Restaurants bracing for fallout from virus measures in Ramadan
Turkey’s restaurants that had been closed for months before are now bracing for a fallout from restrictive measures to be implemented during the upcoming Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
In March, the government allowed eateries to receive customers during certain business hours at 50 percent capacity under its controlled normalization program.
However, as the number of COVID-19 cases started to leap across the country, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 29 announced a raft of restrictive measures, including full weekend lockdowns during Ramadan, which will take place from April 13 to May 12.
Moreover, restaurants and cafes will be open only for takeaway and delivery services during this period.
“It has already been a very tough year for the industry. Many businesses have gone under while many others are at the verge of ceasing operations. We cannot afford closing doors once again,” said Ramazan Bingöl, the head of All Restaurants and Restaurant Suppliers’ Association (TÜRES).
He noted that restaurants are not making enough money from takeaway and delivery services and that it would be much more difficult to provide such services during Ramadan.
“Restaurants cannot be solely blamed for the spike in the cases. Restaurants inside hotels, shopping centers, streets and public transport…they are all full of people,” Bingöl complained. “We want loans with no interest to survive.”
After the normalization phase, restaurants’ businesses grew around 30 percent, said Nuri Develi, from the board of Develi Restaurants.
“The industry is like a COVID patient. The sector was intubated and was transferred to intensive care after the normalization. And it is going to be intubated once again. We have not recovered fully over the past year,” he explained.
The industry provides livelihood directly to 2 million people, Develi said, also calling for a government support to businesses in the sector.