The survey by Gastrosuisse of over 3,000 out of around 20,000 member companies shows it clearly, according to President Casimir Platzer: Many restaurants fear loss of income if they have to ask their guests for a certificate. “56.7 percent of the companies surveyed fear that introducing the certificate requirement will lead to a drop in sales of at least 30 percent despite the lifting of capacity restrictions,” he says.
It doesn’t have to be – counters Jan-Egbert Sturm from the KOF Economic Research Center at ETH Zurich. Sturm argues: If the situation got worse again, the guests avoided restaurants on their own – for fear of infection. “It could even help and create trust if everyone knows that all customers in a restaurant have shown the same type of certificate, which reduces the likelihood of infection,” he argues. This could give the demand a certain impetus again.
The principle of voluntariness
In a few cases, perhaps, replies Gastrosuisse President Platzer. However, he does not want to completely block himself against the certificate. So he said today to Radio SRF: “Depending on the location and customers of a company, the certificate requirement can make sense.” Maybe in cities, but less so in the country.
The important thing is that landlords should be able to decide for themselves whether they opt for the certificate requirement and no further protective measures or capacity restrictions. Other catering entrepreneurs, on the other hand, would decide for themselves that a certificate requirement would have a negative effect, the decline in sales would be too great and they would therefore accept certain restrictions. Restrictions such as distances between tables – or air measuring devices.
Regardless of the certificate discussion, the situation in the catering industry is still tense, despite hardship payments, Covid loans and short-time work. The latest Gastrosuisse survey shows that in the summer months restaurants only achieved around 70 percent of their pre-crisis sales. KOF Director Sturm confirms: “The hospitality industry is actually the area that is suffering the most from the pandemic in Switzerland.” It is doing badly relative to other industries.
There are still many uncertainties
This is also suggested by federal figures: The catering industry claims by far the most hardship payments in a comparison of the industry. However, the last survey by Sturm’s economic research institute KOF saw some light on the horizon: As of the middle of the year, it painted a much brighter picture, with sales almost at pre-crisis level. KOF Director Sturm: “We are seeing improvements in this industry.”
But you have to be careful because the summer wasn’t as good as you had hoped, and you don’t know how autumn will develop either. But one thing could be said: “Domestic tourism has proven to be a saving angel, so to speak.” But many companies still have major problems to contend with.
The bad summer weather has also depressed sales, says Gastrosuisse President Platzer – but much more stringent official requirements such as capacity restrictions, as his member survey shows. Based on this, the gastro lobby is already positioning itself: If the state imposes further restrictions, it would have to compensate the industry for them additionally.