COVID19: A third of bars, clubs, restaurants face bankruptcy

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One in three hospitality venues will not be in a position to reopen once coronavirus restrictions are lifted, claimed the Cyprus Federation of Entertainment Establishment Owners (OSIKA).

With food establishments only allowed to provide deliveries and takeaway services, and bars completely closed, since before the lockdown imposed on 10 January, OSIKA says that many businesses in the sector will not be able to reopen once the crisis passes.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, the association’s chairman Neophytos Thrasyvoulou noted that bars, clubs, and restaurants have been working under some type of restriction or closed altogether for almost a year.

“Problems faced by businesses are mounting in the absence of support, given that they have obligations to meet, such as loan instalments”.

“Even if the sector opens-up on March 16, many businesses that rely on tourists will still need support until the start of the tourism season, which it appears will be starting in the second half of the year.”

Thrasyvoulou said OSIKA wants the lower 5% VAT rate, introduced as a support measure for the sector during the pandemic to remain long-term.

He also suggested the government back the sector with publicity campaigns and the issuing of coupons to generate business among Cypriots.

OSIKA wants food and drinks businesses to be allowed to delay their social insurance contributions and other state obligations for at least three months after the tourist season gets underway.

Thrasyvoulou also said that OSIKA is requesting that businesses who paid for operating licenses last year, not to be charged for this year’s license as they were not in operation for most of 2020.

The owners of entertainment establishments also call on municipalities to waive fees for collecting rubbish and other services for the months they were not in operation.