The terrace can open again. What do restaurant owners think? ‘Incomprehensible under these circumstances’

After more than six months of catering closure, the terraces can open again today. So: delighted catering bosses? Not always – some cafes even remain closed because of the pressure on healthcare.

If the terrace of Hart van Brabant in Den Bosch reopens today, says owner Jolande Marechal, not only her guests will experience this as a liberation day. After more than six months of closed catering industry due to the corona virus, Marechal takes it for granted that the opening time is limited from 12 to 6. ‘We will not serve a Bossche bol, because you eat it with your coffee in the morning. But our guests are delighted to be able to come again. ‘ Marechal is fortunate to have a spacious and covered terrace on the Parade in Den Bosch. ‘We mainly focus on lunch.’ Guests can reserve a time slot of up to two hours.

At Hart van Brabant, the telephone is ringing off the hook, and Marechal has already received flowers from various regulars. But in order to welcome her guests, she has to adhere to strict rules. As if she works at Schiphol, Marechal sighs. “You just don’t have to go through a metal detector to get to us.”

Beer and bitterballen

All those rules, it makes her perky. It starts with a health check that is difficult to control. Marechal: ‘And that is not entirely mandatory for reasons of privacy. Two people are allowed at a table or more, provided they come from one family. If the guests don’t fill it in on the form, I’ll have to believe they live at the same address. ‘

Disinfect hands, do not move them once you are behind your table. It remains to be done, according to Robèr Willemsen, chairman of Koninklijke Horeca Nederland. You can also sit on the terrace at his businesses in Rotterdam and Berkel en Rodenrijs. ‘A small ray of hope, because this reopening will only cost money. In addition, most cafes do not have terraces. We will open for beer and bitterballen, a large part of the catering industry is of no use to this. This cabinet does not show progressive insights. ‘

Thomas Anderiesen also opens the terraces of his twenty cafés in Amsterdam with mixed feelings. Together with colleague Riad Farhat, one of the Three Wise Men from East who own at least twenty cafés in (the east of) the capital, he started an action under the hashtag #dit doesn’t work. Soon it will be pouring with rain, says Anderiesen. ‘Then people stay away. You are faced with full refrigerators and employees that you can send home again. So that doesn’t work. ‘

Anderiesen calls the relaxation mainly symbolic politics. For example, the terrace of his café Hannekes Boom offers space for up to 300 guests with a distance of 1.5 meters, yet Anderiesen can allow a maximum of 50. ‘As one entrepreneur said: we should be happy with broken toys. It feels as if we are being put to the government’s cart. The population wants something, so we put a tick behind the reopening of the catering industry. ‘

It now costs Anderiesen more to open the terraces than it yields. He has suffered ‘many millions’ in lost sales because of the pandemic and is surviving thanks to the support of the government. Nevertheless, the bottom is in sight, according to Anderiesen.

‘In any case, give us the space to serve breakfast or dinner. Soon people will come to the terrace at a quarter past five after work and I have to give them the bill half an hour later. And last year café owners were already fined if they closed a minute late. ‘

Some catering owners refuse to open the terraces for reasons of principle. Sander Haafkes has already explained it to the regulars of café De Stier in Eibergen. As long as the pressure on healthcare remains high, his café will remain closed. ‘I understand that people are euphoric now that they can finally drink a beer on a terrace again,’ says Haafkes. “But I find reopening in these circumstances incomprehensible.”

Due to the corona measures, catering establishments and terraces are closed. Nijmegen catering entrepreneurs are busy preparing their terraces.Sculpture Marcel van den Bergh

‘False Reality’

Haafkes speaks of a ‘false reality’ that visits to terraces can be properly regulated. ‘This decision was taken under pressure from a few mayors in the big cities, but the reality is different. Do you really think that all visitors will stay behind their table all afternoon like sheep? ‘

The owner of De Stier predicts that many guests in the ‘wet’ catering industry will immediately start drinking beer from 12 noon. ‘As a result, more visits to the toilet, people are happy and start to touch each other. That one and a half meters distance is an illusion, it cannot be regulated. ‘

Reopening is not appropriate now, says Haafkes. ‘Now people will continue the party at home after 6 o’clock, resulting in more infections. This relaxation is only counterproductive. If it had waited three to four weeks for the pressure on the ICs to decrease again, the cafes could stay open until ten o’clock in the evening. And a decent turnover is possible again. ‘

Yet Jolande Marechal already cherishes the joy of the clientele in Hart van Brabant. ‘For those delighted people I can’t make it to stay closed, can I? We’re going to have a party. ‘

The rules of the government

The opening hours of the outdoor terraces are from 12:00 to a maximum of 6:00 pm.

There is a mandatory reservation of seats in advance. This can be done at the door.

A maximum of 2 people are seated 1.5 meters away at a table. Unless it concerns people from the same household and children up to and including 12 years old.

A maximum of 50 people applies per outside terrace.

With cough screens between tables, tables may also be less than 1.5 meters apart.

A health check and a request to register are mandatory. The GGD may use the data for source and contact research.

The terrace visitors stay seated as much as possible. Relocation does not happen unnecessarily.

There is no self service.

Visitors are only allowed in for toilet and wardrobe visits or to pay. Visitors must wear a mouth mask inside.

Contactless payments are made as much as possible.

There is no entertainment (such as live performances and video screens) on or around the terrace.

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