Italian restaurants ask for help as COVID bites into New Year’s bookings | World news

ROME (Reuters) – Italian restaurant and club owners are seeking urgent government support amid increased cancellations caused by an upsurge in coronavirus infections, they said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Fipe-Confcommercio group of companies said the growing number of cases and the quarantine rules imposed on close contacts of people with COVID-19 resulted in 25% to 30% cancellations in New Year’s Eve dinner reservations. New Year.

“December (…) which alone represents 10% of restaurant revenues, is largely compromised,” they said, asking the government to extend a moratorium on COVID-19 debt and a layoff compensation scheme for workers.

Daily cases have skyrocketed this week, peaking at a record 78,313 on Tuesday as the highly contagious variant of Omicron spreads.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi has tightened COVID-19 rules for the holiday period, banning concerts and outdoor events and closing nightclubs until January 31.

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“Discos and clubs were literally destroyed without warning,” Confcommercio said.

The virus is ravaging several sectors of public life, including theaters. Milan’s La Scala opera house has been forced to cancel a ballet scheduled for this week due to growing infections among the dancers.

Italy has also imposed restrictions on travelers, including those inside the European Union who must take a coronavirus test before departure, a move that has angered tour operators and hotel owners. .

Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia said in a statement he agreed with concerns over the layoff plan and urged the Labor Ministry to act quickly.

“The spread of the new variant risks causing social damage, as well as hurting income,” he said.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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