The OMT advises the cabinet to adjust the closing times for the catering industry and the group size for a period of two weeks, sources report to RTL Nieuws. Furthermore, events should be canceled and cinemas and theaters closed.
It is not clear whether these measures are actually being taken. The cabinet will meet further this evening. If it is up to catering entrepreneurs, the plan will immediately be discarded.
“It would be terrible if we had to close earlier. It is the umpteenth time that we have to take measures,” responds Sander Ouburg, manager at cafe XO in Haarlem.
Having to close earlier is a big problem, he thinks. Before corona, XO only closed at 4 a.m. on the weekend. Then XO was also a club later in the evening, according to Ouburg.
In itself it is still doable, he thinks, now that the catering industry has to close at midnight. “There is still a nice atmosphere until 12 o’clock in the morning. But if the closing time goes to 10 o’clock in the evening, it will hurt very much. I don’t see it happening that customers come earlier and already start at 7 o’clock go beer.”
‘Horeca fastest the jack’
“We thought: if for heaven’s sake there isn’t another lockdown, then the catering industry is the fastest de Sjaak”, adds Bibi Bodegem. Together with her husband Nicolai Huls she owns wine bar Nic & I in Zutphen.
“It is the umpteenth time that we have to move flexibly, that demands a lot from us, as an organization and as a person. On the other hand, we are rational people who believe that we should do what the government asks,” says Bodegem.
‘Closing at 6:00 pm really a sof’
Fortunately, the late hours are not the most important thing for Nic & I, she thinks that if the closing times for the catering industry go to 10 p.m. “But if the closing time gets to 8pm or even 6pm, then it’s a different story. Forced closing at 6pm would be a real pain. We have eaters too.”
Huls is tougher in his judgment: “The catering industry is always sacrificed to get it under control, it is a financial loss if we have to close earlier.”
It is also difficult for staff, says Oburg from Haarlem. “In recent months we have had to hire new people, because many of them have found work elsewhere. If we have to close earlier, we will have too many staff.”
At XO they also have employees with zero-hours contracts, “but I hope we can keep them.”
‘Demands a lot, also from artists and the public’
Also in the theater world they are not happy about possible measures. “We have just come out of a period when we had to be closed for a longer period of time. We are very happy that we can now receive an audience again,” says Jasper Weck, head of marketing at Theater de Veste in Delft, disappointed. “This asks a lot, also from the artists and the public.”
Theater producers also fear that they will be hit hard. “A new lockdown in which theaters have to close their doors again would mean a financial blow,” director Dian Hoelscher of the Association of Free Theater Producers (VVTP) told ANP news agency.
“Our limit has now really been reached. The measures constantly affect the same group of entrepreneurs: non-subsidized producers, but also actors and crew.”
‘Booster shots and 2G policy’
Cinemas are also surprised by the OMT advice and they also do not understand why cinemas should temporarily close.
“I do not understand that a lockdown is being taken, while there are so many other options. Measures as in many other countries: booster shots and a 2G policy,” says Jan de Vries, director and owner of cinema Kino Rotterdam. Under a 2G policy, people will only receive a QR code if they have been vaccinated or cured of a corona infection.