"Yellow vests", strikes against the pension reform, and now coronavirus. The last few months have been particularly difficult for the restoration. And the closure of "non-essential businesses" on March 14 at midnight did not improve the situation of an already fragile sector. While the majority of restaurateurs have not yet accused the blow of the closure of their kitchen, it is a whole series of new questions that arise for them, the methods of closing short-time working, including compensation.
To find their way in this real administrative jungle, and to assert their rights, mutual assistance is set up. In "La France bouge" this Wednesday on Europe 1, Raphaëlle Duchemin and her guests detail some of them and dissect the issues.
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A hotline to respond to concerns
Among these initiatives, the French Association of Masters Restaurateurs (AFMR) has set up a hotline (01.53.63.00.77) to help distraught owners. "It was necessary to reassure them, not to leave them in this considerable vagueness when the concern is enormous", explains to the microphone of Europe 1 Alain Fontaine, the president of the association. Nothing compares to the shutdown caused by the Covid-19, he argued, "not even a bankruptcy." "You close suddenly and everything has to be put in place. It was important to help them and redirect them to the competent bodies, or even for some to explain to them how to close their establishment."
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WhatsApp groups to learn about the procedures
Helping other restaurateurs, it is also with this intention that Michelin-starred chef Laurent Trochain launched the RestoEnsemble Facebook page. Initially a simple WhatsApp conversation between two couples of friends, it quickly spread to all of the restaurateurs they know. Now, two groups of 250 people each, as well as a Facebook page with a few thousand interested parties, have been founded to bring together in one place all the administrative procedures that need to be done.
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But for a little over a week, this help has been coupled with another desire, with the creation of the hashtag # chefsenpéril on Twitter. "An action where we ask the government to declare a state of natural health disaster, and insurers to apply compensation", details Laurent Trochain.
A petition to collect insurance compensation
Because this may be the real workhorse of restaurateurs facing the coronavirus. If the Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, announced exceptional aid of 1,500 euros to small bosses to avoid them going out of business, it represents only a "very small drop of water "in the ocean of shortfall for Stéphane Jégo. This master restaurateur therefore launched a petition on March 16 for companies in the sector to be compensated by their insurer. To date, it has nearly 100,000 signatures.
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"When we had the attacks, the 'yellow vests' then the strikes, we all called our insurance, and we were told that it was not included in our contract. This is the same thing with the coronavirus At some point, you have to evolve them! " he thunders. Calling insurers to "get around the table" to "open a dialogue" and find a solution so that "companies are serene", Stéphane Jégo says he does not want to "ruin" them, but to make them "partners in everyday life" ". And to recall that a multitude of people, "employees, apprentices, farmers, breeders", depend in part on the good health of restaurateurs.