Iran's restaurants suffer losses, remain closed
TEHRAN, Iran, May 4
Iran's restaurants have suffered losses during coronavirus spread and remain closed, while other businesses have opened, Head of Iran Restaurant Owners Association Ali Asghar Mir-Ebrahimi told Trend.
Referring to the possibility of opening restaurants in Tehran after being closed amid coronavirus spread, he noted that the National Headquarters to Fight Coronavirus has limited restaurants' work, but other businesses that posses even more risk, have resumed activities.
"The association has developed safety codes for all restaurants in the city, and the owners can read all health protocols online on the associate website," Mir-Ebrahimi added. "Although it has been decided that restaurants have high risk of infection, any large gathering outside house is considered risky. At the moment, banks, offices, shopping malls, subways and public transportation are working are believed not to impose any risk."
"In the situation of current recession and closure of businesses, the value added tax for winter season should be paid until May 20, but restaurants have been closed since January 21, but also they have to pay tax," the head of the association said. "Despite losses, the restaurants had to pay salaries and bonus near the new year [started March 20, 2020], and currently, restaurant workers are unemployed until this business gets permission to resume work".
"The sector has been limited since January 21, and people do not even order takeaways," he added. "In past three months, the guild had a hectic situation; we asked the government to improve the conditions and provide loan to restaurants without interest rate."
"In general, around 10 to 15 percent of restaurants are currently offering takeaways; however, people do not buy much due to fear of coronavirus," he said. "Meanwhile, there are some restaurants that are violating regulations and accept customers indoors, but there are no inspections. Moreover, some hooka cafes provide hooka to customers that is against health regulations."
"It is possible that restaurants will open after May24, but it is not certain. We have suggested to the National Headquarters to Fight Coronavirus that restaurant chairs can be set with observation of social distancing rules and that cafes will not offer hooka, but we were told that restaurants are dangerous," he said.