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Coping in the age of COVID-19: A gourmet restaurant hungry for diners

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Chef Roberto Terradillos inside his empty restaurant, "Terra", in Palencia, Spain.
Chef Roberto Terradillos inside his empty restaurant, "Terra", in Palencia, Spain.   -   Copyright  Euronews
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The coronavirus crisis has wreaked havoc on businesses around the world. In Spain, it has left an ambitious chef waiting for orders.

Former Michelin-starred chef Roberto Terradillos does not yet know when he will be able to reopen the doors of Terra, his restaurant in the northern city of Palencia. For now, he has to settle for takeaway services.

Not all parts of Spain are lifting lockdown restrictions at the same pace, leaving some businesses frustrated. In Madrid, Barcelona, and in the northwestern region of Castile and Leon – zones deemed at higher risk from coronavirus infections – only the terraces of bars and restaurants can take in customers these days.

Those that don’t have outdoor seating, like Terra, fear they will have to wait at least until the end of June to reopen.

Terra opened last November, and was doing well before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

"I took it quite hard, because we were having a good month of March. We were already thinking of hiring more kitchen and dining staff and we've already expanded since we opened," said Terradillos, who is also the brother of an editor on Euronews' Spanish service.

"It's hard on a business level, because this year I won't know the real revenue that my restaurant makes. In the end, the hardest thing, apart from the psychological aspect, is that it caught us when our fridges were full. It’s been a very tough period."

The restaurant’s staff are on a temporary layoff scheme. As Spain gradually lifts its lockdown, Terradillos wants all of them to return.

"I can't imagine that we'll restart part-time. I'm very positive about that, and I think that the day we re-open, we'll continue to have the same success we've had since we opened," he told Euronews.

Terradillos is already preparing for the restaurant to reopen with new security and social distancing measures in place.

"We will obviously use the security measures we have been advised to take. We already have enough space between tables," he said.

"We have also adapted our menu to make it available through a QR code, so when customers arrive at the table they can access the menu (on their phones). But I think that will be a temporary measure, because I think customers will ask for a real menu when the fear passes."

Watch Laura’s report in the video player above.