A quarter of all catering establishments are considering closing their doors amid a dramatic decrease in sales brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, an industry survey has revealed. 

The survey by the Association of Catering Establishment (ACE) found that 26 per cent were considering closure, while 42 per cent were adopting a wait-and-see approach. Only 23 per cent said categorically they would remain open. 

Meanwhile, a quarter of establishments said they would be dismissing some or all of their employees, while nearly half said they were not yet sure. 

The association said the dire sentiments were being driven by decreased sales and unsustainable costs. 

"The wage supplement has originally helped the industry to survive. However, its mechanism is not working in a way that it sustains the industry. The industry is known to have high turnover of employees unlike other sectors. This has led to many employees not being covered by the wage supplements apart from the fact that the wage supplement had been reduced," the association said.

"All catering establishments claim that less than 35 percent of their employees receive wage supplements given the staff  turnover meaning restauteurs are financing the remaining two-thirds while enduring eight months of decreased sales."

The association reiterated its previous calls to government to "act fast" and extend the wage supplement to those employed after March 9, to avoid a "major disaster" in the sector. 

It said budget measures had been positive at the outset and but had not been adequately implemented.

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