Restaurants across the country have closed in the face of the coronavirus crisis and the Association of Restaurants and Related of Panama (ARAP) is preparing for a massive shutdown of food retail outlets with a loss of over 44,000 jobs.
"The Government cannot continue delaying this matter," said Domingo de Obaldía, president of ARAP.
The restaurant sector is one of the economic activities most affected by the measure of social isolation to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
"Sales have fallen by 80%. Last weekend was disastrous. The industry is practically paralyzed, "said Obaldia.
It is estimated that in Panama City there are approximately 2,600 restaurants, 250 are members of the ARAP.
Some of the measures that business owners have applied is to reduce working hours to six hours a day, while others have decided to close.
"Those that remain open do so because with the little that goes in, it helps to maintain some liquidity to give to employees, in the event of a general closure."
The stoppage of activities would affect approximately 39,000 thousand jobs directly and 5,000 indirectly. This includes restaurant workers, delivery , suppliers, people who provide maintenance of air conditioners, hot areas and cold rooms. However, he adds that there are companies, such as Panamanian Franchises, that maintain a workforce of 2,600 workers.
The Government must announce how it will contribute to this closure. “A worker who works only six hours has to pay rent, finances, electricity, etc; this is a chain, and therefore there must be social justice for all, ”he said.
Faced with a massive closure, he said that the most sensible thing is to apply early vacations to workers. "The idea is that, at the end of the month, vacations will be paid based on a six-hour schedule and that they will owe the workers vacation wages for when things improve."
Wish it were true but this will continue for many months to come. You cant chase away or hide from a virus. Its never succeeded ...only smallpox was eradicated in general population and that was done with world wide vaccination. They still have samples in labs unfortunately. Devastation if they escaped . So this virus one way or another will eventually affect everyone on earth until we get a vaccine ....that is why like measles in the old days ( we used to have measles parties when I was a kid to purposefully give it to children to safeguard them in adult life when it is far more dangerous) this virus is being borne as best as possible in the general population but safeguarding the elderly as far as possible. The government if honest would by now have explained this to the population. Boris tried in UK but everyone freaked out when they heard the truth and now artificial attempts are in hand to try and contain it. Even China will find that in time the virus returns and affects those not yet immunised from the first round. There is no solution to this other than a vaccine. Lets pray for an early discovery.
They are not loosing their jobs. This is just temporary until we get back to normal. But, if the businesses can, continue to pay them someway.