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D-Day for lifting restrictions: restaurants “won’t be increasing table numbers”

With tomorrow (Friday) October 1 being the day multiple Covid restrictions are finally lifted, reports suggests restaurants won’t be rushing to replace tables removed during the pandemic.

The reason is all down to money – or rather lack of it.

In fact, national restaurant association PRO.VAR is advising its members to ‘restructure’ their businesses – and even increase prices.

PRO.VAR president Daniel Serra of the PRO.VAR told TSF radio: “This is a very labour intensive sector. Increasing turnover by 10% requires another 10% of labour”.

If restaurants try to increase table numbers without increasing staff, their reputations will suffer. Thus PRO.VAR’s advice has been: “restructure your businesses in order to improve service and quality, with a repositioning of price”.

Another problem is a lack of good workers. This too has led to an increase in salaries, as businesses try to hold on to the staff they have, which “obviously will reflect” in an increase in prices for the consumer”, says Mr Serra.

Rounding off the scenario is what TSF describes as “an increase in the price of raw materials”.

With the cost of gas and electricity also due to see an increase from tomorrow, the bottom line is that a meal out this autumn is likely to cost more than it used to.

But the restrictions on wearing masks and having to show Covid Digital Certificates at the door (for weekend seating inside) will all be going by the board as Portugal embarks on ‘phase three’ of its carefully-pondered deconfinement plan.