Bulgarian restaurant bodies say ‘green certificate’ system caused 80% drop in turnover

A decrease of more than 80 per cent in turnover at restaurants in Bulgaria was observed in the first two days after the system of “green certificates” for admission to indoor public places was put in place, according to a joint statement by the Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association, Association of Restaurants in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Association of Restaurants.

“There has been no such crisis in the sector for more than 30 years,” the joint statement said.

Although most of the industry had made a serious effort and provided staff to meet the requirements, there were no customers, the statement said.

“Some of the most profitable restaurants in Bulgaria even marked a day with zero reservation,” it said.

It said that the decrease in turnover was proportional to Bulgaria’s vaccination figures, with 20 per cent vaccinated, an 80 per cent decrease in turnover.

The statement, accompanied on Facebook by a series of several photographs of empty restaurants that it said were taken in the first days of the “green certificate” system, said that the total depopulation of the establishments was the result of the order by caretaker Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov “who discriminates against several sectors of the Bulgarian economy, obliging them to work only with staff and clients with a ‘green certificate’, but left most of the country open, and thus most people do not want to get the document just to go to a cafe, theatre, cinema or gym”.

The associations rejected the claim by the caretaker administration that the “green certificate” system was introduced at the request of the tourism industry.

“The fact is that there were meetings where we agreed to work with a ‘green certificate’ as the only alternative to lockdown. But we have made concrete proposals on how to do this in order to have both health and economic effects. Our proposals have been ignored, and the way in which the ‘green certificate’ was introduced is dooming us.”

The associations criticised the Health Ministry’s refusal to recognise antibody tests as the basis for a “green certificate”, while allowing one to be issued after the first dose of a two-dose vaccine “which is contrary to all European practices and is a precedent for Bulgaria. They also criticised the fact that state and municipal administrations were not subject to the “green certificate” system, and that there was insufficient time for businesses to adapt to the new rules.

The statement said that they would join a protest on October 28 by business associations against the handling of the crisis.

(Photos from the Facebook page of the Association of Restaurants in Bulgaria)

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation, please click here.

The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

Please support independent journalism by clicking on the orange button below. For as little as three euro a month or the equivalent in other currencies, you can support The Sofia Globe via patreon.com:

Become a Patron!

The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=32709292