Portugal’s restaurants dub government’s compensation plan “surreal”

Restaurants caught by lunchtime lockdowns in the 191 boroughs affected by new restrictions have been quick to interpret the government’s ‘compensation plan’. They see the 20% calculation based on weekend trade since January as being ‘surreal’.

Stressed Daniel Serra, president of the ProVar restaurant association: “We’re talking of a period in which restaurants were either closed for a long time, or almost closed. Takings were way down on the norm. To have this period as the ‘pattern’ (for calculating compensation) is surreal”, he told Expresso. “It proves once again that we have been chosen as the scapegoats for the pandemic”.

In Matosinhos however, the town council has come up with an idea that if adopted by other authorities could help restaurants keep business through the weekends: using local taxis, it is promoting the free delivery of takeaway food to 54 parishes. 

But even so, this can only go a limited way to helping a sector that has already ‘lost’ 49,000 jobs in the 3rd trimester of 2020.

Says Expresso, a survey by hoteliers association AHRESP has already indicated that 41% of businesses are “pondering declaring insolvency”.

Condé Pinto, director of hotel/ restaurant association APHORT, has confirmed the message coming from ProVar. He told the paper that the 20% compensation criteria “shows more clearly than ever that a lot of people are going to be lost along the way” and that it’s time for the government to “think of ways that will allow these people to leave the restaurant business with dignity”.

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