Coronavirus: in Lebanon, reopening of bars and restaurants as part of deconfinement

Audio 01:19

Café de Beyrouth, in November 2020. In the Lebanese capital, bars and restaurants have reopened (Photo illustration) AFP - JOSEPH EID

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5 mins

Lebanon begins this Monday, March 22 its fourth and last phase of deconfinement with the reopening of bars and restaurants.

The establishments already taken by the throats by the repeated confinements, the explosion of last August 4 in the port of Beirut which had destroyed many of them, and the economic crisis can finally reopen their doors today.

But with a certain number of very restrictive rules, too many will say some restaurateurs.


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With our correspondent in Beirut


Noé Pignède

For the Tawlet restaurant, a very popular establishment in the Mar Michael district of Beirut, it had to be the big day: that of the reopening to the public, after 3 months of confinement.

But finally his boss Kamal Mouzawak decided not to welcome customers this afternoon.


Today we are reopening restaurants in Lebanon, but with a lot of limits of course.

The capacity is to be reduced to 30% today.

But above all, we must have separations between the tables.

As the pound has fallen, a plexiglass board is worth more than a month's salary for an employee.

The restaurant is ready, everything is ready, but we are not going to serve food,

 ”he explains.

Humanitarian project

The boss also fears that the Lebanese no longer really have the heart, nor the money, to come and have lunch at his place.

But his kitchens continue to operate despite everything, because in the midst of the economic crisis, Kamal Mouzawak has decided to put his know-how at the service of the most deprived.

It's a project that we have quite simply with the Covid-19 for doctors and nurses on the front line but that we institutionalized after the explosion of August 4 where there was an imminent need for food distribution .

So it's a soup kitchen and more than

2,000 meals that we distribute for free per day,

 ”he continues.

A humanitarian project that the restaurateur would like to see come to an end quickly, if the Lebanese economy picks up again.

But for now, the collapse continues: the number of people living in extreme poverty has tripled in one year.

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