Catering businesspeople call for more flexible planning and rules

Catering businesspeople call for more flexible planning and rules


Owners of bars and restaurants in the Algarve capital have complained that there are still unresolved issues

Entrepreneurs of the nightlife and entertainment in Faro lament the lack of information to prepare for the third phase of the lack of definition and ask the Government for more planning and operating rules adapted to the business models.

With the announcement of the Government, last Thursday, that with the exception of Albufeira and Portimão, the remaining Algarve municipalities advance on Monday to the new phase of deflation, owners of bars and restaurants in the Algarve capital complained to Lusa there are still unresolved issues.

“We are going to open on the 19th, but we still don't know if the measures will be maintained, if the weekends are going to be closed, what is the schedule. The idea is to try to find out if we can open or not, to start hiring people, planning and designing, because now everything is stopped ”, Miguel Gião told Lusa.

Referring to the fact that “60 to 70%” of establishments have not yet returned to activity, the businessman said he disagrees with the schedules established by the Government, which “do not allow” neither “customer turnover” nor management of fresh food products, as is the case case of one of its restaurants, dedicated to seafood.

For the businessman, a member of the board of Associação Cultural e Activista da Baixa de Faro (OCAB), the best support for companies would be “letting work [os espaços] with an occupation limited to 50% ”, but with schedules“ fair and adapted to each business model ”.

The region's business model is geared towards tourism

In a region very dependent on tourism, he acknowledged that “many of the colleagues keep their doors closed”, since the region's business model is directed towards tourism and even the possibility of opening the terraces “does not pay”.

With tourism in the Algarve capital experiencing a new lease of life in recent years and the growing catering sector, before the pandemic, there were those who made investments to open up new spaces and do not know now if they will stick to their plans.

André Mendonça, a restaurant entrepreneur, told Lusa that he has “two open spaces”, one that still does not know if “it will open” and two others that “will not open this year”, after a year marked by uncertainty and difficulties .

For the young entrepreneur, also a member of the OCAB board, business management in these pandemic months “has not been easy” and even with the use of the “lay-off” “it is always difficult to maintain all jobs”, even because part of the value “has to be borne by companies”.

“Companies with a turnover as low as 10% have to bear 30 to 40% of employee expenses. Whoever started ‘lay-off’ ended up not renewing part of the contracts and there were good employees who ended up in unemployment ”, he lamented.

Regarding the entry into the third phase of the deconfination plan, André Mendonça expressed some skepticism, stating that he does not know if the entrepreneurs will be able to count on the “conditions that were proposed”.

Entry into the next stage of deflation is "unknown."

“It is an unknown quantity. We have to be day by day trying to understand what will happen to us and how we will have to adapt our business. We have two to three days to adapt the business, team and schedules from one reality to another. It is a constant ‘stress’, ”he confessed.

Another area that still has no prospect of opening is that of nightlife, with businessman André Pereira reminding that the sector has been “at a standstill for 13 months”, with no prospect of opening, in a “total absence of a plan with the Government to the opening or a reorganization ”.

André Pereira argued that there are spaces that being “outdoors and having terraces” can be adapted to the pandemic situation, similar to what was done last summer, but there are others, as is also the case, that “being closed ”have no perspective.

“We will remain closed and hope that there will be some outcome. There are colleagues who have already assumed that they will not open. There are expensive rents, there are many that worked to pay [as rendas]”, He concludes.

Portugal advances on Monday to the third stage of the lack of definition with the return to face-to-face classes in secondary and higher education and the reopening of shops, restaurants and cafes, but 10 municipalities do not follow this new phase.

The decision of the generality of the country to advance to the next phase of the deflationary process was announced by the Prime Minister, António Costa, on Thursday.

Four counties – Moura, Odemira, Portimão and Rio Maior – retreat to the first phase of the deflation and another six remain in the current phase, the second.

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