Bars, cafés & restaurants switch on lights to be heard

Andrew Martin, pictured, launched the Lights On Luxembourg campaign on Wednesday 6 January 2021 Matic Zorman/archives

Andrew Martin, pictured, launched the Lights On Luxembourg campaign on Wednesday 6 January 2021 Matic Zorman/archives

Owners of bars, cafés and restaurants are leaving their lights on and posting photos online in a bid to be remembered as they are forced to remain closed because of covid-19.

The campaign was launched by DJ and marketing chief for several bars and restaurants Andrew Martin following Tuesday’s announcement that non-essential shops, some sports facilities and services could reopen. “We will switch the lights on to show people we’re still there, we need help,” Martin told Delano on Thursday.

Since mid-November eateries have stopped on-site dining and can only sell food on a take-away basis. They risk losing their licence for violating restrictions. “A lot of customers know and support their favourite local restaurants. It’s a fraction what we had before,” said Martin.

State grants, subsidies and loans have been beneficial in covering some costs, but not rents. Martin said that for “a lot of bars and restaurants it’s too much to handle without the full amount of customers […] We are breaking even, many places aren’t […] it’s a humongous struggle for everyone in the industry.”

The closures are beginning to take their toll on mental health, of the customers who live alone and rely on the social interaction of bars and restaurants, and on the entrepreneurs themselves, Martin said. “It’s been extremely stressful with the rents and mounting debts. Because we don’t know when this situation will end.”

The campaign is expected to run until the end of January. Bars, cafés and restaurants can participate by taking a picture of their venue with the lights on and posting it on social media with the hashtag #lightsonluxembourg. They can also join the campaign Facebook group here.