Corona in the kitchen: lack of staff forces Dutch restaurants to shut their doors

Throughout the Netherlands, restaurants are closing their doors because so many of their staff are infected with coronavirus or quarantining that they cannot operate properly.

Many employees in the hospitality industry are young people — gotta make money to eat, right?

After being locked down for a year, many young people jumped at health minister De Jonge’s offer of “dancing with Janssen” and got the shot so that they could hit the town.

Unfortunately, it seems this all happened too soon. Infections in this age group have skyrocketed after the new relaxations took effect two weeks ago, with many people contracting coronavirus at clubs and festivals, reports RTL Nieuws.

A devastating effect for restaurants

This spike in infections among young people is taking a toll on the HORECA sector. One sick employee in a restaurant can mean that many of the other staff have to quarantine for five days — significantly impacting how restaurants operate.

If you thought the service was slow in normal times, imagine what it would be like when half of the staff are in quarantine. That is why many owners have decided to close shop.

So, if you were planning a romantic evening in a restaurant, you might want to have candle-lit Thuisbezorgd delivery instead.

The Streetfood Club in Utrecht is one that decided to close its doors. The restaurant owner, Wes Schreutelkamp, made this decision this week since so many of his staff are in mandatory quarantine. He says that “Other employees had to pay for that” by working overtime — but this isn’t sustainable.

Schreutelkamp has also closed his other business in Utrecht, the Rum Club. He says that “We will remain closed until we can open responsibly again.”

Business owners are upset  

Many restaurant owners think that the relaxations took effect too quickly and were too extreme. Nina, from De Karavaan in Amsterdam — another restaurant that had to close due to a shortage of staff — says that “the clubs are also closed again, so we hope it stays that way.”

Meanwhile, Willem van Heijningen, owner of the Op Roose restaurant in Utrecht, complains that entrepreneurs have already suffered many blows over the past year. He adds that “every day that I remain closed costs thousands of euros.”

What are your thoughts on these restaurant closures? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Kayleigh Harrington/Unsplash

Jen Lorimer 🇿🇼
An avid tea drinker, Jen was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She moved to Utrecht in 2017 to pursue her history degree. She loves people-watching, canoeing the Utrecht canals, and observing how the Dutch come alive in summer. Having been traumatised by a Dutch circle party, Jen wants to help equip other internationals with tips and tricks to survive and thrive in this wonderful flat country.

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