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Hungry customers book tables at outdoor cafes

Before outdoor terraces of catering establishments have even been opened, tables have been booked in advance, Santa Graikste, executive director of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants told Latvian Radio May 7.

As of Friday, cafes, restaurants and other catering establishments may open their outdoor seating areas for guests after a standstill that lasted over a half-year.

The demand is high, both because people have been looking forward to terraces opening and because not all catering establishments will open them, Graikste said. Around 70% of entrepreneurs will resume work on outdoor terraces, according to the association.

Some companies have chosen not to open yet, given the unstable weather conditions or inability to comply with government-imposed safety requirements.

Graikste said that “the road to opening the terraces was long and complicated enough”. She said the decision to allow caterers to open terraces to visitors is important for entrepreneurs to retain employees. At the same time, it is important for entrepreneurs to resume their work, as the granting of funds to companies affected by the Covid-19 crisis will soon end. On average, about 50% of the total turnover of a company is derived from customers on outdoor terraces.

Graikste said that the epidemiological requirements on the terraces would not be difficult to meet, but it could be more difficult to control people at the beginning.

“Opening up the terraces and meeting epidemiological requirements is a small step toward providing services also indoors in the near future.” Given that entrepreneurs want to work in the long term, monitoring compliance with safety measures will not be problematic for employees, Graikste said.

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