Catering, theatres, museums and cinemas deeply disappointed: 'Dissatisfaction is enormous'

“The cabinet is always full of solidarity,” says Dirk Beljaarts, director of Koninklijke Horeca Nederland. “But there is nothing solidarity about this. We are still trying to convince the cabinet that the catering industry should also be included in the relaxation. A year ago, the House of Representatives adopted a motion submitted by Klaas Dijkhoff. It was laid down that the scope for relaxation is fairly distributed across all branches.”

According to Beljaarts, angry reactions are pouring in from restaurant owners and bar owners. “The dissatisfaction is enormous, I have never experienced this. Things have really exploded here, it’s just extreme.” In his members he tastes ‘disbelief, anger and sadness’.

In recent days, more and more mayors have expressed their support for entrepreneurs who want an end to the lockdown. “We feel enormously strengthened by those mayors,” Beljaarts responds. “It is possible that the catering industry in some places feels compelled to open anyway, not out of wantonness but out of sheer desperation. We hope that mayors will then be just as lenient in enforcement as they have announced in recent days.”

Transfer locations

There is also a lot of misunderstanding in the cultural sector. “A visit to the museum is safe and the protocol has already proven to work excellently. Now that the commercial transfer locations, such as the shops, are allowed to reopen, we assume that the museums can also open their doors as cultural transfer locations. Our members are looking forward to being able to welcome everyone again.”

“This statement is primarily an appeal to politicians,” said a spokesperson for the trade association of the Dutch museums. “It is not advice to our members to just throw open the doors. But if shopping by appointment is considered safe, visiting a museum with a pre-negotiated ticket with a time slot and a limited number of people per room is also possible. We should not distinguish between commercial and cultural transfer places. Everyone craves an escape from this pandemic: museums, staff and volunteers are ready. “”

Wim Pijbes, the former director of the Rijksmuseum, wholeheartedly agrees with the Museum Association. Transfer locations in the cultural sector must open, in his view. “Well, Ikea and no museums, that’s not possible.” Ann de Meester, departing director of the Frans Hals Museum, calls on ‘to pray secularly that the entire Council of Ministers will have the wisdom to declare cultural institutions safe zones.’

The theaters are also watching with sadness that they still have to remain closed. “If the cabinet decides to follow this OMT advice and to keep the cultural sector locked, then clarification is needed about that choice,” says a spokesperson for the Association of Theater and Concertgebouw Directors (VSCD). “It is inexplicable that the gyms should be allowed to open and the theaters and concert halls not. Relaxing the mind is just as important and essential as exercising and working on your fitness.”

On Wednesday, the VSCD already called on the new government to abandon the yo-yo policy that has already caused too much damage to the creative sector. “The public, the artists and the stages need clarity. That is why we ask the cabinet to make a clear link in advance between contamination risks and the appropriate restrictions. Only then can theaters and producers make advance agreements about how they should act. And the public also knows where it stands.”

The sector clearly sees in recent ticket sales that theatergoers and concert lovers now do not dare to take any risks. “Ticket sales are lagging dramatically due to all the uncertainties. Just like the commercial rental and catering turnover, which is currently completely at a standstill. That is why it will also be argued for appropriate compensation for the damage in both times of lockdown and relaxation as long as the corona crisis continues,” said the spokesman.

No perspective

The cinemas are also reacting with disbelief. “It’s great that stores seem to be opening again. However, theaters and cinemas have proven to be the safest places to go, but there does not seem to be any perspective there yet,” said Boris van der Ham, chairman of the Dutch Association of Cinemas and Film Theaters. “Come on Gunay Uslu, don’t let art and culture come last again,” he tells the new State Secretary for Culture and Media.

Shopkeepers are happy that they can open by appointment. “It is a great first step,” says director Jan Meerman of the Inretail industry club. “We think it would have been smarter to open with a maximum number of customers instead of by appointment. This is difficult for shops in an A-location, which have to rely on a passing public. But we assume that this logical next step will be taken in a week and a half.”

Research by ING economists shows that the turnover of non-essential shops, cinemas, theatres, restaurants and cafes has plummeted since the lockdown. Clothing stores have 90 percent less turnover than usual. Restaurants and cafes are at a minus of 70 percent. They make up for a small amount of turnover thanks to takeout and delivery.

Disclaimer: If you need to update/edit/remove this news or article then please contact our support team Learn more