Only a quarter of Brussels’ restaurants are planning to be open on New Year’s Eve, compared to about half of them on a normal year.
The estimate comes from the Brussels Catering Federation, Bruzz reports, and those who are opening are running into issues related to the current coronavirus restrictions, which include an early closing time and limited capacity.
“At the moment I have about 35 reservations while I have room for 100 people.”
Early closing times deter diners
At Odette en Ville, owner Serge Litvine says a festive atmosphere in the restaurant doesn’t mesh well with early closing times.
“That restaurant is more festive and trendy, people want to come and have a drink there until 02:00,” Litvine said.
That isn’t possible under current Covid-19 restrictions, and management at the touristy Chez Léon in the Brussels city centre said the early closing times coupled with the closure of Christmas markets have given diners little incentive to make New Year’s Eve a night on the town.
“We have 200 reservations for a capacity of 450 people,” management said. “We had a few cancellations because of the closure of the Christmas market. And then there is the closing time of 23:00. People don’t want to be out at midnight.”