COVID-19 is all over the news


In most European countries COVID-19 is all over the news.

Situation in EU on 1 March (De Standaard) – comparing outbreaks

The European headquarter of Nike in Hilversum (Holland) has been closed for disinfection, after a staff member was diagnosed with COVID-19. About 2,000 people work there.

The commune Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe in Brussels prohibits access for 14 days for people  arriving from risk regions such as China, Thailand, Hongkong, Macao, Singapore, South Korea, Iran and the affected regions in Italy.

The secret why Belgium is spared of the virus! (so many ministers of health)

The Belgian minister of Health Maggie De Block called the measures “totally disproportional and for political activism”.

Plane from Moscow in quarantine

Read: “400 Quarantined from Inbound Flight, Including Around 20 Foreigners”
Michael Wester TheBeijinger 1 March 2020
Approximately 400 passengers – including around 20 foreigners – who arrived in Beijing from Moscow yesterday are now in quarantine after one was discovered to be suffering from COVID-19, according to Chinese news reports and two foreigners who were on the flight.

Passengers on Aeroflot Flight 204 landed at Beijing Capital International Airport yesterday morning and are now spending the next 14 days in quarantine as a consequence of potential exposure to the one passenger who tested positive.
The passenger, a Chinese national returning from Iran, was one of two that turned up on Beijing’s list of new infections yesterday, Chinese media reports. Of Beijing’s 413 infections found so far, these are the first directly attributed to people flying in from overseas.

In this morning’s daily press conference on the outbreak, we learned that both the new infected people were Chinese travelers returning to China from business trips to Iran, where they attended at least one gathering together on Feb 18.
After disembarking from the plane, she said the 20 or so foreigners were segregated and sent to one hotel, the five-star Hotel Maxmelin, north of the North Fifth Ring Road. She is not aware where the Chinese passengers were taken for quarantine.
Read the full article:

“12 China F&B Insiders Assess the Coronavirus Crisis Impact”

ThatsBeijing – Matthew Bossons – 1 March 2020
As many overseas might not be able to open the link, see most of the article here.

In an article published on February 4, the Economist declared that “optimism has crumbled” in regards to the Chinese economy, a direct result of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The declaration should be unquestionably worrisome for anyone living and working in China. It’s particularly distressing when you consider that less than a month ago, China-based producers, retailers and those in other industries were celebrating the announcement that US President Donald Trump and China’s Vice Premier Liu had signed the first phase of a trade deal.

But that was two month and a half week ago, before the novel coronavirus began dominating headlines around the globe.
The outbreak of a deadly disease is just one of countless reasons for society to turn pessimistic about an economy, but the results are nonetheless the same: lack of investment from businesses, a stock market sell-off and a drop in consumer spending, among other consequences.

Travel restrictions, both government-imposed and airline-led, along with local disease control and prevention measures, have hampered a variety of business sectors in China, with the hospitality and food and beverage industries being hit particularly hard.
Across the country, hotels have temporarily closed their doors, while countless other hospitality venues have cut staff and canceled upcoming events to cope with the sharp drop in occupancy rates.
Restaurants, pubs and cafes in many Chinese cities have also been forced to temporarily cease operations to comply with government measures aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

 “It has had a severe impact on business, with many local customers fearing to be out in public,” one of the proprietors of Hooley’s Irish Pub in Guangzhou told us earlier this week. “There really isn’t a whole lot we can do at this point to mitigate the damage. We have limited opening hours, but we still must pay our staff their monthly salaries. We will attempt to get some rent relief.”

While it was no secret that F&B establishments were going to suffer from forced closures and a frightened populace, the response of the Hooley’s owner we spoke to got us thinking: How are other bars and restaurants in China holding up amid the coronavirus outbreak? And, perhaps more importantly, what do F&B insiders predict will be the long-term impact of the current situation?

To answer these questions, we spoke with 12 F&B veterans from across China to get their insight. The result: a series of articles we have dubbed the Appetite for Destruction series.
Without saying too much (we’ll let you read their responses below), we noticed several similarities between respondents’ answers: There are numerous comparisons to SARS, unanimous agreement that some F&B venues will be forced to close and a cautious optimism that things will be back to normal in the not-so-distant future.

Click on the links below to get insider insight on the impact the coronavirus crisis is having on China’s F&B industry (you need to go to the original online article):

  • ‘Great Businesses Will Shutter’ Due to Coronavirus: Shenzhen’s Cadence Gao
  • Shanghai F&B Scene in ‘Hibernation’ Due to Coronavirus: Logan R. Brouse
  • Coronavirus Like a ‘Nuclear Strike’ on China F&B: Johnny Ding
  • Chase Williams on Devastating Impact of Coronavirus on Shanghai F&B
  • Beijing F&B Could Take 6 Months to Recover from Coronavirus: Ignace Lecleir (read below)
  • Restaurants Were Packed Again Once SARS Was Over: Michelle Garnaut
  • Rob Turnbull Talks Coronavirus Impact on Guangzhou’s F&B Industry
  • Government Should Offer Support Amid Coronavirus Crisis: Tedd Park
  • Tristan Sapp on How Coronavirus is Hurting F&B in the Greater Bay Area
  • Big Spending Followed SARS, Stay Optimistic: Guangzhou’s Wayne Shen
  • Trusted Locations Will Recover Fastest After Coronavirus: Cong Huanhuan

Beijing F&B Could Take 6 Months to Recover: Ignace Lecleir

ThatsBeijing – Matthew Bossons (no easy direct link)
Ignace Lecleir – Beijing, Owner and Founder of TRB Hospitality Group
Originally from Brugge, Belgium, Ignace Leclair has been working in the hospitality industry for a very, very long time. He moved to Beijing in 2007 and now runs the TRB Hospitality Group, which consists of four restaurants: TRB Hutong, TRB Forbidden City, Hulu by TRB and Merci French Food TRB. Below, Leclair shares his thoughts on the impact the novel coronavirus is having on Beijing’s F&B scene:

How has the current situation impacted your businesses?
The impact has been severe. I have had to temporarily close all of the TRB outlets except for Hulu by TRB at Taikooli, which is running a low occupancy at the moment.

What measures have your businesses taken to mitigate the damage caused by the prolonged CNY holiday and the ongoing coronavirus outbreak?
I launched Hulu Delivery on Wednesday, February 6. From A to Z, the entire process is done by the Hulu team, including delivery to ensure safety and quality. As the demand for delivery is growing significantly during this period of time, I am trying my best to supply and help local communities and customers as much as possible.

More generally, how has the outbreak impacted the F&B industry in Beijing, based on your observations?
From the conversations I’ve had so far with peers and colleagues from the F&B industry in Beijing, many restaurants are facing the same difficult situation that we are at the moment.

How long do you think it will take for the F&B business in Beijing to recover from this crisis?
Hopefully I am wrong, but my assumption is that it’s likely to take from three to six months until the market is recovered.

What could be the possible positive outcomes of this disease outbreak for Beijing’s F&B community going forward?
[This] obstacle definitely forces us to think outside of the box and find new solutions every day. It enables businesses to grow and become wiser and stronger.

Note: Morel’s Restaurant remains closed, no opening date decided yet.

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