RTL Today – Luxembourg: Frustrations mount in hospitality sector after 11pm closing time

Frustrations are mounting in the hospitality industry over government-mandated early closing hours, which are due to remain in place until February 28.

Over the past two years, the hospitality sector has been shut down for eight months. Despite the financial aid, businesses are still suffering from confinements and partial closures, and the regulations imposing a closing time of 11 p.m. do not help matters.

Our colleagues at RTL spoke to Tanja de Jager, owner of a wine bar in Luxembourg, who explained that most of their profits in normal times tend to be made between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Employees and customers lament that the restriction only leads to customers moving the rest of their parties to private parties, where no restrictions are applied.

Lucien Elsen of the Mesa Verde restaurant in the capital explained that their kitchen is usually open until 11:30 p.m., but at the moment they can only serve one round of customers.

In an effort to make up for lost revenue from dwindling lunches due to higher rates of remote working, Elsen started hosting parties in November last year but has now been forced to stop them at new.

The restaurateur also complained of a lack of parking spaces in the capital and a general feeling of uncertainty.

A number of companies were forced to take out loans at the start of the pandemic.

Since the second lockdown, the government has increased its offer of support, but aid still comes at a cost, Elsen explained.

He criticized the policy put in place in November fixing partial unemployment at a maximum of 25%.

Elsen concluded that he preferred to work for his money, but was slowly beginning to feel like a beggar. He further noted that all members of the hospitality sector deserve a medal for the sacrifices they have made during the pandemic.

De Jager also drew attention to the fact that France is about to reawaken its nightlife, meaning many Luxembourgers might simply cross the border to get what they can no longer have here at home.

Similarly, Belgium imposes a much less restrictive 3G system, she pointed out.

Video report in Luxembourgish