in the fall. But for two weeks now, ticket sales have plummeted. In addition, many company celebrations were canceled. What worries him: “We also have to play if only 90 instead of 330 guests come,” said Stegmann. “As soon as the load drops below 70 percent, it becomes financially difficult. We still have to pay artists, cooks and service staff. “
“The entire catering and event industry urgently needs economic aid that is based on sales in previous years, similar to the December 2020 aid,” demands Stegmann. “Bridging aids that only reimburse a portion of the fixed costs would be of little use.” This would not cover the artists’ fees and personnel costs.
So far, the GOP group with almost 1000 employees has survived the pandemic without any problems. “But only because we had done well beforehand,” said Stegmann. “We had to survive a full year with marginal corona aid.” In March 2021, seven-figure November and December aid finally brought relief. However, the family business had previously contributed a high seven-figure sum itself.
More: “With 2G, half of the business is lost” – landlords are already thinking about short-time working again