Italy eats its last supper: “We will not have the strength to fight”

Restaurants and bars are closed after 18:00, according to the decision implemented in Italy yesterday after England and France.

Following the curfew imposed at certain times in England and France, Italy decided to close restaurants and bars after 18:00 from October 26 to November 24. Niko Romito, the chef of the 3 Michelin-starred Reale and a successful entrepreneur with many restaurants inside and outside Italy, said October 25 was really the “last supper” for many restaurants in Italy. “Many of us will not have the strength to fight against the government’s decision to close bars and restaurants at 6pm and to force a sector to renounce to over 50 per cent of their turnover for what is likely to be an indefinite period of time. For many of us, the assistance that will be provided will not be sufficient to counter the second wave that forces us to close for a second time in eight months,” he said.

Niko said many of his friends as well as restauranteurs he doesn’t know where assessing what to do in the coming days. “Should they keep the restaurant open just for lunch and decide how to manage staff or close the restaurant?”

The starred Italian chef said he did not want to criticise the government and understood this was not an easy moment and that any decisions taken would create disappointment and even lack of comprehension, Food and Wine Gazette reported. “I don’t want to say that it would have been better to close everything again. I would just like to share our disappointment because colleagues see in us Michelin star chefs a point of reference and sometimes a source of inspiration.”

He said there was disappointment but at the same time, there was also the willingness as citizens and entrepreneurs to do his part as a member of the Italian community. “I will try my best, similar to what I have done over the past 20 years with my sister Cristiana. It will not be easy but we will not be discouraged by this. Our restaurants will remain open respecting the law welcoming clients in a safe manner,” he said.

Raf Alajmo took to Facebook to say that when they had been locked down in March, they did not receive any help. “To go on, we got into debt. We were forced to reduce seats and to comply with strict sanitary hygiene, norms and medical aids with no contribution from your side.”

The restauranteur said ’employees received assistance from government but said that if restaurants are shut down again for no fault of theirs, they will need help not to indebt themselves further.