'Take-away' and internet help to minimize the crisis in Loures

In the residential area of ​​Infantado, in the municipality of Loures, 'take-away' and 'online' sales have been the 'lifeline' for many traders, who thus see the negative impacts of the covid-19 pandemic minimized.

In this 'mini-town' with many housing buildings, in the district of Lisbon, restaurants, cafes, grocery stores, clothing stores, real estate, a shopping center and even a 'sex shop' can be seen along great avenues.

At a time when commerce and restaurants are experiencing a dramatic situation, due to the covid-19, some traders in the urbanization of Infantado heard by the Lusa agency refer that the loyalty of several customers and the implementation of take-away services have been to minimize revenue shortfalls and sustain business.

An example of this is the pizzeria Divina Pizza, which continues to have queues at the door, especially on Fridays, as head chef Beatriz Simões tells us.

“We cannot complain too much. We have had many loyal customers coming here for lunch. We have also had a lot of 'take-away', which is very good and rare in these pandemic times ”, he says, smiling.

Beatriz Simões says that the most negative impact is being at the weekend, due to the restrictions imposed by the state of emergency.

“We had a lot of lunches [at the weekend] and lines at the door. But we don't have an empty house, ”he says.

A few meters further on, the situation is a little more complicated for the owners of Hamburgueria Criativa, a hamburger restaurant that opened four years ago and stands out for the combinations of ingredients.

“We created a menu of the day to be more appealing and we are trying to reinvent and create new ideas in order to try to bring in more customers”, explains Isaura Santos.

The bet on the take-away service was another of the changes introduced by the owners of this restaurant, taking advantage of the fact that there are more residents in teleworking.

“I think that people, once they are at home, also take the opportunity to make their own food. What can happen is to increase the 'take-away' because, if they don't go out to eat anymore, maybe they ask to be able to eat at home ”, he points out.

Isaura Santos warns, however, about the difficulties that small companies have to adhere to large delivery platforms (the 'delivery' service), considering that support is needed.

"Delivery 'becomes more difficult because there are companies in the market that do this work, but the percentage they want is too high, which for small structures it is almost impossible to join", he says.

And if for restaurants one of the 'outlets' is being the 'take-away', for some stores the alternative of subsistence is being 'online' sales, as is the case with the clothing store Muounti.

“What we noticed is that we don't have that many face-to-face customers, but we sell more 'online'. Online sales work well and we have been able to make videos, photos. Customers have easily joined and the items are being sold ”, says shopkeeper Tânia Silva.

However, the optimism of some traders contrasts with the pessimism of the president of the Business and Trade Association of the municipalities of Loures and Odivelas, Alcindo Almeida.

“Trade is at a standstill. We have a drop of more than 50% in restoration and 40% in other trade, ”he tells Lusa, at the door of the funeral home he manages, in the center of Loures.

Alcindo Almeida stresses that most traders "are desperate" and that in recent times around 25% have been forced to close their doors.

"The Chamber has helped us in some things, such as the 'take-away' program, the exemption from fees, but it is insufficient for what trade needs," he warns, defending more support from the Government.

Speaking to Lusa, the Mayor of Loures, Bernardino Soares (CDU), recognizes the difficulty experienced by some traders, especially in the restaurant sector, but he emphasizes that the municipality has helped as much as it can.

“We are aware that this problem can only be solved with national measures, but we do not exclude ourselves from the support that at our scale we can give so that local businesses and businesses can resist these next months and remain a strong agent” , says the mayor.

Bernardino Soares stresses that, in order to support local commerce, the municipality implemented a set of measures such as exemption from the payment of occupancy taxes on public roads, which allows for the expansion of esplanades, and the creation of a support program for the take-out -away ', which will be in effect on weekends and holidays when there are traffic restrictions.

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