Tuesday, May 17

Hotel director: – The industry can not stand another round

The hotels rejoice over the easing of the liquor ban. At the same time, they warn against using the measure again.

Irene Lien, hotel director at Hafjell Hotell, is relieved that the bar stop is history. At the same time, she fears that people will be scared away from the insecure service industry.

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– It was a day of joy, and I just have to say thank you for finally opening up for refreshments again, something they should have done a long time ago, says Irene Lien, hotel director at Hafjell Hotell in Øyer.

On Thursday, the government came with a number of easing of the corona measures, including the abolition of the much-discussed drinking ban.

Places with a liquor license are now allowed to serve alcohol until 23:00. The serving must take place at the tables, and the restaurant must ensure that there is at least one meter distance to other than household members.

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Lien hopes that the government will never use a bar stop as a measure again after this.

– If there is one thing the hotel and restaurant industry is good at, it is infection control. The industry will not tolerate further shutdowns, she says.

Hafjell, which is one of the country’s most popular ski destinations, received as usual many visitors around Christmas and New Year. Lien has not counted on what the hotel has lost by not being able to serve alcohol.

– It would not be fun reading anyway, she says.

Irene Lien is afraid of the consequences of the pandemic for the hotel and restaurant industry.

– Clean Christmas Eve

Tony Eide, chairman of the board and owner of the hotel chain Festningshotellene, says that the lifting of the bar stop was received with great joy by them as well.

The fortress hotels operate, among others, Oscarsborg Fortress and Reenskaug Hotel in Drøbak.

– It is experienced as pure Christmas Eve for us, he tells E24.

Nevertheless, Eide is not optimistic about the entire operation. For the course and conference hotels, there is still some uncertainty about wage support, and he believes that the industry in general still has a difficult time ahead.

– Now that the industry is left with a heavy backpack with expenses and lost income after almost two years of pandemic, it is clear it will be challenging for many to get back on their feet, he says.

Tony Eide, chairman of the board of the small hotel chain Festningshotellene, believes that the support schemes have not been sufficient.

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Many have expressed that the compensation schemes aimed at the restaurant, hotel and nightlife industry are far from good enough.

Before Christmas, a number of representatives from the industry gathered in front of the Storting to demonstrate against the government’s compensation and wage support schemes. The main message to many of those present was that the salary compensation should cover 100 percent of the salary of 100 percent of the employees.

Lien at Hafjell Hotell is tired of the infection control measures always going beyond the hotel and restaurant industry.

– It is always we who have to take the worst blow. It’s almost like they make fun of our industry, she says resignedly, and continues:

If they are to shut down again, they must come up with support schemes like never before, and cover 100 percent of the salaries of the employees. The industry can not stand another round.

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Owned in Festningshotellene share the same view. He describes the attitude towards the industry as “slightly arrogant”.

– The hotel and restaurant industry is among the most regulated industries in Europe, and we already had many regulations before the liquor ban came. We follow the same strict infection control rules as everyone else, so putting the strictest measures on us time and time again is wrong, he says.

Think bankruptcy will come

Eide believes that the framework conditions set for the hotel and restaurant industry will be decisive in the future. Among other things, lower VAT on food and will be a measure that had helped.

Eide feels sorry for those who run hotels and restaurants around the country.

In the future, we will see the damage caused by the pandemic. The bankruptcies are guaranteed to come, he states.

Lien agrees with Eide, and also fears that a lot of labor will disappear if they have to be laid off again.

– People are tired and bored. Recruiting people to the service industry will be more difficult in the future. Nobody wants to work in such an insecure industry, she says.

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