A number of cafés and bars will put their terrace furniture out, but won’t explicitly invite anyone to sit on them, in a piece of performative art to draw attention to their lack of revenue due to Coronavirus shutdowns
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As reported by the Omrop Fryslân, hospitality business owners in Leeuwarden will set their terraces out today with one clear difference (aside from it being presently illegal to sit in a bar or café): the furniture will be upside down.
The performative act hopes to bring attention to the plight of business owners that have had to close their outlets on and off for over a year. “Our world is upside down”, says Ton Eijer melodramatically, the owner of Scooters café, and the chair of the hospitality business owners club. “We’re giving a clear signal”, he added, clutching at his pearls.
Whilst Eijer goes out of his way to say that people are not intended to actually make use of the terraces (technically making this a piece of performance art), he won’t commit to shooing away any customers, either. “We don’t want to give an invitation [to sit]”, he says, “but we want to let it be seen that something must happen. Lots of outlets have been shut for a year, some have been shut for four months.”
Whilst the Frisian GGD public health body is against any Coronavirus rule loosening (a third wave of the virus is allegedly rapidly approaching), the Veiligheidsberaad committee of Mayors is supportive of the hospitality businesses. Hubert Bruls, the Mayor of Nijmegen (CDA), and chair of the Veiligheidsberaad says that restrictions can be gradually loosened. “You can open a terrace gradually, with only certain zones available, and then slowly expand this”, he says.
Really, what the businesses want, says Eijer, is clarity. “You also have to look at infections and hospital admissions, we understand that”, he says, “now we’re looking to the next press conference in two weeks and we hope for good news from that. They have already said that 1 May might be a good date to work towards for re-opening, and then we have something to work towards. Some businesses need to hire staff back.”