Amsterdam pub owner: ‘I’m in front of the TV tonight full of excitement’

“Many entrepreneurs hold their hearts”, says Menno van Dorp, owner of cafรฉ-restaurant Venster 33 in Amsterdam. “Fortunately, things are still going reasonably well for us, but there are really a lot of entrepreneurs who are under enormous pressure. They almost get a heart attack from these kinds of evenings.”

The Amsterdam branch of Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN) does not yet know what will be announced tonight and calls it “very exciting”. According to the interest group, there are a number of options. These range from bringing the closing time forward to 24.00 hours at the latest to moving into the larger corona terraces or a regional lockdown, for example by sector or district.

‘Stay in your own bubble’

“It can go in any direction”, also thinks Joris Loman, owner of cafรฉ De Blauwe Pan. “If it’s the same for everyone, I don’t mind. I’m excited in front of the TV tonight.”

For the first time in 17 years his business is closed today so he can recover from the past months. “It’s raining. Let’s just take a day off like this. Actually, it’s against my principles, but if you’re making days of 4:00, you need that to stand up.”

Where the drinks bar for corona was busy with parties they now have to make do with fewer visitors and half of the turnover. The staff also had to leave. “Everyone is going on holiday at the moment and coming back. While: you have to stay in your own bubble. I hope we don’t have to close again, we’re already deep in our savings.”

According to Loman, the sector is hit above average by corona. “The hospitality industry is seen as the biggest criminal. You can do the best you can and it’s never good enough. I do annoy colleagues, it can sometimes be better set up, but we stick to the agreements, as far as we can. Our job isn’t as much fun as it used to be, but it’s the way it is. We have to keep going.”

Strigger control and more explanation

There are certainly hospitality entrepreneurs in Amsterdam who don’t follow the rules very closely, Van Dorp thinks. “Of course, that’s something that sticks out with the colleagues who do follow the rules. And it’s extra sour when new measures are introduced for all catering businesses in Amsterdam as a result”

‘We ask each other: is this allowed or not?’

Van Dorp believes that a stricter control is therefore allowed. “Check it out on a case by case basis and intervene if things don’t go well. Hardly any cases have been closed yet in Amsterdam.”

Music off and lights on

At various nightclubs in Amsterdam, visitors can ‘just’ go out without coronavirus restrictions, Het Parool wrote this week. One of those nightclubs is Disco Dolly. Where normally 300 people dance there, now a maximum of 70 people sit at tables, says co-owner Pim Evers, also a board member of the KHN Amsterdam. “But it’s actually impossible not to let people dance at all. We’re doing our best, we’re very persistent, but we don’t succeed at all.”

Strricter measures he would find “super painful”. “We’re already having a hard time. We’re one of the few industries that registers people. Something like a curfew, that’s quite a bit. If that happens we will of course cooperate, but then I expect a support package. That would be disastrous.”