Restaurant owners report drop in customers following introduction of tougher Covid measures

Pub and restaurant owners around the Czech Republic are reporting a significant drop in customers following the mandatory Covid inspections of their guests introduced at the beginning of November.

According to data from Storyous, which supplies cash register systems to restaurants and pubs, sales have dropped by more than 20 percent in just one week as a result of the dropping number of customers, who have been discourages by the tougher measures.

At the moment, cafés, pubs and restaurants in the Czech Republic require their visitors to prove they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have tested negative for the virus.

As of Monday, only vaccine certificates and proof of having successfully recovered from the virus will be the only accepted documents.  Restaurant and pub owners fear that the new regulations will reduce customer spending to a minimum.

According to Storyous data, sales in some pubs have fallen by more than 40 per cent compared to the last week of October.

“A drop in visitor numbers and sales is fairly typical for November. This year, however, the drop in visitor numbers was twice as high as in 2019, and more than six times lower when compared to average sales,” Storyous spokeswoman Jana Kohoutová told Czech Radio.

The situation differs quite significantly from region to region. Prague businesses, for example, have not suffered any major setbacks compared to October, Petr Menclík, director of Dotykačka cash registry system, told Czech Radio.

“The most significant decline was seen in the most attractive tourist areas, including Hradec Králové, Liberec and Karlovy Vary regions,” he said.

“The biggest declines were seen in hotel restaurants and nightlife-oriented businesses, such as bars and clubs. However, traditional Czech pubs have also been affected,” he added.

According to restaurant owners, the decline is likely to continue. Some people have already started cancelling bookings for Christmas parties.

Tougher controls are not the only reason behind the negative results. Other contributing factors include the worsening epidemic situation and the reintroduction of a work-from-home order in some companies.