The Portuguese Hotel, Restaurant and Similar Association (AHRESP) presented the government with a proposal with new measures to “protect companies and jobs”, claiming that they will not be able to withstand the crisis without “a non-refundable“ vaccine ”.
"In the face of a new phase of general confinement, with the drastic imposition of legal closure of the catering and similar activities, a strong financial injection is necessary in the background of the catering, similar and tourist accommodation companies", says the business association, in a statement.
According to AHRESP, the package delivered yesterday to the government "consists of the reinforcement of non-repayable support for the liquidity of companies, the greater protection of employment and the intensification of support for the payment of rent".
Also yesterday, the government, through the Minister of Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, presented a series of support measures for companies under the new general confinement, which should have a minimum duration of one month.
This restriction imposed following the renewal of the state of emergency imposes the legal closure of catering and similar activities, allowing only the take-away and home delivery operation.
“The restrictions imposed within the scope of this new confinement, with the duty to remain at home, the obligation to telework and the substantial increase in fines for non-compliance with sanitary rules aggravate the already very weak financial situation of all tourist activity. In addition to the legal closure of restaurants and the like, tourist accommodation is also obliged to suspend activity, with dramatic consequences for the sustainability of business and maintenance of jobs, ”stresses AHRESP, whose most recent survey reveals“ companies without means and conditions to continue fighting for their survival ”.
In the area of catering, 39% of the companies are considering moving towards insolvency, given that the realized and expected revenues “will not allow” to bear all the charges that result from the normal functioning of their activity, after a break in revenue that, in December, was above 60% in 56% of the surveyed firms.
According to the business association, about 13% of these companies were unable to pay salaries in December and 18% only partially paid, 50% having already made redundancies since the beginning of the pandemic.
In relation to tourist accommodation companies, 20% of the companies indicate that their activity is suspended and, of the companies with active activity, 43% indicated a maximum occupancy of 10% in December. “The break in billing in December was devastating: 61% of companies recorded losses above 80%”, indicates AHRESP.
At the time of completing the survey, only 12% of companies indicated they had reservations for the Easter period, 32% reduced their jobs by more than 50% and 16% considered going into insolvency because they were unable to bear all normal charges.
Considering “urgent” the adoption of “specific and exceptional” measures for the protection of companies and employment, AHRESP suggests the reinforcement of the treasuries with the allocation of non-refundable support through the Apoiar.PT program, increasing the intensity of support in micro, small and medium-sized companies; exceptional support for maintaining employment, with support for 100% of workers' wages (without limits on billing losses) and 100% exemption from TSU; and support for lost funds for the payment of rents, with the reinforcement of the Apoiar Rendas program, namely with support for 100% of the rents in the months of January and February.
"When the much-desired recovery in economic activity begins and demand intensifies, we will have to guarantee the necessary supply capacity, protecting and preserving the 120,000 catering, similar and tourist accommodation companies and their 400,000 direct jobs", stresses AHRESP.