Thijmen van Gorkum does not understand: shopping by appointment is allowed again from Saturday, but his catering establishments in Bergen op Zoom must still remain closed.
“Shopping by appointment is also possible with us, because that is just reservation”, says Van Gorkum. “That’s the same, isn’t it? You’re in the right place with us and we’ve invested a lot recently, for example in ventilation. It can’t be safer than this. I can’t understand why we have to stay closed.”
The restaurant manager wholeheartedly wishes the shopkeepers, but is disappointed that the catering industry is once again not allowed to participate in the relaxation. “Who knows, maybe there will be good news from the press conference, but it doesn’t look like it. We had to close first and be the last to open again.”
And so Van Gorkum plans to open the doors of his restaurant La Grotta on Saturday, regardless of the rules. When he announced his plan, reservations poured in. “We are completely full. And if the restaurant were ten times as big, that would also work.”
Van Gorkum hopes that more entrepreneurs will join his protest, but is also afraid of the consequences: “The municipality says it will enforce it, so everyone is in doubt. It is not clear exactly what fine you can get, but it is will be thousands of euros. That’s quite a high price to make a statement.”
Tolerated by municipality
Yet La Grotta is not the only restaurant where you can grab a bite to eat this weekend. In several cities, shops and restaurants are planning to open en masse on Saturday.
“We want to show that it can be done safely,” says Remy Koppel of Café Camelot in Zutphen. “We have always done everything, listened to the rules and danced to the tunes of The Hague. Now the cake is finished.”
The Zutphen entrepreneurs, unlike Van Gorkum, do not have to be afraid of a fine. The municipality has decided to tolerate the action.
Also in Valkenburg aan de Geul, where shops and restaurants want to open tomorrow, the municipality will not hand out fines. According to mayor Daan Prevoo, the entrepreneurs are exercising their right to demonstrate. You can see that in this video: