Securing the future of the hospitality industry

BDA AGENDA | COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Guido Zöllick, President of the DEHOGA Federal Association

The extension of the lockdown is hitting the hospitality industry particularly hard. Disappointment and despair are spreading. Another three weeks of standstill, state aid that was announced with great enthusiasm but is either not forthcoming or insufficient, the fear of the businesses of the final end is increasing dramatically. Of the November aid promised at the end of October, only partial payments have been received by the companies - and not even by all of them. The December aid can only be applied for since 23 December. There is maximum frustration, especially among the large companies. They do not know how much money they will receive and according to which criteria. And just with the large employers the fixed costs are particularly high, the wages for the many employees must be paid punctually, the refunding of the short-time worker money takes place only weeks later.

Of course, the most important health and socio-political goal is to reduce the number of infections and to successfully combat the pandemic. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult for restaurants and hotels to hold out. At the end of January, our establishments will be closed for a total of five and a half months. From March to December 2020, the industry recorded sales losses of almost 40 billion euros. That's 50 percent less revenue than in the same period last year. Meanwhile, the high costs continue. Reserves have been depleted. 70 percent of the companies fear for their existence. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are at stake. This is an industry that is not only highly relevant in terms of labour market policy and the economy, but also in terms of society, and which is of central importance for people's quality of life and social coexistence.

In order for our restaurants and hotels to have a chance of survival, financial aid must now be paid out quickly and comprehensively to all businesses. Obvious funding gaps must be closed. Related and larger businesses also urgently need direct support payments. In addition, the reimbursement amounts of the bridging aid III must be readjusted. The limitation to a maximum of 500,000 euros per month is not even enough for large companies with many locations to cover their leases. While the flow of state aid to many companies has been slow, the short-time allowance has been a great help to companies and employees alike. For October, the Federal Employment Agency still reports more than one million employees subject to social insurance contributions in the hospitality industry. The extension of the short-time work regulations is therefore only to be welcomed. In addition to effective support measures for businesses, it is also important to successfully implement the vaccination strategy against the coronavirus.