In several countries, politicians decided to close restaurants while keeping other areas of life open. However, this may have had the opposite effect by shifting contacts from restaurants, where safety measures can be controlled and enforced, to the private space, where most infections happen. Many opportunities have been missed here.
We are convinced that a restaurant, professionally adapted for the coronavirus situation, is the best and safest place to meet people, and that these such get-togethers are essential for a functioning, healthy society. Therefore, we want the food service industry to be recognised as a partner that should be involved in the effort to curb the pandemic, rather than being stigmatised as an adversary.
A clear roadmap is needed, outlining how the hospitality sector can become part of the fight against COVID-19. This roadmap must be underpinned by a commitment to strengthen reliability for businesses, public authorities at all levels of government and citizens. Without financial help, millions of businesses could not have made it until now. However, we need to move beyond partial compensation.