ECONOMY

Concerns rife in food service sector

concerns-rife-in-food-service-sector

Food service professionals are particularly concerned about the timing and the way their sector will reopen on May 3, a date that was not necessarily a pleasant surprise for them after six long months of closure.

The main issues the sector’s entrepreneurs are facing are that they have to procure their supplies amid a holiday period, before the platform where they will be able to obtain capital to help them reopen is launched, while the health protocols based on which restaurants and cafes will reopen are not yet known.

Asked about the concern over the dates, Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis said yesterday that “the state has given a starting date. It is up to the entrepreneurs to decide who will open on May 3, or 4, or 5.”

The platform for the support of food service companies is expected to open on May 5 or 6, Kathimerini understands. Sources say the platform is ready, but it will launch once the European Commission has given its approval. In any case, restaurants and cafes will have already opened, and it is not yet known how long it will take for the applications to turn into cash disbursements.

According to the latest survey by the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE), 44.1% of food service enterprises have no cash reserves left. “The enterprises will know how much money they are about to get, so they can do their planning; they can get their supplies and tell their suppliers they will pay them in a couple of weeks, when they have money,” Georgiadis said.

The facts that food service enterprises will only be able to serve customers outdoors and that they will have to close at 10 p.m. (as the curfew will start at 11 p.m. as of May 3) mean that the turnover will be particularly limited. There are even some restaurant owners who believe that opening their enterprises under these conditions doesn’t make financial sense.

Masks, distancing and self-testing will be mandatory for staff, with tables being at least 2 meters apart and with a maximum of four persons each.