“Since the lifting of confinement, wild parties have taken place throughout Paris,” notes David Zenouda disillusioned. If he says he is “delighted that the French are meeting again”, he fears having definitely lost some of his clientele.

Respecting 4 meters of social distancing in nightclubs seems mission impossible (photo illustration).  (FRANCOIS DESTOC / MAXPPP)

The government will exempt companies from sectors particularly affected by the consequences of the health crisis linked to the coronavirus from three billion euros in social charges. These include catering, tourism, culture and sport, announced Sunday, May 24 Gerald Darmanin. Among the sectors which still do not know when their activity will be able to resume, there is that of the night. “It’s a relief but we’ll ask for a little more”, reacted Monday, May 25 on franceinfo David Zenouda, manager of six establishments (night bars and restaurants) in Paris. “We are asking for a reduction in VAT, additional aid”.

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franceinfo: Is this announcement good news?

David Zenouda : It’s a relief, but we’ll ask for a little more. The VAT, for restaurateurs, it must be able to drop, we must be able to support us. It is not because we are going to reopen the bars and nightclubs that tomorrow all activity will resume. Tourism has disappeared in France, the “after work” has disappeared. When you go to organize a birthday party in an establishment, will you want to bring together 30 or 40 people knowing that the majority are afraid to go out? So there needs to be much stronger support from the state than the elimination of burdens. We are asking for a reduction in VAT, additional aid.

Are you confident about the reopening?

We are very worried about the reopening because we are very afraid that our customers will not come back as quickly as before the confinement. We are in a period of doubt for our customers and we must respond to all these concerns with hygiene and social distancing measures to be ready when the reopening. It will be very complicated. We were told about 4 square meters and we are not very satisfied with this proposal.

Our job is conviviality, bringing people together. How do you want to do our job if people are distant from each other? It’s impossible. We are campaigning for the reopening as quickly as possible with hygiene measures to protect our staff and our customers and with a little common sense. We cannot afford to reopen with these measures.

How affected are you?

On all of my establishments, I have more than 40 employees and I was thinking of hiring about 20 but all this is put on hold depending on the date of reopening. It will also depend on the customers because we have lost them and very much lost. The basis of our business is after work, but companies will no longer send their customers to establishments to create sociability in their company. We realize that, since the lifting of confinement, wild parties have taken place throughout Paris. I am delighted that the French are meeting again but our job is to help these people to party in the best possible way and in complete safety, which is not the case on the quays of the Seine or Of the loire.