COLOGNE, Germany

Hoteliers and restaurateurs in Germany are badly affected by tougher new restrictions on public life to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Last week, the European country, which has devolved the management of the virus and restrictions to regional leaders within its 16 states, announced new measures including limits on the number of people at private gatherings, and cafes and restaurants to close by 11 p.m. in areas classified as hotspots.

As Cologne exceeded its coronavirus threshold of 50 new infections per 100,000 people over a seven-day period, its mayor, Henriette Reker, banned alcohol consumption in public after 10 p.m., and restricted gatherings to up to five people in public spaces.

She also urged the people to refrain from private parties and large celebrations.

Turkish-German proprietors in the western city say they are having a hard time to stay afloat.

Fazil Bay, the owner of LöwenBrau Hotel and Restaurant since 1993, said most of their tables stay empty. “Customers don’t leave their homes because the restaurants will close early anyway,” he told Anadolu Agency.

Bay said they are fulfilling all obligations vis-à-vis the pandemic, and are careful about hygiene rules. “From entrance to the bathrooms, we have put hand sanitizers everywhere. But we don’t have customers, that is the main problem,” he lamented.

Erdogan Guclu, the manager of Bay Freud restaurant, said they now operate for limited hours, which has obviously affected the sales volume. “Our restaurant was open from 10.00 a.m. till three in the night. But now we open at 3 p.m. and close by 11 p.m.,” he said.

Guclu added that the entire food and beverage industry has been devastated by the pandemic, urging the government to step in to improve the situation.

Germany on Thursday reported 11,287 new virus cases, a record in the country’s daily COVID-19 count.

According to the figures released by Robert Koch Institute, new infections jumped by more than 3,500 in the past 24 hours, up from 7,595 on Wednesday. The previous single-day record was 7,830, registered on Saturday.

The country has so far registered a total of 397,922 coronavirus cases, and 9,931 deaths.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Germans to restrict movement, saying “difficult months are ahead of us.”

*Writing and contribution by Iclal Turan and Waleed Tariq

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