COVID, PHASE 2 OR PHASE 3: HOW AND WHEN THE RESTAURANTS WILL REOPEN
The restaurateurs and the owners of activities related to food & beverage are unsure about going back to normality, which is Phase 2 of the post-Coronavirus. But what will this phase be like, and when will it start? Let's see it together
Different points of view, opinions multiplying and multiplied by a surplus of information which might be confusing and, at the same time can lead to indigestion and regurgitation, and the immediate change of the channel as soon as the magic word is heard: Coronavirus.
This is what is happening in the last few days (hopefully) of Phase 1 of the lockdown. A phase that in Italy will end, perhaps (possibly and, it seems, probably) on May 3.
Then Phase 2 will open: here too, divisions on times and methods, with those who would even like to jump directly to Phase 3 for the reopening of the businesses.
Now, given that the terms of Phase 1 are not known with precision, several times prolonged (April 3, April 13, May 3), you can easily imagine what it means to wait for Phase 3.
Also, what would Phase 3 be? Normality? Some restaurateurs seem to want to wait for it and, in the meantime, to survive with state aid. Obviously, in a similar situation, uncertainty would dominate: when will help, like Phase 3, arrive? Will they be enough for everyone?
So no: trying to start again, making this effort, will be necessary for everyone, customers and restaurateurs.
If China – which faced the Covid-19 emergency with the utmost rigor – believed that proceeding with Phase 2 would it be right, Italy should do the same. It is useless, after all, to wait for a Phase 3 that is not sure when and how it will arrive.
Among other things, the vice-president of Fipe Aldo Cursano, who said to Dissapore: «You cannot think of recovery of social life without bars and restaurants: the movement of people is intrinsically connected to our activities. Not to mention that a Phase 2 without catering implies an inevitable increase in queues in front of supermarkets. There is no Phase 2 or Phase 3 without restaurants because it can be said that the world begins to leave the house when we reopen. “
But when will Phase 2 start for restaurants?
At the moment, Phase 2 for catering should start in mid-May 2020, more precisely on May 18 (with variations up to May 25 depending on the type of the business).
Phase 2, the Chinese example
Bruno Ferrari, a chef who works in Shanghai, told us in a video, taken by Corriere della Sera, how you live in Phase 2 in China.
After several attempts to reopen, Ferrari reopened on March 6 for about twenty people («Not bad,» he says). Still, in the evening, at the closing, he received the visit of seven police officers. They took photos and videos, observed the customers, and requested the documents: you need a thermometer, measure the temperature and mark it on a log (temperature, time, name of the customer, his telephone number, and exit time). If the fever is above 37.2 °, you must refuse to let him in and call the police (there is a specific number). Customers cannot enter without a mask.
People cannot sit in front of each other; they can only sit side by side, while between the tables, there must be a meter and a half (at a minimum) of distance. Once the meal is over, the mask must be worn again. In China, the authorities have imposed substantial documentation on restaurateurs with all the indications to follow. At the same time, there is a program for the disinfection of rooms and kitchens to comply with specific products. Once the premises have been sanitized, this program must be signed, and the restaurant can open immediately afterward. If on inspection, the register is not signed, they can be fined. In the event of continuous non-cooperation (maximum three), the police can either close the premises or issue a very high fine.
What will our Phase 2 be like?
We still do not know for sure, but probably the Italian Phase 2 will not be very different from the Chinese one. It has been said about masks, sanitization, adequate distances, and the installation of plexiglass barriers. Entrance, as already happens for every shop still open, will be quoted according to the size of the business.
Most likely, however, those places (bars, restaurants, pubs, etc.) that have public land available nearby will be able to use it notwithstanding municipal regulations, paying – naturally – the amount due.
Furthermore, while delivery, after a slow start, today has increased online sales by 81% (30 percentage points more than the pre-Coronavirus situation), it will be possible to focus on takeaway.
In fact, Fipe is pushing for breakfast to be ordered and eaten away from the bar or enjoying the lunch of the favorite restaurant (or maybe located close to the house) where you want. So takeaway, delivery, and a soft reopening will be the keys to Phase 2.
A necessary phase to return to normal life, in which everything will be focused on safety. The alternative? The one that never pays: immobilism.
This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)