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Romania's restaurant industry expected to lose some 5,000 locations nationwide


Romania's restaurant industry will lose around 5,000 locations nationwide, about 10% of the total, as these locations will not be able to reopen moving forward, Chairman of Romania's Hotel and Restaurant Employers' Organisation (HORA) Daniel Mischie, told a news conference on Monday.

"A very big loss, if we look at the number of locations that can practically not reopen. There are more than 5,000 locations nationwide in the restaurant industry that will not be able to reopen, out of almost 45,000 locations, so about 10 % of locations, "Mischie said.

He said that financially, the restaurant industry is losing 400 million euros a month, but the biggest loss is a qualified workforce.

"From a financial point of view in the restaurant industry we lose 400 million euros per month, basically the industry has lost one billion euros in revenues. Another important thing we lose is due to the fact that the industry will restart easily like a plane starting to take off, we don't know exactly what the active measures will be implemented - we strive to keep as many of our industry colleagues as possible - but the biggest loss is every person in this industry that we have struggled in recent years to qualify only to lose them today."

Dragos Petrescu, CEO of City Grill, stressed that 2020 is a year of sacrifice for hospitality in Romania, but the biggest challenge at the moment is to convince Romanians to come out to restaurants.

"Obviously, keeping the rules of physical distancing, you can use less than half the capacity of an outdoor dining area, ie less than 20% of the capacity of a restaurant speaking of average inside and outside area, meaning that we are just one level short of a shut-down. Let's hope that after two weeks we will be able to get rid of some of these rules and move on to the second phase, when to increase the capacity of restaurants, but that is not our challenge today. Our challenge is to convince Romanians that it is safe to come out to restaurants and in that sense disinfectant is my best friend. It is very important to convey to Romanians that we will take every effort to make them feel and be safe in our restaurants. Business comes second. It's really a year of loss or at best zero," Petrescu said.

In the same context, Chairman of the National Association of Travel Agencies (ANAT) Nicolae Demetriade claimed that the member agencies are in an extremely serious situation because no reservations were made February-May, which is in fact income for travel agencies.

"That has affected us tons, especially because during this period the travel agencies, the organizing ones in particular, had to keep their staff at work in order to manage all the cancellations of reservations and to make all the arrangements for airlines, external partners, hotels, to cancel services. We estimate that there will be around 40-50 million euros of money reimbursed by travel agencies for the cancelled services. Cancellations will continue in the period before the resumption of air transport or there will be no more quarantine rules when returning to the country, although tens of millions of euros have to be added, especially now that the tourist season is starting. So the situation is extremely sad, that is why we are still fighting with the government to be able to benefit from support measures, to help us overcome this crisis," said Demetriade.

In Romania, there are around 400,000 employees in the tourism industry, and 12,000 employed by the 2,100 existing travel agencies.

The APT Alliance for Tourism, a body that includes 18 employers' and professional Romanian tourism organisations, organised on Monday a news conference on the hospitality industry during the crisis and forecasts for the second half of 2020.


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