In a survey run this week by the Association of Catering Establishment (ACE) 45.3 percent do not know if they shall be dismissing their employees whilst 23 percent confirmed they will be dismissing some or all of their employees. This is corroborated by the sentiment of closure or establishments. Indeed a staggering one fourth (26.3 percent) of respondents are considering closing their establishment whilst approximately 42 percent will for now wait and see. Some 23 percent categorically stated they will remain open.
Another consequence of the dramatic decrease in sales is the fact that 60 percent of the establishments reduced their opening hours and/or days.
There are various factors which are leading to such a sentiment. The main two are lack of sales and unsustainable costs. The wage supplement has originally helped the industry to survive. However, its mechanism is not working in a way that it sustains the industry. The industry is known to have high turnover of employees unlike other sectors. This has led to many employees not being covered by the wage supplements apart from the fact that the wage supplement had been reduced.
All catering establishments claim that less than 35 percent of their employees receive wage supplements given the staff turnover meaning restauranteurs are financing the remaining 2/3rds while enduring eight months of decreased sales. Consequently ACE calls again on Government to start providing wage supplement to also those employed after 9 March 2020 in order to avoid a major disaster in the sector. The wage supplement given the unprecedented reduction in sales is due to go back to its original form.
The survey highlights that the restaurateurs feel that in order to survive over the winter period there must be immediate adjustment to the wage supplement.
The reduction of social distance in line with the propositions of ACE has also been considered as fundamental for the cold months. On the other hand the members claim that voucher should be in hand at the earliest
ACE reiterates that while the budget measures in the outset are very positive the implementation of it does not seem to be adequate. Consequently , ACE calls on Government to act fast in order to safeguard employment and businesses.