Many of the UT bars and restaurants remain closed after 1 June

| Jelle Posthuma

From the 1st of June, the Dutch hospitality industry will open its doors again, but on campus many doors will remain closed for the time being. At the Pakkerij there is a lack of clarity. 'We want to open as soon as possible, but have little influence on it.'

Photo by: Gijs van Ouwerkerk
Archive image of the terrace at the Vrijhof (Theatercafé)

Caterer Appèl is in talks with the UT about a possible reopening, says Dave Tabois, account manager for campus and education. 'We are eager to start on 1 June. The plans have been submitted to the UT. We'd prefer to open tomorrow, but it has to fit in with the UT's policy. We do not manage the premises, and they are closed for the time being, even after 1 June. I understand the UT's dilemma: it's more complex to open the entire campus than a number of catering establishments.'

That is why Tabois expects little from the month of June. Moreover, the question is whether a reopening makes sense, says the account manager. 'If there are only three hundred people walking around the campus, it won't be profitable for us. We now focus on the Theatercafé in the Vrijhof, because we have a terrace there and because thirty people are allowed in the building to visit the library. The question remains: can they also go to the Theatercafé? Actually, I don't have any concrete expectations for the month of June yet, because we don't have a go or no go of the UT.'

According to Tabois, the corona crisis is 'a financial blow' to the caterer. 'There hasn't been a dime earned on campus since 16 March, and that's obviously a problem. The turnover of our company has been reduced by fourty percent nationwide, although fortunately as an independent family business we can take some damage. The sixty employees who work at the UT are all at home. They are paid, but of course we would have preferred them at work. For the time being, I'm assuming that we won't open everywhere at the UT until September.'

Vestingbar

The doors of the Vestingbar also remain closed for the time being, says board member Guido Boerboom. 'There are three reasons for this. A number of maintenance activities will not be completed on June 1. We are also waiting for the Twente safety region's action plan, which will be published this Friday. But above all we want to wait and see how things go at other bars and restaurants at the beginning of June. We aim to reopen in June, but the date is not yet known.'

It won't be easy to live up to the 1.5-meter distance in the Vestingbar, says Boerman. 'It's quite an interesting space. Outside on the terrace we see possibilities, but how does it work when someone has to go to the toilet? Those are the questions we are looking at now. Of course the corona crisis is affecting the Vestingbar. Big events like the Batavierenrace and the Kick-In are cancelled. Then you'll miss out on a lot of your income. We're going to have to take a much more critical look at our major expenses in the coming period.' 

Whether the Starbucks at the O&O square will reopen is unclear. Now the American coffee brewer still has closed doors. The Subway in the Bastille has been accessible since the outbreak of the corona crisis. That will be no different on June 1. Visitors do have to order their sandwiches outside. The U Parkhotel (partially) reopened its doors on the 20th of May. From the 1st of June the terrace of the hotel will also be open to visitors, though reservation is required.  The restaurant in the Gallery will reopen on 2 June. The accompanying Grand Café can be visited from 1 July, informs branch manager Pierro van Dijk.

Oude Markt

The Enschede city centre is home to 'de Pakkerij' society. The UT owns the building. It is not yet known whether the students will be able to have a drink there again. 'We would like to, but we don't know if it's allowed,' says Daan Reugebrink, chairman of PKvV Fact, the umbrella organisation of the Enschede student associations. The RIVM guidelines for societies are slightly different from those for the hospitality industry. After the press conference we submitted a plan for a reopening to the municipality of Enschede and the UT as soon as possible. We are still waiting for an answer.'

The plan provides for the 1.5-metre rule and ensures that a maximum of thirty people are present in the building, explains Reugebrink. 'We also want to use different time slots for entering the Pakkerij. Think, for example, of a dispute that reserves an evening to visit the society. We want to distribute the number of visitors as fairly as possible among the associations. But once again: we have no influence at all on whether or not we are allowed to open on 1 June. That's up to the municipality and the UT.'

A bit further down the road is 't Gat in de Markt, a student pub run entirely by students of student association Audentis. They rent the cellar from the municipality of Enschede. Board member Robin Kamphuis: 'Het Gat in de Markt falls in a rather odd category: it's a cross between a social club and a hospitality establishment. We don't know exactly what we're allowed to do, so we don't know whether we can admit visitors again. I'm hoping to get a definite answer on Friday.'

Kamphuis himself questions a responsible reopening of the student café. 'Of course, we want to reopen as soon as possible, but it has to be safe. The biggest problem is the entrance and exit: they are not separated. Het Gat is also quite small. Let me put it this way: it's not the ideal place in the world to abide by the 1.5-metre society.'