The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Europe hard, throwing restaurants, bars, hotels, cafés, pubs and nightclubs into a deep crisis. The hospitality sector has been among the hardest hit, with businesses being forced to shut down at short notice as part of the collective fight against the virus and many workers being laid off temporarily or definitely.
This has also led to a dramatic knock-on effect on its suppliers. Many actors in the food supply chain such as farmers, processors, traders, wholesalers, and food and drinks manufacturers face severe hardship. Supporting millions of jobs, these sectors are primarily made up of SMEs and are intrinsic to the functioning of the hospitality sector.
We turn towards the coming months with the core objective of creating some predictability for the hospitality sector and its supply chain. As soon as the epidemiological situation allows it, we need a safe, timely and sustainable reopening, recognising the important role that tourism and hospitality can play in rebuilding our cultural, social and economic communities. Bars, restaurants and cafés help attract people to town centre shopping districts and, likewise, these shopping destinations help bring custom to town centre hospitality venues. The hospitality and supply sectors should be considered as partners for ensuring, when the epidemiological situation allows it, a well-regulated, safe and sustainable reopening of Europe’s restaurants, bars, canteens and alike.
The undersigned associations, representing European hospitality, many of its supplier sectors and their workers, call for the urgent setting up of a hospitality task force across the EU Institutions to discuss the impact that COVID-19 has had on business and jobs and deliver a road map for the recovery of the hospitality sector and its value chain.