Restaurant owners are crossing their fingers even if they feel they have been regularly disappointed. ” It seems that things are accelerating, believes Didier Chenet, president of the National Group of Independents in Hotel and Restaurant Industry (GNI), one of the main professional unions in the sector. For the past week or so, we have been discussing with the government on concrete protocols for reopening, whereas before, the discussions mainly focused on economic and social support for our industry. “
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A meeting between professional organizations and the Secretary of State for Tourism Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne was canceled on March 8 and postponed to March 16. ” But this time, it will be with the presence of the Minister of Labor Élisabeth Borne and the one in charge of SMEs Alain Griset, emphasizes Didier Chenet. As if all the subjects were going to be raised to allow the resumption of activity more quickly. In the government, however, it is recalled that no opening will take place without the health situation allowing it.
Three weeks delay
However, the sector does not want to reopen overnight. Professional organizations, whether it is the GNI or the other large employers’ federation, the Union of Trades and Hospitality Industries (Umih), ask to be informed three weeks before D-Day. ” It is about bringing staff up to standard, getting them used to normal service, we underline the GNI which also evokes the need to check the material. Many machines that have not worked are likely to have problems and repairers will be overwhelmed. “
As for health protocols, things are being negotiated. “ We want to apply the same reinforced sanitary protocol as before the closure in October », Says Didier Chenet. This implies in particular a minimum space of one meter between chairs at different tables, tables of up to 6 people, the compulsory wearing of a mask until the arrival of the first course or even the display of the number of authorized customers. As well as the reminder book at the entrance so that customers can be reached if they happen to be in contact.
Large cities most affected over time
The passage through the notebook could be replaced by the implementation of QR codes in establishments to allow customers to be warned. In any case, the profession is hostile to the obligation of a compulsory vaccination passport to access establishments, refusing to discriminate against their clients.
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Even if it reopens, will activity quickly return to pre-crisis levels? “ Reasonably, I think we will quickly reach 60% of the activity that we knew before the epidemic, said Didier Chenet. But we will probably not know the explosion observed at the first deconfinement. Customers are more circumspect now. “
The president of the GNI is pessimistic about large cities like Paris, Lyon or Bordeaux: “ Between the absence of leisure or business tourists and the development of teleworking, the lunch business will be severely affected. Hence the importance, for the sector, of perpetuating aid, such as the solidarity fund or the support of partial activity, after the authorization to reopen.