Association: Half of Bulgaria’s restaurants are open, 20% are bankrupt

Currently, about 50 per cent of restaurants in Bulgaria while 20 per cent have gone bankrupt, the head of the Bulgarian Association of Restaurants, Richard Alibegov, said in a television interview on May 28.

Restaurants, bars and coffee shops in Bulgaria were closed when the two-month State of Emergency began on March 13.

They were allowed to re-open their outdoor sections on May 5, subject to rules including spacing of tables, disinfection and wearing of masks by staff. Indoor sections will be allowed to re-open as of June 1, according to an order issued by Health Minister Kiril Ananiev on May 26.

Alibegov, whose association represents numerous restaurants, bars and coffee shops, told Bulgarian National Television that the percentage of bankruptcies would have been much higher had the government not taken bold action.

He said that the goal of reducing VAT on restaurants from 20 per cent to nine per cent was to increase the pay of staff.

On May 27, speaking to Nova Televizia, Alibegov said that his expectations were that this year and the next would be very difficult for the industry.

“Many people are still at risk of bankruptcy. Some will not open,” he said.

“The tourist season is unlikely to be saved, but we are doing everything possible to save what we can,” Alibegov said.

Bulgarian National Radio reported, citing the National Statistical Institute, that although hotels and restaurants were closed in April, bartenders, waiters, cooks and room cleaning staff were in demand at labour bureaux.

(Photo: Lance Nelson of

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The Sofia Globe staff

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