POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Restaurateurs march on parliament to protest covid-19 closures



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Demonstrators from the hospitality sector are seen on the front steps of the Chamber of Deputies during a march calling attention to the continued closure of bars, cafés and restaurants, 16 January 2021. They are carrying a sign that reads: “We are restauranteurs and we are hungry? Spot the mistake.” Photo credit: Lights On Luxembourg campaign group on Facebook 

Hospitality sector leaders rallied in the Luxembourg City to call attention to the financial and mental health struggles they face as bars, cafés and restaurants remain shuttered due to the pandemic.

Between 200 and 220 demonstrators, wearing black, marched in silence from the place d’Armes to the Chamber of Deputies on Saturday afternoon, per 100,7 and RTL.

The hospitality sector has been shut down since 26 November, and was previously closed from 15 March to 28 May 2020, as part of government rules to stem transmission of the coronavirus that causes covid-19. Many do not expect that bars, cafés and restaurants will be able to reopen until April.

Cristina Borges, a restauranteur who helped organise the demonstration, said current government assistance is insufficient to keep businesses afloat, according to 100,7.

Many establishments are taking on debt and will be forced to close permanently if they cannot reopen soon, the public broadcaster quoted Borges as saying. Protestors demanded the right to reopen if they can observe strict health and safety criteria.

Roy Beugels, another restauranteur, told RTL that people in the industry have the impression that they have been forgotten.

Separately, bar, café and restaurant owners have been leaving their lights switched on and posting pictures on social media to highlight the closures. That campaign is planned to run until the end of January.