At the opening of Sunday’s meeting of the Special Committee on Dealing With the Coronavirus, Israel Restaurant Association CEO Shai Berman said the financial damage caused to the industry as a result of the corona crisis is estimated at NIS 500 million a month.

“Deliveries are a very small and insignificant part of the volume, about 15%,” he said. “The industry is closed. More than 80% of the industry is inactive. People in the industry have not seen one shekel, because the bank traditionally does not like to give out loans to restaurants. It is easiest to (blame) the banks, but they are a business element, and the responsibility lies with the state.”

“The compensation plan is thin, stingy and lacks a true vision,” Berman stated. “There is no reward for bringing workers back, like there is in other countries around the world. Everyone knows that even if the industry will open up, it won’t happen in a complete way, so businesses owners are asking themselves whether it is worthwhile for them to open.”

Asked by Committee Chairman MK Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid-Telem) if a financial reward for bringing workers back is warranted, and if there is an alternative plan for “keeping the restaurant industry above water,” Berman said “we proposed a comprehensive compensation model for damages, as well as grants for bringing employees back to work. We (restaurateurs) are a nation of entrepreneurs, not whiners. We will try to bring the businesses back to growth. Entrepreneurs should receive incentives for returning to activity, rather than declaring them bankrupt.”