Professional Comment

Investment in Health and Safety Rather Than EOTHO 2.0 is ‘the Answer for Hospitality’

By Marcos Fernandez MD of Iberica Restaurants ( and Arros QD (

When you close the doors of a business, and don’t want it to fail, you need to also freeze everything connected to it that might cost money. Employees were taken care of through Furlough, However, many of the fixed costs where not taken care of, especially Landlord and Bank/Financial costs.This is why businesses won’t survive.

When we reopened in the summer, the lack of those fixed costs being addressed by the government, such as huge rental costs in city centres, created an urgency to help produce revenues, So, EOTHO was born.

However, this is a subsidy and a short term solution to what was clearly a mid to long term problem. A virus that acted like flu, but was more contagious and much more deadly, no one forecasting was thinking that this would be over in one wave and a short-term problem, but a long year followed by existential changes to the business in the long run, changes that will particularly affect the health and safety operation of the business.

The Help out to Eat Out subsidy, intended to benefit the whole industry failed, because the world had already changed.Those companies in the centre of towns that where to survive, continued working on making their restaurants safer within other strategies towards viability.Those in the residential areas would probably not, they were too concentrated on taking care of an artificial demand that in some cases produced way above average earnings, in packed restaurants with ever increasing capacities (2m to 1m).

The resources that should have been allocated to providing a long term solution to the industry, where used in only benefiting some and in a very short term: that cash is long gone.The best way to remain open is to invest in the health & safety and ventilation of the restaurants so that they can gradually and safely open.You will find many already comply.

This is very much the case of Iberica and ArrosQD. Our sites are ample with high ceilings, we already have over 1m between tables, extended to 2m since January 2020. Our ventilation systems do not only heat or cool the air, they replace all the air in our restaurants between 10 to 21 times an hour, (UCL established 4 as the necessary to reduce COVID spread, meaning our systems perform 5x more efficiently than the recommended). Most importantly we have adapted our operational procedures and training tools to increase cross contamination containment strategies both in Front of house and the kitchen and behind the scenes.We started with hand sanitisers, again in Feb 2020 right at the beginning of the whispers of the pandemic, and have used masks at all times from March 2020 onwards.We have made it our mission to become and communicate that we are a especially safe restaurant to ensure and comfort diners and importantly, our staff.