- Bordeaux restaurants enthusiastically prepared their establishments for the partial reopening on Wednesday.
- Some have competed in ingenuity to offer the largest possible terrace.
- They are talking about a break-in before a wider reopening from June 9.
“Noise, life, it will do good,” smiles Thomas Desprats, room manager Chez Jean, a restaurant on Parliament Square in Bordeaux. After the great calm during the confinement, the place has started to find some activity in recent days. Big cleaning, receipt of deliveries, dusting of tables and chairs: restaurateurs in downtown Bordeaux who are lucky to have a terrace say they are ready to reopen, with a 50% gauge, this Wednesday.
Only downside, the weather. But that does not dampen all enthusiasm: “Even if it rains heavily, we will be there!” », Enthuses Myriam Chebli, manager of the restaurant Chez Michel’s, rue du Pas-Saint-Georges.
Variable geometry terraces
In Gironde, 40% of restaurateurs have a terrace and among them “about two thirds will reopen and a third will wait until June 9”, specifies Laurent Tournier, president of the UMIH (Union des métiers et des industries de l ‘ hotel) Gironde. On the terrace side, not all are housed in the same store. Rue Saint Rémi at the Petit Mignon, there is no terrace in normal times. Sanitary context requires, the town hall authorized the establishment to take out a few tables. “We will be able to cover 12 people, it’s nothing at all, but we will continue the take-out sale, it saved us”, comments Foued Essalhi, associate manager. “We have a bicycle hoop at the edge of the terrace, so there if we have a cargo bike parking we lose twelve places,” Myriam Chebli calculates. With its neighbor opposite which only opens on June 9 and small squares to the right and left on the narrow paved sidewalks, it still manages to offer 47 places to its customers.
The stress of uncertain weather
“The only problem is that 50%, that’s only 20 covered in good weather. And, if it rains, it will be difficult to get people to the tables on board, comments Thomas Desprats. But it’s only for three weeks… ”It should in any case be difficult to make a reservation in Gironde, warns Laurent Tournier, because“ given the weather, few restaurant owners want to promise tables ”.
Many would have liked to reopen directly to full capacity and fear refusing people, given the enthusiasm generated by the announcement of the reopening. “We had a lot of calls, about twenty this morning alone, and some are not very aware [des règles sanitaires] and ask us indoors, or tables with seven or eight seats… ”Yes, the craze is definitely there…
“We are going to make people feel safe, that they are not afraid of the crowd, especially if it is raining and that we have to repatriate them under the awning, while keeping the safety distances, anticipates the manager of Chez Michel’s. It’s a real challenge ”.
Roll on June 9!
“We had time to take the lead, the build-up will be gradual. And on June 9, restaurant owners will be able to open 100% of their terraces and 50% of their seats indoors, ”says Laurent Tournier. Restaurant owners are a bit apprehensive about how summer will unfold. Are the French going to stay in France like last summer when European destinations are gradually opening up? Will the Spaniards and the English be there? While coastal establishments are sure to fill their terraces, there are uncertainties hanging over those in urban centers.
For now, restaurants do not seem to be short of manpower. But from July 10, 3,000 to 3,500 employees could be missing in establishments in Gironde, according to the UMIH. “The problem is that today for 300 advertisements, there are 20 candidates, notes Laurent Tournier. Some have gone to other sectors. “
In any case, it will be necessary to cope with the appetite of customers who could storm these places of conviviality all summer long, the opening of which has been long awaited.