Catering sector calls Amsterdam’s new Covid rules “impractical and unreasonable”

The Dutch association for the hospitality and catering sector KHN is not pleased by the extra strict monitoring on adherence to coronavirus measures that Mayor Femke Halsema announced for catering establishments in Amsterdam. According to the association, these rules are “impractical ad unreasonable” and will lead to more bankruptcies.

On Tuesday, the Amsterdam mayor announced that catering establishments who break the coronavirus rules will be ordered closed for up to four weeks after one warning, instead of two. More measures may follow if the coronavirus infections in the city continue to rise, including that restaurants and bars will have to close at midnight, Halsema said.

According to the KHN, this is going too far. “We see that catering entrepreneurs have great difficulty in enforcing the rules,” Eveline Doornhegge, the association’s regional manager in Amsterdam, said to “We are not the police, we are the hospitality industry. Entrepreneurs only have to turn their backs once and things can go wrong.”

She fears that the forced closures will lead to bankruptcy for entrepreneurs who are already struggling. “This is impractical and unreasonable,” Doornhegge said. According to her, rules are broken all over Amsterdam, not only in restaurants and bars.

Doornhegge is also concerned by the municipality possibly limiting closing times to midnight. “This can have major adverse consequences for us,” she said to the newspaper. Entrepreneurs will lose turnover. “And the question is whether it will help. If we have to close early, many customers will be on the street at the same time.”