Following Emmanuel Macron’s announcements on Monday, July 12, incomprehension and fears reign among restaurant owners. The government will make compulsory the use of the health pass to go to French cafes, bars and restaurants from August. A measure decided after a resumption of Covid-19 cases, in particular because of the progression of the Delta variant in France. But it is still necessary that the health bill, examined in the Council of Ministers on Monday, July 19, is validated by the deputies the next day. And precisely, to hope to modify it and make the voice of the representatives of the catering sector heard, an amendment was tabled by the Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI) on the evening of Thursday, July 15. After consultation between the trade unions, they ask the government, via this amendment, to make the health pass optional outdoors. “The executive must be consistent,” denounces Hubert Jan, president of the catering branch of The Union of Hospitality Trades and Industries (UMIH). According to him, the obligation of a health pass for places welcoming the public indoors may be necessary to fight against the spread of Covid-19, but not on the terrace, a place where the virus circulates less.
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“It screams in the cottages”
To ensure that the health pass will be respected in places of catering, the government plans to sanction non-compliance with this measure with a fine of up to 45,000 euros as well as one year of imprisonment. “It’s been screaming in the cottages since we found out,” says Hubert Jan. “It is the customer who must take responsibility and be sanctioned in the event of non-compliance with the health pass, not us!”, He said indignantly. Note that a customers who do not have a valid health pass may be fined up to 135 euros. For restaurateurs, there is no question of juggling between the costume of a cook and a policeman. “We’re going to spend our time fighting with our customers.” In the amendment sent to Matignon on Thursday evening, the unions thus ask that the controls be carried out by the government to ensure proper compliance with this measure. Otherwise, “it’s going to be war with our customers,” warns Hubert Jan. In addition, they hope that financial aid, in particular the support of fixed costs or the solidarity fund, will still be relevant for restaurateurs in difficulty at the start of September. Because the sector could see its clientele decrease with the obligation of the sanitary pass. It is in any case the feeling of the president of the UMIH who advocates for an accompaniment according to the loss of the turnover of the company and not for “a calendar system”.
Invited to Bercy on Tuesday July 13, representatives of the catering, cafes and bars sectors obtained a postponement of the entry into force of the health pass for employees. The latter must be vaccinated before August 30 to be able to work. A small success but which does not solve a problem: what to do if an employee does not want to be vaccinated? A question to which Hubert Jan does not have the answer and which he hopes to have details on this subject from the Ministry of Labor. “Discussions are underway with the minister, Élisabeth Borne,” he says. One thing is certain, “we do not want to lay off our employees for this reason”. At this stage of the health bill, any employee who does not present his employer with a negative screening examination for Covid-19, proof of vaccination or a certificate of recovery, is liable to a two-month layoff and then to a dismissal.
Pedagogy and dialogue will always be privileged to convince employees to be vaccinated.— Elisabeth BORNE (@Elisabeth_Borne) July 15, 2021
But from September 15, those who have not fulfilled their vaccination obligation will be exposed to a suspension of their employment contract which may go up to 2 months. pic.twitter.com/iXlIOgmKtY
Towards a shortage of staff for the start of the September school year?
“The recruitment deficit is extremely important this year and by forcing our employees to have the health pass from August 30, this adds an additional difficulty to us. We did not need that to lack personnel,” he concludes. In fact, the restaurant industry has experienced some pitfalls in finding labor, especially during the summer. A study by Pole emploi revealed last June that 41.3% of hiring projects for the year 2021 were considered difficult by employers.
Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.
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