Europe: Draft beer sales to take another blow

In view of ever increasing coronavirus infection rates, most countries in Europe have announced to shut down for a second time this year restaurants, bars, swimmimg pools, gyms, cinemas, theaters and other public sites. Countries like Germany, France, UK, Belgium, Spain, Austria, and Portugal announced new measures after coronavirus infections recently topped 200,000 new cases a day. The Czech Republic widely viewed as a coronavirus poster child in the spring, prohibited free movement of the population last week after it became one of Europe's worst affected areas.

Other parts of the worlds, except China, are likely to follow if they have not already adopted stricter measures before. The United States, which is already the country with the highest COVID-19 death toll, will also need to adopt a stricter policy tocurb coronavirus infections, irrespective of the outcome of the presidential election this week. However, experts believe, that a reelection of US president Donald Trump will delay the necessary measures for another few weeks.

In Germany, which acts as a blueprint for many other countries in Europe, catering establishments have to close on November 2nd for the rest of the month. This does not apply to the delivery and collection of food for consumption at home. Hotels, private holiday homes and other tourist accommodations have also to close for the whole of November.

The government hopes to interrupt the exponential growth of the pandemic and to open the country again for Christmas and the year end holidays where people traditionally travel back home to their families.

Unlike in spring, this time industry and retail are not affected - in spring, for example, car factories had to stop production because international supply chains were interrupted. For the retail trade, however, there are certain restrictive requirements in November.

Because many of the hotel and catering businesses would not survive a second lockdown, the German finance minister Olaf Scholz has announced to compensate affected companies for the loss in sales. Catering businesses and hotels with up to 50 employees will be compensated for 75 percent of the turnover from November 2019 or one-twelfth of last year’s sales.For larger companies it is a little less, said Scholz. Aid should flow immediately and unbureaucratically.

Even if this helps many pubs, restaurants and hotels to survive, draft beer sales will take another blow. It remains to be seen, how local and craft breweries, that rely on draught beer sales will survive the next month.

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