Friday, September 24

The hotel industry threatens the State with thousands of lawsuits



The hospitality industry gets tired of the Government. The sector, one of the most affected by the coronavirus crisis, threatens to make thousands of lawsuits against the State for the closures carried out during these months. According to the Hostelería de España, 85,000 establishments have already disappeared and they expect the figure to reach 100,000, which represents a third of the total bars and restaurants that existed before the crisis. As its president, José Luis Yzuel, tells ABC, the sector has felt deeply affected by the restriction measures that have been carried out since the beginning of the pandemic, with forced closures and capacity limitations both within the premises as on the terraces.

«Hundreds of thousands of companies are going to claim the State. And we are going to create tools so that no one is left unclaimed, ”explains Yzuel. The president of the employer’s association encourages anyone who has had to close down to “complain to the administration. We cannot pay for the festival ourselves ». Thus, Hostelería de España announced yesterday an agreement with the “Indemniza” platform for the comprehensive management of the procedures for claiming losses suffered. The sector maintains that they are not responsible for the outbreaks and they point out that only 2.2% of the cases could come from catering establishments.

The year-end data show that the situation is more than critical. According to the figures offered by the sector this week in the presentation of its yearbook, in 2020 the turnover will fall by 67,000 million euros. This supposes the collapse of 50% of the turnover of the sector. For 2021 the forecasts are not at all promising, and it is not expected until early 2022 that there will be some recovery.

These negative figures have an impact on employment. According to data from the employers, there are currently about 670,000 jobs at risk. In total, the bill of the year for the hospitality industry could end 1.1 million fewer jobs. ‘Employment is not artificially sustained. If 50% is billed, it is impossible to maintain it “, comments Yzuel, who warns that in the coming months there will be a” record of pre-contests. ”

In addition, the food and beverage service sector is the one with the most people in an ERTE. Specifically, at the end of November there were more than 226,000 people. If those of the accommodation establishments are added, the figure reaches 334,000 workers, since 400,000 if partial ERTEs are added. It should be remembered that in Spain, at the end of November, ERTEs in all sectors of the economy totaled almost 750,000.

Waiting for action

With these numbers, the sector has been claiming aid since the beginning of the health crisis, when it was two and a half months with the establishments closed. The Government did not pick up the glove since last November, when Pedro Sánchez announced that a specific aid package would be approved for the hotel and trade sector. Since then, the weeks have passed and the Ministries that have been articulating these measures – Industry, Commerce and Tourism; Economy; Job; Social Security and Treasury – they have not reached an agreement until these days. Thus, as confirmed by Moncloa to ABC, the idea is that it be approved next Tuesday in the Council of Ministers, more than a month after it was announced. The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, justified the delay with the need to draw up a “very surgical” plan that would help both sectors to resist.

But both the hospitality industry and commerce fear that the measures to be approved this Tuesday do not meet the real needs of both sectors. Thus, both have been demanding direct aid to weather this unprecedented crisis, but as ABC has learned, The measures will be aimed at exemptions from Social Security contributions and to extend the lack of payment of ICO credits.

«Everything indicates that they will be aids that do not satisfy us but we will see. The fact of being delayed and of not having consensus already sounded bad. I was afraid that the literal nature of the aid was due to those fees, ”says Yzuel. The hospitality industry claims a total of 8,500 million euros in direct aid to stop the bleeding of closures. «They are seriously wrong because the cost is going to be infinitely more expensive. If companies were helped, many would survive, “he adds.

Pedro Campo, president of the Spanish Trade Confederation (CEC), expresses himself in the same vein. Although he waits for the fine print of the measures to give a deep assessment of them, he is not optimistic about them. «We are going to see if the real needs of the trade will be collected because it is not the same to see things from an office than being on the street like us every day, “he explains. According to the forecasts of the CEC, after the Christmas campaign there may be a cascade of closures of proximity shops throughout Spain.

More liquidity

Therefore, beyond deficiencies in credit payments, commerce and hospitality demand liquidity in order to save companies and jobs. “That ICOs are extended does not serve us, because they have to be paid, and when are we going to pay it if there is no consumption? Consumption is at 50% in many subsectors. The main thing is to save companies and jobs. So that when the epidemic passes we will not find deserted streets, deserted neighborhoods. Every trade that is lost will be very difficult to recover, “says Campo.

One of the obstacles the Government has to provide direct aid is its fear of financing “zombie” companies, that is, unprofitable ones. For Yzuel this theory seems to him «regrettablee»And remember that in other European countries where the sector has less weight in the economy, bars and restaurants have received aid. Thus, Germany and the Netherlands are the ones that have allocated the most aid to the sector, with amounts amounting to 10,000 and 15,000 million euros respectively, followed by France, in which 6,000 million are allocated to bars and restaurants. In the case of Italy, the aid amounts to about 5,600 million euros.

Even so, the fine print of the measurements is still unknown. Yesterday, Maroto was going to announce the aid plan for the autonomies and municipalities, but being in quarantine for having been in contact with a positive for coronavirus this presentation was canceled. ABC asked the Ministry if another next date has been set for the presentation of the measures to communities and municipalities, but the answer was negative. Of course, according to Moncloa, this setback does not disrupt the Executive’s plans to give the green light this Tuesday to aid.

Trade abandoned

The retail trade also showed its discomfort with the government for not leaving it aside when carrying out plans to reactivate the sector. «We do not even participate in promotional campaigns. They have taken the Chamber of Commerce to talk and we are left on the sidelines, “complains Campo, adding that” we do not admit that institutions that are more linked to foreign trade are championing aid for our group.

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