"I have plenty of time to talk now", says stephan ertl. The head of the eponymous hotel on city park indulges in gallows humor on our call. He has had no guests since chancellor angela merkel declared that only business travelers should be accommodated in lodging establishments. Minister president markus soder followed up yesterday and declared for bavaria that no tourists are allowed to stay in hotels.
Existences are at stake
The corona crisis hits the industry hard. Ertl, who is chairman of the hotel and guesthouse association in kulmbach, has a rough understanding that social contacts should be reduced to a minimum in order to slow the spread of the virus. But the hotelier fears that livelihoods will be destroyed. Many could hold out the cuts for perhaps two to three weeks "but certainly not for two to three months".
Many have invested a lot
Hotel operators and innkeepers had taken out loans at a time when interest rates were low to bring their business up to scratch. Not only government aid is needed. It is also a question of how banks proceed, whether repayments can be suspended, for example.
Ertl has no guests and therefore needs no staff. He is trying to keep his employees on short-time work – knowing full well that he will need them urgently if the business picks up again. "Because it’s hard to get employees in our industry anyway." He fears for the survival of his hotel, because the running costs had to be carried on, even if he does not record any income. Whether the aid announced by the state will be effective? He has serious doubts. There is nothing tangible yet. "Tax deferrals, which can already be applied for at the tax office."
The emergency concept
Like the hotel industry, the gastronomy sector is facing an almost insurmountable hurdle, says ertl. Restaurants are allowed to open until 3 p.M. Under certain conditions, but they do most of their business in the evening. Several innkeepers had decided to focus on delivery service and auber-haus sales at certain times.
Local no longer open
An offer that the "zunftstube", for example, also made use of puts. Keeping the pub open is not worth it, says boss marcus schulz. With only 48 seats, there were only a few seats left, because the distance between guests had to be 1.5 meters. The "guild room in times of need, like many innkeepers, relies on auber-haus sales. "We deliver to order or do pub pick-up sales", says schulz. You have to be creative, emphasizes the chef, who thinks it makes sense to lock down first to protect employees and guests. "We hope to keep our heads above water."
The municipal brewery is battening down the hatches. "We have until 31. Marz first of all", says managing director frank stubinger. Until then, it is time to reorient oneself "to see what is still to come". The rougher an inn is, the less sense it makes to continue operating in the short time until 3 p.M., says stubinger. The municipal brewery had also been toying with the idea of shifting to delivery services. But they have refrained from doing so. The whole industry is jumping on it "and i am convinced that we will not bring the efficiency we have in the local area to the street," says managing director frank stubai.
Stubinger explains that, like many, he misjudged the seriousness of the situation just weeks ago. Now it is necessary to follow the guidelines. "We do not want to provide a platform for our employees and guests to catch the disease."
Are the tourists?
Only a few rooms are left in the hotel "kronprinz" occupied. "We had four overnight stays last time", says owner ulrike berger, who runs her business with a minimum of staff and has already had to make redundancies. "I hope, of course, that I will be able to hire people again soon", emphasizes berger, who speaks of many imponderables. Although only business people were allowed in, what about guests who come to kulmbach, for example to attend the funeral of a relative?? Berger: "they are not tourists then either."
Too much bureaucracy?
The hotel manager reckons with extreme losses, saying that she will make a loss in the next few weeks, perhaps months. She fears that those who want to take advantage of state financial aid will be faced with "bureaucratic monsters" during the application process build up. An experience that she has already made when looking at the k-loan issues. She doesn’t think that the restrictions that affect the restaurant and hotel business will be lifted any time soon. Berger believes many businesses are facing insolvency.
"Keeping a cool head"
Kommunbrau host frank stubinger also fears that the corona virus will keep the world in suspense for a long time to come. He suspects that a curfew will soon be in place in germany. His credo: "we should all first get used to the situation and learn how to deal with it." It’s important to keep a cool head "even though we are currently being overwhelmed by events".
How long the municipality, which has filed for short-time work, can get by without revenue? In the 90s, this would have taken months, explains stubinger. "At that time, the margins in our industry were still much rougher." In the corona crisis, it will be a fight for survival for many people. The state is challenged: "it has to do something, otherwise we will lose entire industries."
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