Saturday, Apr 17, 2021

Over 300,000 jobs in restaurants, bars and discos are at stake due to the confinement

Over 300,000 jobs in restaurants, bars and discos are at stake due to the confinement

The owners of these businesses do not oppose the closure, but they demand measures regarding the country's economy.
If we see everything related to our business that is affected by the problem, in restaurants, bars and nightclubs, we are really talking about more than 300 thousand jobs that are at stake, said Ricky Méndez, representative of the Craft Brewing Association of Panama.

Only in these two associations 10 thousand jobs are paralyzed, of which only 30% could begin to be reinstated, but with the new measures that were put in place from December and now in January, we are returning to the same number And those are direct jobs, said Méndez in statements to TVN.

While in indirect jobs we would be talking about 25 thousand, among the people who make the dispatches or from whom the supplies are bought, and so on.

For his part, Luis Pineda, from the Association of Restaurants, Bars and Clubs, said that they are not opposed to the sanitary measures that have been taken, but they cannot continue taking measures based solely on the scientific part, without seeing the social part , economic and the stability of a whole country, integrally.

This is not a fight between health versus the economy. That dichotomy that has been sold makes people on the street say: it is that businessmen are against health, it is that the economy is also health, because those 9 thousand people who work directly with restaurants, bars and nightclubs, have families, pay for schools, pay for health. We are not saying that it is not one thing or the other, Pineda said.

In this context, he pointed out that decisions have to be consensual, between that comprehensiveness that a country has.

The owners of restaurant, bars and nightclubs are not opposed to this closure, but there must be measures around the economy that this country has, Pineda emphasized.

He pointed out that they have been sitting at all the tables that the National Government proposed and installed, and in multiple conversations, but many of their observations were ignored and some other conversations, however until today they have not received any type of economic benefit.

I use the word benefit and it does not help because we do not need help. As entrepreneurs, we have provided this country with jobs, taxes, sustainability. Now what we need is that our companies, which mean families, need to continue living, sending their children to school, going to supermarkets, that is what the benefits mean, such as the tax credit, Pineda said.

In that sense, he stressed that today marks 30 days of the last proposal and letter that they sent to the Government where they asked for a tax credit, as a transferable document to be able to pay taxes, sell it or make some type of economic transaction. However, we are still waiting for the response of the president, the Presidency, the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, someone has to answer the letter and tell us if it is viable or not, he said. 

From January to August 2020, the covid-19 pandemic sent unemployment in Panama to 18.5%, the highest rate in the last 20 years, according to figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INEC), published by the Comptroller General of the Republic.

In August of last year, the number of unemployed was 146,111 people. As of the date of the survey (August), the number rose to 371,567 with the sum of 225,456 people unrelated to or with suspended contracts as a result of the health emergency due to the covid-19 pandemic.

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