With Dubai slowly making a return to ‘normal’ life after the extended Coronavirus lockdown, restaurants have been given the green light to gradually reopen.
But some of the biggest restaurant chains have said they’ll lose more money re-opening than staying closed. And half of Dubai’s restaurants may never open again after Covid-19.
A group including Tim Hortons, Marriott International and Solutions Leisure have sent a letter to the Secretary of the Executive Council in Dubai according to Arabian Business.
Restaurant scene needs help
Together, the group represent more than 50% of the F&B sector and they’ve asked the Government for help. Otherwise, the restaurant and eating out scene might never recover.
“The F&B sector was hit first and hit hardest due to social distancing. Fear of the virus and the long-term need for physical distancing will mean that most restaurant and café businesses will not have sufficient income to cover monthly expenses to reopen,” reads the letter addressing Secretary General of the Executive Council of Dubai, Abdulla Mohammed Al Basti.
“We must inform you that in fact, it would be more damaging to open for business now thereby losing more money with rent and employee liabilities than to choose to remain closed. That is what all restaurateurs are faced with especially when landlords are trying to force full rental payment liability with the implementation of stage 1 of the reopening plan announced,” it says, urging the government to “intervene and find a solution together”.
Some restaurants are allowed to re-open. But they must limit their seating capacity to 30%. They’ve also had to pay over AED1 billion in salaries and costs plus another AED1 billion for rent.
One venue that has re-opened is Zero Gravity. The popular beach-front venue is also offering free meals to healthcare workers and freelance entertainers as it looks to give back.