After being postponed and postponed, former Minister of State Per Sandberg and his cohabitant Bahareh Letnes finally opened their bar in Halden on 15 May 2020.
They have mostly kept going under strict restrictions, but now they had just gotten used to normal opening hours, and to work until four at night, when the new national corona measures came on Tuesday night.
– For us, this means that we must lay off people. Friday and Saturday are our biggest sources of income, with the most turnover between 23 and half past two. Now that we have to stop serving at midnight, it leads to a significant sales failure, says Sandberg to Good evening Norway.
In addition to him and Letnes, they have two and a half employees. Now at least one and a half will be laid off, and Letnes will have to take up half a position.
But unlike last time, they were prepared for the new restrictions now.
– Then we had it thrown over us, now we get at least a day. So we do not complain, we are really used to being in operation half the year. For us, this is a bit of “same procedure as last year”, explains the former FrP politician.
– We know this. We have become good at both the meter and the bar stop. We have to go around being moral police again for older people, says Sandberg.
Worse for the industry now
But even if Sandberg takes the news with restraint, he believes that this round will be worse for his industry.
– You do not think that when you get such measures, such as table reservations and table service, you really need more employees, he explains, and continues:
– I do not think many people have the capital now to hire people, so I think it will be worse for the industry this time, because you both have a worn economy, and you struggle to hire.
Sandberg also calls for more clarity from the government.
– 90 percent of the customers we had here on Friday and Saturday said: “what are we going to do?”. No one can keep up, says Sandberg.
Vedum in particular thought he was incredibly vague at the press conference.
– It is strange when a finance minister stands on the rostrum and says that the compensation depends on whether you get lower or higher turnover. Nobody in the industry knows that.
– You do not have to be a scientist to understand that there will be lower turnover, but in relation to what? One can not measure with December last year. You have no chance to document what the loss will be from tomorrow night until the restrictions are lifted, he explains.
Sandberg naturally does not have figures from 2019 when they were not in operation, and in November and December last year they lost 1.5 million kroner.
– If the compensation scheme becomes so difficult that we must have the burden of proof to show what we have lost, it is impossible.
At the same time as he is somewhat critical of the government’s handling, Sandberg also has sympathy with them.
– This will be difficult for the Minister of Finance and the entire government. They have taken over at the worst possible time. They are new and a government must sit down. It is a little unfair to throw yourself with all the criticism of the government after such a short time, says Sandberg.