Coronavirus restrictions have hit Mexico’s restaurant industry extremely hard, reports Francisco Fernández, president of the restaurant association Canirac. An estimated 30,000 restaurants will be permanently closed once restrictions are lifted, he says.
Only 20% of the nation’s 635,788 dining establishments remain open for take-out and delivery, and sales have dropped more than 85%, Fernández said at a virtual Confederation of Industrial Chambers meeting on Thursday.
Canirac estimates that more than 80% of restaurateurs do not have sufficient liquidity to cover payroll, fixed expenses and taxes, and most of them have been closed with zero revenue since March 23.
It’s an economic blow from which many will not be able to recover, and one that Fernández describes as “brutal.”
Canirac estimates that 98% of restaurants are small or medium-sized, and 48% are family owned and operated.
The closure of such a significant number of establishments translates to a loss of jobs that would affect more than 300,000 families. A 2018 study found that 2.14 million Mexicans work in the restaurant industry.
To mitigate the impact on the sector, responsible for 15.5% of tourism’s gross domestic product, Fernandez proposed marketing campaigns to include official coronavirus-free certification, financial assistance in the form of soft loans and grace periods, subsidized utility rates and tax deductions.
Fernández, who calculates restaurants will have been shuttered for 75 days by the time the coronavirus stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, knows his industry is facing a long battle when it comes to economic recovery to pre-coronavirus levels. He reminded those in the meeting that it took restaurants in Mexico 10 years to fully rebound from the H1N1 pandemic in 2009.
Source: El Universal (sp)