Calling on EU Institutions to create a Hospitality Task Force
The COVID-19 pandemic has also hit livelihoods and businesses hard, throwing Europe’s restaurants, bars, hotels, cafés, pubs and nightclubs into a deep crisis. The hospitality sector has been among the hardest hit, with businesses being forced to shut down at short notice as part of the collective fight against the virus and many workers being laid off temporarily or definitely.
This has also led to a dramatic knock-on effect on its suppliers. Many actors in the food supply chain such as farmers, processors, traders, wholesalers, and food and drinks manufacturers face severe hardship. Supporting millions of jobs, these sectors are primarily made up of SMEs and are intrinsic to the functioning of the hospitality sector.
13 associations (including Spirits EUROPE, Brewers of Europe, Comite Europeen des Enterprises Vins, UNESDA, Hotrec), representing European hospitality, many of its supplier sectors and their workers, call for the urgent setting up of a hospitality task force across the EU Institutions to discuss the impact that COVID-19 has had on business and jobs and deliver a road map for the recovery of the hospitality sector and its value chain.
The associations ask that EU Institutions and national policymakers prioritise the following areas:
- Recognition of the massive and long-term impact that the COVID crisis and ongoing shutdowns have had on businesses throughout the hospitality value chain and the livelihoods they create. By helping the sector to stay open, moving progressively away from simply supporting it to stay closed, we can create much-needed stability and reliability in this crisis for the millions of people in the European Union.
- Clarity is needed as soon as possible on when and under which conditions the hospitality sector will be able to reopen, to ensure sufficient time to refurnish stocks and adapt to additional measures, if any. The unpredictability faced so far over measures opening and closing restaurants, bars, canteens and alike has generated huge uncertainty for everyone involved along the supply chain.
- Dedicated financial and policy support to the hospitality value chain, addressing both immediate and long-term needs. The necessary financial, fiscal and operational support must be extended for companies directly and indirectly affected by the lockdown, for as long as it is necessary, beyond (often partial) reopening, to provide liquidity to companies, help avoid bankruptcies and support jobs. State wage compensation schemes must also be extended until this crisis is over to protect as many livelihoods as possible.