On August 2 Vladimir Sipyagin met with representatives of the Association of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs of the Vladimir region. The businessmen asked the governor to soften the anti-coronavirus restrictions for hotels, namely to allow them to accept guests from other regions without QR codes and negative PCR tests. The strict measures led to a redistribution of tourist flows between nearby Kostroma, Tver, Yaroslavl and other regions.
“As a result, hotels in the Vladimir region have recorded a 40% decrease in room stock reservations compared to June, as well as the cancellation of already booked rooms for about 50% of the available reservations. Work after the entry of the decree shows an average occupancy rate of hotels about 15 – 20%, which does not pay back the cost of maintenance. These figures in the high season jeopardize the existence of the entire tourism industry of the region”.
For break-even operation and a small reserve for the low autumn season the occupancy is not less than 50%. Restrictions on accommodations automatically leave not only hotels empty, but catering establishments as well. Thousands of tourism workers in Vladimir, Suzdal, Alexandrov, Murom, Gorokhovets are at risk of layoff, and there are simply no other jobs in small towns and nearby settlements,” hoteliers complained to the governor.
They also complained to Sipyagin about unexpected night checks in cafes and restaurants, initiated by the regional administration. First Vice-Governor Alexander Remiga commented on the raids, noting that there was nothing out of the ordinary. According to him, the number of inspections always increases when new restrictions are introduced. Restaurateurs are not convinced by this explanation, so the question raised at a meeting with the head of the region.
Vladimir Sipyagin took on the role of the “good cop,” making “bad cop” Alexander Remiga, who in his absence served in his capacity. The governor criticized his deputy with uncharacteristic harshness:
“I do not understand why there is no contact, why there is no clear interaction … No matter how many organizations they represent. Is that clear? [turning to Remiga] Organize close contact and interaction. This is my commission. So that the proposals we are going to listen to here will be the collective opinion of public organizations, the Association of Restaurateurs, the Commissioner for the Protection of Entrepreneurs’ Rights, and other spheres these proposals will touch on”.
Remiga promised that “everything will be worked out,” but added that not all hoteliers came to the meetings he organized, despite the invitations. The deputy governor believes that the Department of Entrepreneurship spends a lot of effort and energy on personal interaction with businessmen.
Vladimir Sipyagin’s claims against Alexander Remiga look strange. At a meeting of the operational headquarters on July 1, the Department of Entrepreneurship was instructed:
“…to introduce in the practice of control and inspection activity [at the objects of trade (supermarkets), public catering enterprises, including in the context of local authorities] the application of penalties to legal entities for failure to comply with the rules of conduct in emergency situations or the threat of its occurrence (Article 20.6.1 of the CAO RF).
To warn association of restaurateurs and hoteliers of the Vladimir region about possibility of suspension of activity of separate enterprises in case of ignoring of requirements of the decree of the governor of the region from 17.03.2020 № 38 with all changes”.
The deadline is July 1, with no expiration date. The protocol states that Sipyagin was present at this meeting and that he also signed it. Accordingly, the audits could not have come as a surprise to him.
Nevertheless, after yesterday’s meeting, the governor sympathized with the entrepreneurs, stressing that the unscheduled inspections took place in his absence.
“The Department of Entrepreneurship, by decision of the regional operational headquarters, was instructed to monitor compliance with security measures, but not unscheduled inspections in any way. I understand the reaction of business – people did not know what to expect when they were suddenly visited by officials accompanied by law enforcement officers, and the legal grounds for the visit were not comprehensibly explained. In order to avoid a repeat of what happened during my absence in the region, I instructed the economic bloc to make the business community aware of this monitoring. I know that our regional business ombudsman Alla Matyushkina is already doing explanatory work,” Vladimir Sipyagin posted on his page in social networks.
Sipyagin gave instructions to the economic block to develop measures to support business. Department of Entrepreneurship will also collect information on the number of employees of trade and hospitality, which are going to be vaccinated against coronavirus. The regional public health department will have to provide the vaccine to this category as soon as possible.