Pandemic-Hit Restaurants, Hotels in Lithuania Stage “Last Supper” Protest against Lockdown
Restaurant and hotel staff on Tuesday set up tables and beds in public squares across Lithuania, urging the government to provide more support to the pandemic-hit hospitality industry, AFP reported. Menus were replaced with signs saying "Last Supper", tables were covered with black tablecloths and funeral wreaths were laid by hotels beds in front of the government building in the capital Vilnius. Similar demonstrations were held in other cities in the Baltic EU state.
Lithuania, a Eurozone nation of 2.8m people, imposed a second partial lockdown in November, meaning that bars and restaurants have only been able to offer takeaway services for more than four months now.
"The whole hospitality sector - restaurants, bars and especially hotels - is going through very difficult times and we need much more support from our government," Juozas Vainora, a hotel employee, told AFP.
French cafe owner Vincent Degeorge said: "Restaurants, tourism is just dying, everything is going to bankruptcy. I don't want to die without fighting."
Evalda Siskauskiene, chief executive of the hotels and restaurants association, said the sector as a whole had lost more than €300m because of the pandemic and a wave of bankruptcies could be imminent if the government does not increase subsidies. "We have reached the bottom and cannot survive any more. The state support is ridiculous," she said.
Lithuania's economy ministry said it has provided the industry with €5m in subsidies this year and pledged to increase the support soon.
The number of foreign tourists dropped 73% last year compared with 2019, according to official data.
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