POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Hospitality trade group wants end to covid self-tests



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Café and restaurant customers are more inclined to stay on the terrace or simply not go out rather than take a covid self-test before entering an establishment, according to the Horesca hospitality sector federation. Library picture: Romain Gamba/Maison Moderne 

Luxembourg’s main hospitality sector federation has called for an easing of health measures during a meeting this week with Lex Delles (DP), the small- and medium-sized business and tourism minister.

Restaurant and café owners called for the end of the use of rapid covid tests, which patrons must take (and have a negative result) before they can be seated.

“We receive a lot of calls from members who complain that customers do not come, that they are hampered by the rapid test procedure, the loss of time created and it must be said that the weather does not play in our favour either,” François Koepp, secretary general of Horesca, told Paperjam. “We are caught between a rock and a hard place.”

Koepp was part of a Horesca delegation that met with Delles (DP) on Tuesday, delivering a list of eight grievances as the end of the current set of health restrictions approaches on 12 June.

List of demands

In addition, Horesca called for an alignment of the maximum number of diners per table (at the moment, limited to 4 people unless they’re from the same household) with the number of guests allowed in private homes (four visitors in addition to members of the household).

The group also said closing times (currently 10pm) should be closer to the start of the national curfew (currently 12midnight).

It similarly asked for a number of financial measures, including an extension of reduced VAT rates, a grace period for paying back social security contributions, and increased aid after interior dining is authorised, expected after 12 June.

After punters are allowed back inside, state “aid will decrease,” said Koepp. “It will be less favourable. We want the regime to be maintained as long as the European Union allows it.”

The Horesca trade federation has more than 1,200 member companies. The lobby group said the hospitality sector employs around 20,000 people at some 2,600 firms in Luxembourg.

Reported by Catherine Kurzawa; edited by Aaron Grunwald

Updated 27 May at 2:30pm to correct the current per table seating limitation