While hairdressers and body-hugging service providers have been able to receive customers again for a good two weeks, restaurateurs continue to have to do without their guests. The y call for opening steps – here too, rapid tests are seen as great hope. A pros and cons.
Catering establishments should actually be allowed to open their doors to guests at Easter at the earliest. Of course, industry representatives are calling for an earlier opening – combined with specific security concepts. And that’s just as well.
What works for hairdressers and body-hugging service providers could also be implemented in restaurants. It has been shown that anyone who wants to use certain services is also willing to be tested. With the “entry tests”, on the one hand, a very safe visit to a restaurant is made possible and, on the other hand, otherwise unnoticed infected people can be filtered out.
Of course, there are strict rules to open an opening: In addition to tests that cannot be older than 48 hours, industry representatives suggest earlier curfew, space and guest restrictions and living room tests for spontaneous guests. The number of households that meet could also be specified. Despite possible restrictions, something essential remains: Meetings with social contacts over good food could become possible, and the framework conditions for this would even be safer than a private meeting with friends at home. This is because negative test results are rarely shown on apartment doors.
Despite testing, safety measures and goodwill – there will always be a residual risk. However, this also remains when shopping, at the hairdresser’s, when two households meet. However, opening up the catering trade is about more, and this does not mean presenting the new hairstyle or the clothes bought on sale. This is about a secure meeting, an exchange, a feeling of normality and the livelihood of many restaurateurs. Gastronomy is not just essential food and drink, gastronomy is exchange, discussion, enjoyment of life. And most of the population could use it again after a year of pandemic.
Such a stick in the nose is not necessarily pleasant, but neither is it the end of the world. If you want to go to the hairdresser, you can endure the procedure and straighten your curls again. Why should it be any different with the host? With a quick test at the regulars table, everything is wonderful.
But not so fast. All that procedure just for a coffee? Certainly not, the evening gastronomy in particular will benefit. Once tested, it must be exploited. The small coffee houses, the much-lauded Viennese coffee house culture, goes away empty-handed. However, the costs remain at the pre-pandemic level: electricity and employees ultimately have to be paid again.
In addition, current rapid tests only work when the virus load is very high, for example with so-called “super spreaders”. People who are just beginning the infection can also slip through the test grid. That may not be so tragic with the stylist, but with the innkeeper it is a bit more boozy in the evenings. Viruses like that too, keyword apres ski and Kitzloch. Cluster formation is inevitable.
The real challenge, however, only waits when all restaurants, cafés and pubs are allowed to open again. Because if you think that everyone will run to the inn on the first day of opening and spend their leftover money, you are wrong. It will take some time for the status quo to level off again. Politicians should know this and support the entrepreneurs until then, instead of stripping off responsibility with an “entry test”. The refore: Better to open it later and think about the future.