(NEWSROOM PANAMA) Burdened by fixed costs and a disappearing customer base over 1,000 Panama restaurants have permanently closed their doors leading to 6,000 lost jobs,
Others have created new versions of themselves so as not to disappear as they prepare for the new world of dining out which will likely never be the same with closely packed restaurants and bars.
The sector has registered an 80% drop in sales and the closure of at least 20% nationwide, according to data from the Panama Restaurant Association (Arap).
Parallel, with the near-total stoppage of activities and the need to generate income, an independent movement has been created in social networks for the sale of food, which sparked the attention of both consumers and authorities.
“Food preparation that is being done in apartments and in workshops, the public has to be very careful about hygiene. That is a problem that the authorities (the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Commerce and the General Directorate of Revenue) have to attack, because they are also businesses that do not pay taxes,” said Domingo De Obaldía, president of Arap.
The effects of the health emergency caused the Monthly Index of Economic Activities in April to register a fall of 34.7%, compared to the same period last year, due mainly to the impact in the construction sectors, and hotels and restaurants sectors.
The Arap meets regularly to validate and discuss the measures that its members are taking, to have their security protocols ready to open the day the health authorities give the go-ahead.
Today, Monday, July 27, 2020, Panama reports 60,296 cumulative cases and 1,294deaths by COVID-19 in a population of 4.3 million.