A movement has appeared on Facebook where caterers are demanding to open simply because they can no longer afford to stay closed. “We are fighting for survival” – one restaurant owner said. Over 130 establishments intend to open come February, despite governmental restrictions.
Experts, including virologist Miklós Rusvai, claim that the number of infections is likely to rise again if we reopen bars and restaurants. “The curfew is only useful if caterers remain closed. Both are needed to achieve the wanted results.” The Hungarian government seems to be on the same page.
Reopening restaurants and other catering facilities will depend on how quickly Hungary can get hold of vaccines and have its population vaccinated, Zoltán Kovács, the state secretary for international communications and relations, told MTI on Monday.
Meanwhile, Zsombor Kunetcz, a doctor and medical analyst, recently claimed on his Facebook page that:
“We have to reopen! At least partially. It is clear as day that there won’t be enough vaccines any time soon, and we cannot wait any longer for the vaccination coverage.”
Countless businesses are on the verge of bankruptcy, and thousands of jobs are on the line. Caterers are becoming more and more impatient since the government does nothing to help them. They were promised financial aid, which, in many cases, never came through. They want to reopen in order to remain in business.
Blikk reports that the owner of a pub in Nagykanizsa was among the first ones to announce on Facebook that they will reopen at the beginning of February. He believes that caterers are being discriminated against.
If crowds of people are allowed to shop at supermarkets, he does not understand why he cannot cater for 10-15 people seated away from each other. “I either open or send away all my employees.”
Lawyer dr. János Rinfel said to Blikk that
if caterers decide to reopen, their behaviour falls under civil disobedience, and the government will have the right to issue fines if they do not comply with the rules.
This has recently happened to a bar in Budapest called Központ, Index reports. The bar decided to open for takeaway only, and they attracted quite a big crowd. The street in front of the bar was crowded with people. The official reason why the police came and shut them down last weekend was that they sold alcohol, which current COVID-19 restrictions prohibit, and because there were too many people inside.
Központ claims to have adhered to every rule possible, still, they cannot reopen for sixty days, and they received a fine of 500,000 Ft, which regulars of the bar collectively paid by Monday.
The Facebook group that demands the reopening of the catering industry counts over 133 establishments who would participate in this “revolution” and would open in February 2021, despite what the government restrictions say.
Featured image: illustration