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Lebanon: 785 Restaurants, Cafes Closed, 25,000 Employees Laid Off

Lebanon: 785 Restaurants, Cafes Closed, 25,000 Employees Laid Off

Thursday, 20 February, 2020 - 09:00
An empty restaurant at lunchtime, on Dec. 18, 2019, in Beirut, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

The number of restaurants and cafes that closed during the last five months in Lebanon reached 785, the highest percentage of which was recorded in the Mount Lebanon region. Meanwhile more than 25,000 employees were laid off.

The head of Lebanon’s syndicate of restaurants owners, Tony Ramy, said in a statement that 785 restaurants and cafes have been closed in the country since last September.

He noted that the month of January alone witnessed the closing of 240 institutions. He explained that the Mount Lebanon governorate witnessed a closing rate of 54.6%, which is the highest for the year 2019, followed by Beirut, where the percentage of closings reached 29.4%, then come the North Governorate at 6.7%.

The number of employees dismissed from their work exceeded 25,000, while another large portion of employees were working part-time and receiving half-pay, due to the 75 percent sales drop.

“The purchase of raw materials from suppliers is based on the exchange rate of the dollar in the parallel market, at a price of LBP 2500, while the owners of institutions still adopt the official dollar exchange rate of LBP 1515 in their dealings with their customers, without an increase in prices,” Ramy noted.

“This makes investors hardly able to meet the minimum obligations of their employees, on one hand, and suppliers on the other,” he added.

He stressed that the syndicate was awaiting a government action plan that would be commensurate with the current situation.

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