Last updated 2 months ago by Michael Darmanin
Earlier this week, restaurants, bars and cafes across 50 cities in the Netherlands announced to open doors for customers on January 17 defying the partial lockdown by the government.
A section of the entrepreneurs under the hospitality industry body Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN) said in a press release quoted by Telegraaf that they are compelled to “save themselves” as everything done nationally by the Cabinet so far to support them is not enough. “The financial necessity, the lack of future perspective and inconsistent government policy leaves us no choice. We are going to open on January 17 under the strict KHN protocols and we are going to stay open,” the press release was quoted.
However, KHN does not support this campaign, and its spokesperson called the move irresponsible.
These business owners are from 50 Dutch cities, including Breda, Maastricht, Eindhoven, Leiden, Leeuwarden, Arnhem, Nijmegen and Alkmaar are among the ones planning to reopen. While organizations from the Hague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht are not participating in this campaign.
The date in January is decided so that the holiday season is over by then, and they will not be blamed in case the number of infections rise in December. In addition, the business owners said that they will “responsibly” get back to business, and adhere to safety measures such as the 1.5-meter distance between tables, mandatory masks, and registration on arrivals, among other protocols put in place by the government.
The Cabinet implemented partial lockdown around six weeks back, and the restaurants, bars, and cafes are shut since then. The entrepreneurs state that around 50 percent of them are close to bankruptcy.
The announcement comes in the wake of a recent statement by health minister Hugo de Jonge saying that the lockdown is likely to extend at least till mid-January. And this is what further angered the entrepreneurs.
“The careless way this was shared, and the lack of empathy for the entire hospitality industry has forced these 50 KHN branches to join forces and support this action,” the statement further said.
Reacting to the announcement, de Jonge further said he sympathizes with the industry, but without a decline in the number of infections, he cannot do much.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte is likely to announce the new measures for the holiday break on Tuesday, December 8. The Cabinet ministers are possibly discussing opening the restaurants for limited hours during the holiday season, increasing the number of guests at home from three to six, and extending the school holidays.