Hospitality industry wants restrictions relaxed after 8 December and changes announced at least one week in advance

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The hospitality industry wants restrictions to be relaxed, as restaurants are still closing at 9pm even though the Covid incidence rate has fallen below 3 per thousand, Daniel Mischie, president of the Romanian Hotel and Restaurant Employers’ Organisation (HORA), told Economedia.

“We think there will be a relaxation and it would help us a lot to know that from 8 or 9 December there will be an easing of restrictions. Then the decision of the municipal committee in Bucharest will basically expire. There are three stages: first the CNSU recommendations for restrictions, then the government decision approving these restrictions, then the decisions of the municipal or county committees. We have had meetings at the prefecture since the time when the incidence rate was 5 per thousand and was falling towards 4 per thousand. The perfect said she would think of a solution, but it will most likely be after 8 December. In the meantime, we have drawn attention through various memos and requests to various actors that the infection rate is falling below 3 per thousand, today there is no correlation between restrictions and percentage, which is very good. But when you have a spectacular drop – we are at 1 per thousand – you are left with the 6 per thousand. After almost two years of all kinds of closed and open restrictions, we’ve gotten used to it, but the lack of predictability somehow brings you to your knees,” Mischie said.

He said the government needs to keep in mind that December is a month when HoReCa was used to fairly heavy activity. “Even in pandemic conditions, it’s a month where there are parties, festive dinners that companies or people want to have. These events need to be organized in terms of manpower, supplies, performers,” Mischie says.

In this context, the hospitality industry is asking the government to take decisions a week or 10 days before they are implemented.

“Let’s know what to expect. Apart from the fact that we are used to the financial side and the lack of receipts, there is a mental problem. You’re operating in an area where you don’t know exactly whether you’re closed or open tomorrow, until what time and how many customers you’re allowed to work with. People lose confidence and have attitude problems about their job and their profession,” he says.

Remember that the tough restrictions remain in place after the government decided to decouple them from the COVID incidence rate. The measures are therefore currently laid down in the government’s decision to extend the state of alert for the whole country, regardless of the infection rate.

The current restrictions state that all shops close at 9pm. Restaurants are also open between 05.00 and 21.00.

The COVID incidence rate in Bucharest has dropped to 1.58 cases per 1,000 inhabitants over the past 14 days, according to data published Friday by the Public Health Directorate.

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