With the end of the Covid terraces, these restaurants risk going out of business

Stephane Pascal, who opened Appart 18 in Saint-Michel, says he is ready to close the door if he does not get a piece of terrace
Stephane Pascal, who opened Appart 18 in Saint-Michel, says he is ready to close the door if he does not get a piece of terrace (©Actu.fr)

Officially, the terraces accepted by the town hall to compensate for the losses linked to the health crisis, says “ Covid terrace »were suspended on December 31, 2021. 500 bars and restaurants had benefited from it Bordeaux (Gironde). About fifty have filed applications for sustainability. Without success, so far.

A third less turnover

A tragedy for some restaurateurs, for whom this suspension signs the death warrant of their establishment.

Because of these outdoor tables, they have certainly lost places, but also part of their clientele. “In May, we recorded a loss of a third of our turnover compared to the last month when we had the terrace. If it continues like this, we’re going out of business within six months, ”says Benjamin Cini, co-manager of Jaqen Craft Beer, a bar specializing in craft beer established for seven years in Rue Beaubadat, a few steps away. from the Saint-Christoly shopping center.

Short of a solution, he launched an online petition, on the change.org site, to try to mobilize the people of Bordeaux around his fight. Because, if he fears for the survival of his business, in the shorter term, it is the jobs of his two employees, Lou and Max, hired during the crisis, which are threatened.

“However, we played by the rules! We used Covid aid to hire, to restructure our activity around the sale of beers to take away. And there we are with nothing. It’s the double penalty, ”he breathes.

The effects of the health crisis still perceptible

Also following the rules, the City of Bordeaux only applied the decree which put an end to these authorizations to occupy the public domain once the crisis was over. But for the merchant, if the disease seems behind us, the effects of this health crisis are still perceptible.

“People have gotten used to meeting at home or outside. We have never regained the pre-crisis level of attendance. And then, the restaurant business is deserted: we have difficulty recruiting, and galloping inflation on our products… This terrace barely allowed us to get our heads above water”

Benjamin CiniManager of Jaqen Craft Beer

A few streets away, in the Saint-Michel district, the problem arises for several establishments. Apartment 18, in particular, opened by Stéphane Pascale in February 2021, has also been hard hit by the crisis.

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“By the start of the school year, I’m closed”

As with the Jaqen, the few tables he was allowed to set up in the square gave him some air after confinement. They made it possible to add 50 places to the 26 in its small premises, and as many customers came to enjoy the house cocktails and the last rays of sunshine in Place Meynard.

The Jaqen terrace, in Bordeaux
The Jaqen terrace, in Bordeaux (©Actu.fr)

Deprived of this space, Stéphane lost 60% of his turnover compared to the same period last year.

“With the exceptionally hot weather we had in May, do you think people wanted to get inside?” he says.

StephaneApartment 18 Manager

Sad consequence, the dismissal of one of the members of his team of four people is now inevitable. “It’s terrible, but I have no choice, he claims. If it continues like this, by September, I will lower my curtain definitively”.

Obstinate, he went several times to knock on the door of the Town Hall, trying to assert the good performance of his terrace and the limited inconvenience it represented for the residents. “No complaints in a year and a half of existence,” he thunders proudly.

He met the deputy mayor in charge of shops, and his district mayor. “I had been told about regularizations on a case-by-case basis, for the time being nothing is changing”, the restaurateur is impatient.

But what he points to, implicitly, is the management of the occupation of the public domain. It is governed by a regulation dated 2013, which the new municipality inherited.

Aware of criticism from restaurateurs, the Town Hall claims to be working on new regulations.

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