Alberto Di Majo
04 April 2021
Restaurants open only for take-out, bar managers forced to serve customers outside the door. A nightmare for many Italians. But not for everyone. Deputies and senators, in fact, can still sit at the table to have lunch or lean against the counter to drink a coffee. The restaurant of the Chamber and the bar of the Senate, in fact, continue to carry out the service as always.
In Parliament, the pandemic seems to have upset the daily lives of its tenants much less. The Montecitorio restaurant works: the deputies can sit at the tables, which have been reduced in recent weeks, and order the dishes they prefer, just like they did last year. The buvette, that is the bar that is located in front of the entrance to the Hall, is closed, but the two rooms where hot dishes are prepared, one on the ground floor and the other a few meters from the ocean liner, continue to be in business as before, perhaps even more than before, not having the competition from the restaurants that are in the area.
But there is a difference: the restaurant on the ground floor, rather spartan, is frequented by employees. After all, it has always had self service. While the one on the first floor is a real restaurant available to the ladies. On the other hand, the buvette is open at Palazzo Madama, where parliamentarians can have a coffee or cappuccino, a drink or a sandwich.
Everything is regular, foreseen by the decrees that have followed one another in the last twelve months. The texts signed by the former premier Giuseppe Conte and also the last by the president Mario Draghi, in fact, gave the company canteens the opportunity to remain open. Here’s the trick. Although hardly anyone would equate Parliament with a business, the luxurious Montecitorio restaurant is considered to be a “company canteen”.
The decree of January 14, 2021 explains that “canteen and continuous catering activities are permitted on a contractual basis, which guarantee an interpersonal safety distance of at least one meter”. And so it was done in Montecitorio. Over the months the space between the tables became wider (when guidelines recommended a distance of two meters) but the service was never interrupted.
At the beginning, the rule was to save only company canteens (even those in schools), then the interpretation became “extensive”, up to and including the restaurants that provide table service. And then some managers, severely tested by the restrictions, decided to “transform” their business into a canteen. However, they were disappointed: for them the operation was much more complicated.
In fact, there is a need for the authorization of the competent territorial authorities, it is necessary to change the Ateco code, acquiring, in fact, that of the company canteen, it is also necessary to certify the start of activity with all the required documentation and the stipulation of a contract between the local and neighboring companies in which specific agreements are envisaged for workers.
A bumpy path for the managers of Italian clubs, already tried by closures and continuous changes of rules. But MPs can rest easy and continue to order their favorite dishes at the restaurant or the buvette. Pardon, to their “canteens”.
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