Catering industry body calls for ongoing state support

Restaurant managers are calling for an immediate decision on the resumption of the catering industry after the currentl lockdown ends, as well as for the provision of long-term state support, the Latvian Restaurant Association (LRB) said November 4, the LSM Latvian language service reports.

The head of the association, Jānis Jenzis, urged that state support for the industry should be provided until the end of the emergency situation on January 15, as well as during the subsequent recovery period from the pandemic at least until spring 2022.

The association pointed out that no plan for the activities of the hospitality industry and support for the autumn and winter seasons had been prepared, providing clear guidance to the industry in various epidemiological situations and vaccination coverage. 

"Despite the vaccination of more than 95% of employees, the Latvian catering industry is once again idle and uncertain about the future, regarding when and to what extent entrepreneurs and employees will receive the support promised by the state," said Jenzis.

In order to stimulate the recovery of the sector in the medium term, Latvia should follow the example of 21 other European Union countries and apply a reduced VAT rate to caterers until the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

Data from the State Revenue Service show that there are more than 2,500 catering service providers in Latvia, employing about 30,000 people. The LRB estimated that they are 5.6% of those working in the private sector and 3.4% of all employees in Latvia. Hospitality companies are also an important part of the tourism industry, which makes up 5% of Latvia's gross domestic product in a normal year. 

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