Business & Pleasure July 17, 2020 | 11:06 am

Restaurant owners in DR warn of bankruptcy of 50% in the sector due to curfew

Restaurant owners warn that 50% of their businesses could go bankrupt and lose thousands of jobs if a night curfew is implemented as a result of the re-declaration of a state of emergency for 45 days as requested by the Executive Branch due to the recent epidemiological evolution of COVID -19.

The president of the Dominican Restaurant Association ( Aderes ), Rafael Cabrera, warned of the critical situation in the sector since they opened on July 1 and only 15% of restaurants managed to reopen their business.

He stressed that the sector has more than 3,650 businesses across the country, with more than 75,000 direct employees, which impacts 225,000 people.

“Today, under the conditions we are in, 50% of the sector will go bankrupt. And in the last weeks, only 15% of the restaurants opened, since opening means very high costs and there are not the usual customers,” he said.

He advocated that an exception be made with the sector so that it can be opened during the day taking all the hygiene measures established in the protocols of the Ministry of Public Health. They also ask that at night they are allowed to work with delivery or home delivery.

Cabrera stressed that the sector does not put its interests above that of Dominicans’ health since it favors measures to be taken to prevent the spread and spread of COVID-19.

However, he indicated that not everyone can be penalized equally, and if it is known that the premises have violated hygiene measures, he understands that they should be fined and closed. “We cannot, for two or three who break the rules, bankrupt the entire sector.”

The president of Aderes highlighted that the implications of remaining closed affect business owners, who must continue to pay rent for premises, bank loans, electricity to keep electronic equipment and appliances running. He recalled that before the pandemic they maintained hygiene protocols in their premises as measures that are always maintained in establishments.

A similar opinion was issued by the president of the Association of Bars of the Colonial Zone ( Abzocol ), Grace Heyaime, who said that everyone cannot be made to pay for the negligence of some. She also advocated that sanctions be applied to those who violate the measures.