Half of Colombia’s gastronomic sector vanishes in less than a year

BOGOTA, Colombia – Claudia Rivas has been showing up to work every day. She is grateful to still work at a restaurant’s kitchen in Bogota, the gastronomic capital of Colombia.

Rivas has been trying to make ends meet with only 50% of her pay since the business started to suffer during the coronavirus pandemic. Colombia’s minimum wage is about $300 per month.

Before the economic crisis, there were more than 90,000 restaurants that supported 1,500,000 families nationwide, according to The Colombian Association of the Gastronomic Industry, or ACODRES.

Only about 42,000 of those restaurants have survived the lockdowns that allow authorities to keep hospital capacity under control and save lives. The other 48,000 restaurants were victims of the pandemic.

ACODRES estimates the restaurants’ closures left about 720,000 unemployed, including 230,000 restaurant workers and 490,000 who had indirect jobs.

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Torres contributed to this report from Miami.

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