The Coronavirus has long had Germany in its grip. Events, trade fairs and sporting events are being cancelled, and hotels and restaurants are suffering as a result. In Frankfurt, too, the gastronomy industry is already feeling the first effects of the crisis. "These days, people in Frankfurt are carefully weighing up which leisure activities they want to take part in," says Madjid Djamegari, Chairman of the Board of Initiative Gastronomie Frankfurt e. V. (IGF), adding, "Yes, we can say that our members are experiencing significant drops in sales."
Even in such difficult times, it is important to stick together. The IGF, which was launched at the end of 2015 and works for the interests of restaurateurs and the position of the hospitality industry in Frankfurt am Main, wants to develop measures that will take effect if an IGF establishment has to close because of a proven Corona case or due to regulatory requirements. "The IGF has to stick together now and we have to support each other."
The problem is that there is simply a lot of uncertainty at the moment and there is no telling yet when normality will return: "We expect our industry to struggle with the aftermath of Corona for a long time to come." The wave, Djamegari said, could peak in mid-April. "We can only hope that the situation will calm down."
The federal government has just put together a rescue package to help companies and industries hit particularly hard by the corona virus. "We don't think that will be enough to protect smaller businesses in particular from the existential threat," Djamegari says. Fast and above all unbureaucratic measures are needed for this: "Especially in these difficult times, we are calling for the tax rate for catering businesses to finally be reduced to seven percent. Now would be a good and important occasion. In the case of officially ordered closures, further measures are needed."
But they don't want to rely solely on federal help. Within the IGF, there are also approaches businesses can take to help each other. "The IGF is and remains a solidarity community for Frankfurt restaurateurs, and the well-being of our guests and employees is our top priority," says Djamegari. "We talked in our last meeting about what we can do if it hits one of us. Certainly none of us will be able to take over someone else's business for a short time, but in the event of a closure we can, for example, arrange for ordered goods to be accepted and stored by another IGF member. This will save the landlord further losses and food waste can be avoided."
The board plans to discuss further measures with its members at its next meeting in early April.