If he understands the need for new drastic measures to fight against the coronavirus epidemic, the Neutral Union for Independents (SNI) “deeply regrets that the economy, and more particularly the entire hospitality sector, is targeted by a closure compulsory for four weeks “. He predicts that October 16 will be “a historic day which will be the coup de grace for many operators”.
“This penalizes the economy and recent figures prove that such a closure has dramatic consequences,” reacts Christine Mattheeuws, president of the SNI. “We will not save the country by just imposing tougher measures on the economy. The self-employed are being held hostage and paying the price. We cannot accept it.”
Since their reopening after the containment of March-April, the cafes already have a lower turnover of more than 40% compared to before the crisis, worries the organization. “This closure will be the coup de grace for many hospitality operators, especially when we know that a third had not built up sufficient reserves before the coronavirus to be able to survive a shock without additional measures”, she predicts.
The SNI fears “an unprecedented financial bloodbath”. “Last year there were just over 2,000 bankruptcies in the hospitality industry. Experts fear that this figure will now easily be 40% higher.”
It has nowhere been proven that the economy and the hospitality industry in particular have a negative impact on the spread of the coronavirus, insists the organization. “The hospitality industry is not an important cluster, figures from Aviq (Walloon Agency for Quality Life, Editor’s note) prove the contrary. We still do not know precisely where the sources of contamination are in Belgium: school , work, catering ”
The union therefore calls for an urgent mapping of what actually contributes to the (accelerated) spread of the virus and that targeted measures be taken on this basis. “Otherwise, we will continue to take measures that will not achieve their objective, namely the slowdown of the epidemic. Today, hundreds of thousands of independents are held hostage by the existing measures and news, as they have been fighting for months to survive. This is unacceptable. ”