"The weekends were our oxygen". Catering businesspeople from across the country demonstrate today in front of Parliament

Restoration businessmen will protest this Wednesday in Lisbon against the restrictions imposed in the State of Emergency. They reject credit lines and require non-repayable support.

Cristina Bernardo

The catering businesspeople will demonstrate again this Wednesday in the capital, this time in front of the Assembly of the Republic at 15:30 pm.

After demonstrations in Porto on November 13 and in Lisbon on November 14, the Movimento a Pão e Água will today demand more measures for the sector.

“Saturday and Sunday were taken away, which was our oxygen in terms of revenue, this was clearly liquidating a sector that is trying to survive,” Miguel Camões, one of the organizers of this movement, told Jornal Económico.

On its claims, the movement requires non-repayable support, rejecting more lines of credit. “The restoration was trying to work, despite the various restrictions, but in the last few weeks with the restrictions at the weekend, they were in a very complicated situation, we need effective and non-refundable support and not credit lines because that will only aggravate treasury and our future ”.

“We are going to demonstrate in front of the Assembly of the Republic to alert the Government and parties that we are in a dramatic situation, we need solutions. We hope that the Government will have the sensitivity to talk to us ”, said Miguel Camões.

At the demonstration on November 13 in Porto there were clashes between protesters and police, with the organizer pointing out that today's demonstration will be peaceful and that this episode was an exception. “This demonstration took place in Porto on the 13th, and in the meantime others have already taken place in several cities and were completely peaceful and we want this to be also. It was an exceptional situation and shows the desperation of all professionals in the restaurant, bars and clubs ”.

The demonstration was scheduled for November 25 because it was the deadline for paying taxes to the state, as the organizers announced last week. However, on Saturday, the Government decided to extend the payment that must be made by the micro, small and medium-sized companies of the quarterly VAT for another five days until November 30. These companies can also pay in three or six monthly installments, with a value equal to or greater than 25 euros, without interest.

Regarding the postponement of the payment of VAT, the businessman considers that it is only a “palliative” for the sector and points out that many entrepreneurs had already made the payment of VAT on Friday, 20 November.

Miguel Camões characterizes the movement as “popular and spontaneous, completely non-partisan” that “started on social networks”.

“Since the beginning we want to be part of the solution, we understand that the situation is extreme, but there are certain measures by the Government that are an attack on the economy and private initiative and we do not see that they prevent the pandemic. They seem to be separate, authoritarian measures that do not help to fight the pandemic and only help to destroy the economy ”, criticized Miguel Camões.

Today the application period for non-refundable support starts for the catering companies to make up for the loss of revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic., in particular weekend closings, with support of 20% to compensate for breaks compared to the average billing of the previous 44 weeks, which has already been criticized by chef Ljubomir Stanisic.

“From January to October we have 44 weeks, between 44 we had 11 closed weeks, in those 11 weeks we had zero sales. Between the other weeks of the 44 weeks, which we had open from January to March, there was some billing, but as of the opening after the first confinement, the rules became 50% of the occupation. We invoiced 50% even less. Do yourself a favor, that 20% distribute it to the most needy people. We are going to ask for more credits, we are going to borrow even more. This is throwing sand in the eyes, ”said the businessman in an interview with SIC Notícias on November 13.

At the demonstration on November 14 in Lisbon, deputy from Chega, André Ventura, was present at the event in Rossio, with this appearance being criticized by the organization that does not want party support.

“My dear André Ventura, it is sad to see a politician, apart from ideology or color, trying to take advantage of a fight to which he was not called. We don't want your support or that of any party, ”wrote José Gouveia, one of the organizers, on social media.

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