Georgia in blockdown: how to survive the restaurant business?
Restaurant industry tries to survive the COVID-19 crisis
Opponent Georgian restaurateurs&# 160; covid constraints&# 160; plan to protest during curfew&# 160;
Restaurants and cafes in Georgia to open on February 6 – contrary to the restrictions in force in the country introduced by the authorities in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus infection COVID-19. This is stated by the Association of Georgian Restaurateurs, which unites the owners of about 200 catering facilities..
Restaurateurs say that they are forced to take such drastic measures, since otherwise this sector may cease to exist altogether..
They note that they are aware of responsibility for their actions and argue that the operation of food facilities does not pose a greater risk of infection than the operation of grocery stores, pharmacies and stores that are not subject to covid restrictions..
«If fined, so many restaurants will be closed and so many people arrested. –let it go. Authorities can act as they decide», – stated to the media Shota Burjanadze, Founder of the Association of Georgian Restaurateurs.
It is noteworthy that part of the opposition and representatives of the business sector hold peaceful protests against coronavirus restrictions during the week, including a few marches during the curfew. At the same time, the participants in the night actions, despite being on the street at a time when it was prohibited, were not detained by law enforcement officers..
The next action of opponents of the lockdown is scheduled for February 6 in front of the Georgian parliament building in Tbilisi. The organizers urge people to gather at 8 pm and, as a sign of disobedience, hold «cheerful and sparkling march» during the curfew, which starts at 21:00.
Minister of Economy of Georgia Natia Turnava warns that disobedience on the part of the owners of food items is a violation of the law and that in this case the authorities will not allow exceptions and «react strictly».
Turnava said that, together with the Prime Minister and experts, the authorities hold consultations on a daily basis, trying to find a way out to ease the burden of covid restrictions on the country’s economy..
The Minister recalled that food facilities were resumed in Adjara as a result of the improvement in the situation with COVID-19 in the region..
She urged businessmen in the rest of Georgia not to break the law and wait for the moment when the epidemiological situation will allow opening food and other facilities..
«We are monitoring the epidemiological situation. We are looking for a way out … Based on this, I ask you, and I hope that restaurateurs will not complicate the ongoing dialogue with us with such wrong, illegal steps», – Minister of Economy said on 3 February.
Observing the order of priority
Georgian epidemiologists warn that a worst-case scenario will unfold in the country if all restrictions related to containment of the coronavirus are lifted and that the Georgian health sector will not be able to withstand such a burden..
According to Amirana Gamkrelidze, head of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia, known as the Lugar Center, opening restaurants due to alcohol consumption by visitors carries additional risks, i.e., potentially associated with an increase in the intensity of contact between people
«Every restriction must be lifted on the basis of observation … Restaurants and other facilities will also open, but in a certain order», – said the country’s chief epidemiologist on February 3.
In Georgia, since November 28, 2020, strict restrictions have been in force to prevent the spread of COVID-19, in particular, the movement of public and intercity transport has been stopped, educational institutions have been closed, and from 9 pm to 5 am a countrywide curfew is in effect. Also, wearing protective masks has become mandatory not only in enclosed spaces, but also on the streets. As a result, the daily increase in those infected with the coronavirus has dropped significantly. If in November it was about 5,000 infected, then in early February the daily rate dropped to less than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 infection..
In general, as of February 3, 259,897 people were infected with coronavirus in the territory controlled by the Georgian authorities, of whom have already recovered — 251,077 and 3,221 died. In this case, active cases — 5 573.
The situation in the occupied regions
In the Tskhinvali region, where, according to official data, about 53,000 people live, since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 2,834 cases of COVID-19 infection have been recorded, of which 2,024 people have already recovered, 70 have died.
At the same time, in Abkhazia, where according to official data there are about 243,000 people, 11,620 cases of the disease have been recorded to date, of which 10,198 people recovered and 178 died..
Recall that as a result of the Russian-Georgian war, Russia in 2008 recognized the independence of two Georgian regions. – Abkhazia and South Ossetia — and has deployed additional troops and weapons to its military bases in these territories. All states of the world — excluding Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru and Syria — consider these regions as the territory of Georgia under Russian occupation.