Frustrations are mounting in the hospitality sector over government-imposed early closing times, which are due to remain in place until 28 February.

Over the past two years, the hospitality sector was closed for eight months. Despite financial aid, businesses are still suffering from lockdowns and partial closures, and the regulation enforcing an 11 pm closing time is not helping matters.

Our colleagues from RTL spoke to Luxembourg City wine bar owner Tanja de Jager, who explained that most of their profits in normal times tend to be made between 11 pm and 3 am.

Both employees and clients lament that the restriction only leads customers to move the rest of their evenings to private parties, where no restrictions are enforced.

Lucien Elsen from restaurant Mesa Verde in the capital explained that their kitchen is usually open until 11.30 p.m., but at the moment they can only serve one round of customers.

In an effort to make up for lost revenues from fewer lunches due to higher rates of remote work, Elsen started organising evening events in November last year, but has now been forced to put a stop to them again.

The restaurateur further complained about a lack of parking spots in the capital and a general feeling of uncertainty.

A number of businesses were forced to take up loans when the pandemic first started.

Since the second lockdown, the government has increased its support offer, but aid always comes at a cost, explained Elsen.

He criticised the policy introduced in November setting partial unemployment at a maximum of 25%.

Elsen concluded that he although he would prefer to work for his money, but is slowly beginning feeling like a beggar. He further noted that all members of the hospitality sector deserve a medal for the sacrifices they made during the pandemic.

De Jager also drew attention to the fact that France is set to reawaken its nightlife, which means that many people from Luxembourg might simply cross the border to get what they can no longer have here at home.

Similarly, Belgium is imposing a much less restrictive 3G system, she pointed out.

Video report in Luxembourgish