Restaurants ask Latvian government to let them reopen after the lockdown

The Association of Restaurants of Latvia has turned to Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš and other ministers, asking them to allow the catering sector to reopen after the end of the lockdown.
The association also asked the government to provide state support until the end of the state of emergency on 11 January 2022 and for the duration of the recovery period.
‘Considering that all support activities have to be coordinated with the European Commission, the government and the sector need to have a clear plan of action for three to six months ahead,’ stresses the association.
LRB reminds that in July an invitation was extended to the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Economics to prepare a support plan for the accommodation sector for the autumn and winter season with clear rules and requirements for different epidemiological situation, as well as restrictions and support measures.
«Unfortunately this was not done, and in spite of more than 95% vaccination of employees, Latvia’s catering sector is once again left in downtime and general confusion about the future and the possibility of receiving the promised state aid,» notes LRB.
The association stresses that entrepreneurs have to pay wages and bills on a regular basis, and employees need money every day.
The association invites ministries to look at other European countries’ experience and review epidemiological safety requirements for catering companies so that the industry is able to restart operations in the ‘green zone’ after 15 November.
LRB believes that, considering the latest scientific findings and the epidemiological situation in Latvia and practices employed in Europe, it is necessary to develop a new plan for the catering industry for the next six months at least.
Considering that Latvia is on the second year of Covid-19 pandemic and the industry is impacted by drastic restrictions, LRB believes catering companies and their employees should be provided with state support at least until spring 2022.
Additionally, the association asks the government to provide current asset grants equal to 60%, not 30%, as wage subsidies for part-time workers, as well as downtime benefits for employees who are unable to work due to restrictions.
The association also asks the government for a postponement of tax payment, coverage of sick leave certificates, as well as discounts on rent of state and municipal owned premises.
«Conceptually there needs to be clarity in regards to state support for the industry and its remainder for as long as there are restrictions for business activities,» stresses LRB.
To stimulate recovery of the industry in the medium-term perspective, the association believes Latvia should follow the example of 21 EU member states, which provided caterers with lowered VAT tax rate until the end of the pandemic.
As previously reported Latvia’s government declared a lockdown in the country. The lockdown will last from 21 October to 15 November. During this period of time Latvia is under a state of emergency. Catering companies are allowed to work under a number of restrictions.