Restrictions eased in some countries thanks to the containment of the virus spread and vaccination campaigns. This is the case in Great Britain, but also in Spain, while outside Europe Israel is the new beacon to look to.
In Israel, economic activities, including restaurants, bars and schools, are resuming. Ben Gurion airport will also be partially reopened, allowing 3,000 Israelis a day to return home and quarantine for the non-immunised. The decisive element is the Green Pass (double immunisation or recovery from the virus). The document consists of a QR code, which can be shown in digital or paper format, together with the identity card and allows holders to access more services than those who do not have it: going back to have lunch indoors at a restaurant or attending an event. However, it is worth noting that out of 14,000 restaurant businesses in the country, some 4,000 of which have been forced to lower their shutters permanently.
In the US, the number of employees in February increased by 379 thousand units. Even more exceptionally of these, a staggering 355,000, or 93%, were in leisure and hospitality and, within this category, the one sector that experienced an explosion is the one that has paid the most for the past year’s Covid restrictions: food service and bar employees, i.e. waiters and bartenders, who grew by a staggering 286,000 jobs, or 75% of the increases. This completely reverses the decline from last December.
The United Kingdom is the country most launched towards a return to normality, but there has also been no lack of reopenings (and controversy) in Spain. In the Spanish capital, thanks also to the mild spring weather, many tourists, especially French (2500 only last weekend), still in the grip of the closures, are enjoying tapas and tortillas, strictly social distancing and only outdoors. Heavy fines for transgressors, of course.
British pubs and restaurants will be able to welcome customers in the open air, waiting to start again with a custom more similar to the pre-covid era from 17 May. Boom of requests for lunches and dinners. The vaccination campaign in Great Britain is fast and efficient, while in Italy restaurants are waiting to know their fate after 6 April. Pubs and restaurants should be able to welcome their first customers from April 12th, but only in outdoor areas. It seems that in the last few days the online booking systems of pubs and restaurants have literally fallen prey to customers eager to grab that long-awaited table. The number of requests has almost doubled since the end of the first pandemic wave, in a bad year that has seen 660,000 people lose their jobs as well as a drop in revenues of over £71 billion. The desire for a return to normality is so strong that many have already decided to take a day off work to be among the first customers to greet the restart of their favourite venues. Restaurateurs, especially those with limited outdoor space, fear that customers will tend to accumulate bookings for the same date before choosing where to go according to the mood of the day. This is why many British restaurateurs are implementing the “pay before you eat” formula. This means that diners will be asked to pre-pay for a portion of the price, depending on the type of restaurant and the cost of the whole experience.
A comforting prospect for the whole sector also on the continent including, first of all, the Italian colleagues, among the most devastated by the restrictive measures, who were forced to give up for the second consecutive year the opening on Easter weekend. In Italy, according to Coldiretti’s estimates, only the stop in the Easter weekend, for restaurants, pizzerias and farm holidays for the “lunch with whoever you want” on Easter day, customary for 7 million Italians, will mark an epochal loss of over 400 million euros.