PARIS (Reuters) – Guillaume Artru, co-owner of a Paris restaurant, has seen his business battered first by COVID-19, then by one of Europe’s strictest lockdown regimes, and now by a new adversary: the weather.
The government eased lockdown restrictions on June 2, allowing French restaurants, bars and cafes to reopen after weeks of coronavirus-enforced shutdown.
But in Paris, customers can only be served at outdoor seating. Several days of overcast and rainy weather have turned alfresco dining into a soggy proposition.
“We’re too dependent on the weather,” said Artru at his restaurant Le Garde Temps. “We cannot let our clients come inside and lately since we’ve reopened the weather has not been good.”
Across Paris this week, some cafegoers were toughing out the weather by wrapping up in coats and scarves. Restaurant awnings kept some of the rain off.
But restaurateurs said customer numbers – already limited because of the restriction on indoor dining – were down, making it even harder to turn a profit.
“With terraces we fall victim to bad weather. If it’s raining we cannot work any more, or maybe at 50 to 30 percent,” said Jean Mathieu, representative in the Paris region of the UMIH restaurant and hotels union.
The hospitality industry is pressing President Emmanuel Macron to allow customers to be served indoors in Paris.
Elsewhere in France, indoor dining is allowed, but the restriction was put in place in the capital because of its higher rate of coronavirus infection.
(Reporting by Emilie Delwarde; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Giles Elgood)