Business owners in the Romanian hospitality industry can expect a scarce winter season, since according to the latest epidemiological restrictions, restaurants, bars and coffee shops can only serve food and drinks on their terraces. Local governments in Szeklerland are trying to work out specific solutions to help the struggling entrepreneurs, the Székelyhon.ro news portal reported.
The mayor and the city council of Székelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc) commissioned an extensive survey at the beginning of the pandemic, aiming to find out what kind of support the local businesses needed.
“The city council plans to reduce the annual operating fee for hospitality businesses by 50 percent,” the municipal spokesperson told the news portal. Furthermore, companies and even one-person businesses, which are not allowed to function due to the restrictions in force, would also benefit from a 50 percent tax relief. In addition to these, during the summer, the city hall had initiated a partnership program of local stakeholders entitled “We spend our vacation at home” and commissioned 15 videos promoting local hospitality businesses.
In Marosvásárhely (Târgu-Mureş) the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (known by its Hungarian acronym RMDSZ) initiated a draft decision accepted by the city council, which allows restaurants and bars to assemble “winter-proof” terraces for outdoor dining. These outdoor lounges can be created in all the districts of the city on the condition that the minimum width of the sidewalk is at least three meters.
The newly elected mayor of the city of Csíkszereda, Attila Korodi, told Székelyhon that the city council is open to the idea of introducing tax allowances and he is about to meet with the representatives of the alliance of hospitality businesses. “The city council has already taken some tax relief decisions during the summer months, but the stakeholders did not find these satisfactory enough. Thus, we have to consult with companies to find out exactly what type of support they need,” the mayor said.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis promulgated a law last Wednesday, allowing for the annual property tax on all buildings and land used for tourist services at least 180 days a year to be reduced by 50 percent. The provisions will be effective as of January 1, 2021.
As a consequence of the property tax reductions, municipalities will lose a part of their annual revenue; nevertheless, the mayor of the Szekler city of Sepsiszentgyörgy (Sfântu Gheorghe), Árpád Antal, is of the opinion that the new regulation is appropriate. “The government must do everything possible to help the companies, as in the long run, the weakening of the private sector will be bad for the whole country. As the epidemiological restrictions have affected mostly tourist and hospitality businesses, these sectors have to be firmly supported,” the city leader emphasized. In Sepsiszentgyörgy, companies active in hospitality and tourism were offered the possibility to apply for subsidies from the municipality as well.
Title image: “Winter-proof” terraces for outdoor dining might be a solution for restaurants and coffee shops. The image is an illustration