Some adapt and persist, but for others, their passion has become a nightmare.
The sector has been on shaky ground since the beginning of the health crisis. Closure, reopening, entry conditions: restaurant owners no longer know where to stand. To lighten the financial burden, the Monegasque authorities have introduced free occupation of the streets for their terraces since January. Is this little compensation for establishments that are suffering?
“I’m in debt to an extent you can’t even imagine. Free terraces are good, of course, but we were already asking for them a year ago” confided a restaurant owner in the La Condamine district. A fatalism and a cry of alarm that can be found in other accounts, where most of them do not wish to speak on the subject but have a look that speaks volumes. And that’s without mentioning the checks of the health pass.
A reflex to develop
At the Larvotto and its newly renovated resort, the Note Bleue has a remarkably well-functioning system. “Everyone plays the game, we thought it was going to be more complicated” confirms a manager. “Obviously it delays the reception a little bit, but on the whole it’s not a superhuman task either“.
This is due to upstream preparation of the clientele at the time of booking: “we ask them to prepare what they need: resident permit, Monegasque employee card, PCR test less than 48 hours old or valid health pass” and a habit that is slowly taking hold among consumers: “people are not unwilling, on the whole everyone has their pass“.
Restaurants at wits’ end
Back in La Condamine, the atmosphere is diametrically opposed. “Today I am no longer a restauranteur, I spend my time checking people. It takes five minutes to seat a customer. And it’s complicated to manage all the health passes: a Mexican with a paper without a QR code, an Egyptian with a paper in Arabic that you have to understand”. All this trouble is necessary and compulsory: restaurant owners are checked two or three times a week, making them live in fear of an administrative closure.
“We rely on the regulars, the locals. Many have warned me: sorry, but from the 23rd, you won’t see us anymore“, says a restaurant owner. The 23rd of August is the extension of the compulsory health pass for all. And in this respect, the confusion is unanimous on this side of town: “I don’t understand the people who make these decisions, they are out of touch with reality”. The reason? Lack of staff in the restaurants. The manager of a restaurant-bar, who can’t see the end of it, laments “I would need someone full-time to take care of this, but we don’t have the means”.
Before leaving, our restauranteur delivers a poignant speech: “I can’t take it anymore. Catering was a passion, now it’s hell. I will never force my staff to be vaccinated. If we have to close in September because of this, we’ll close. That’s what it’s come to“. The alarm bells are ringing.