WKÖ: Kraus-Winkler and Pulker: “Regional solutions and pub gardens are bright spots, but most of the businesses do not benefit.”
“Even if the way announced on Monday a regionally different approach and first opening steps in Vorarlberg as well as the Austria-wide opening of the pub gardens from Easter Frustration and disappointment prevail for the majority of our businesses, because for them this means an extension of the lockdown, “comment the representatives of the hotel and catering trade associations in the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ), Susanne Kraus-Winkler and Mario Pulker the current timetable of the federal government.
Since the permanent lockdown is an enormous burden for entrepreneurs and their employees as well as guests, many companies had pressed for a quick opening. “What must now follow quickly parallel to the test run in Vorarlberg is a perspective for all of our companies in all federal states.”
Kraus-Winkler: “We have shown how safe opening works and have done our homework. Prevention and hygiene measures are on the table, together with entry tests as well as distance and mask requirements, we could have offered our guests the greatest possible security. You have to go on holiday in Austria believe again. “
The fact that it is now ‘Please wait’ again for almost everyone affects not only the companies in the marrow. “People in Austria also urgently need safe meeting places again, they just want to have a good meal again or spend a few relaxing days away from their own living room. We know from surveys that they are willing to take all the necessary security measures for this.” emphasizes gastro chairman Pulker.
Companies urgently need perspective and the ability to plan
The fact that Austria-wide opening of the catering and hotel industry is not finally within reach, as hoped, is a major setback for the tourism industry. “It was important to us that all those who want to open can now open. The virus will be with us for even longer, so we have to find a practicable, feasible way to live with it,” says Pulker with conviction. The lack of planning security also weighs heavily on entrepreneurs.
Hotel spokeswoman Kraus-Winkler: “We have repeatedly pointed out the necessary lead time. With each further postponement, more and more companies, but also employees lose confidence in a predictable, early opening. The longer this is delayed, the more so It will also be more difficult to keep employees or to find them for the coming season. “
Establish long-term measures
The current results of the previous winter season reflect the dramatic situation of the establishments – with a fall in overnight stays of 92.3% from November 2020 to January 2021. The massive drop in overnight stays naturally leads to high sales losses that cannot be fully compensated by the aid measures.
Kraus-Winkler emphasizes that a long-term solution is urgently needed for the companies’ incurring and still to be borrowed – through bridging loans and deferred taxes and duties: “That can only mean: Reduce the debt burden, strengthen equity and, in addition, secure liquidity again now, which is very important. Companies have their backs to the wall here. “
“Have a foot in the door”
The head of the Chamber of Commerce, Harald Mahrer, told APA: “Now we have our foot in the door. And Secretary General Karlheinz Kopf adds: “” Illegal meetings and celebrations without tests and without security measures are a much greater risk than opening up on the basis of all concepts that have already worked in the summer. “