Businesses in many parts of Europe are demanding more government help as new pandemic restrictions and heightened anxiety over the highly contagious Omicron variant have crushed what would normally be a profitable time of year.
Nowhere is this worse than in the Netherlands, where the Dutch government instituted a lockdown over the weekend, closing most shops, bars, restaurants, gyms, outdoor sports, cultural venues and schools through January.
Some business owners fear they may never reopen.
“That is something that I ask myself every day,” said Omar Waseq, who owns a cheese bar and a film cafe in the center of Utrecht. “I’m not 100 percent sure.”
Mr. Waseq estimated that he is losing about $50,000 each month while his cheese bar, Kaasbar Utrecht, is shuttered, and $100,000 at the cafe. Plans to rebuild a nightclub he owns that was burned in a fire in January have been put on hold.
He has had to let go most of his 80-person staff and is now trying to make money selling mulled wine in the streets and cheese packages door-to-door.
Many Dutch business owners are seeking help from the government. Calls to the nation’s business registry asking for assistance climbed past 400 on Monday — seven times the number logged the previous Monday.
In Britain, the government responded Tuesday, announcing 1 billion pounds,
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