“Everyone is very depressed.” The expression refers to the reaction of traders in Baixa de Coimbra to the breakdown of sales brought about by the pandemic of the covid-19 and was shared by Assunção Ataíde, president of the Agency for the Promotion of Baixa de Coimbra (APBC).
The outlook, ensures the responsible person, is alarming and is well expressed in the drop in sales turnover, which, compared to last year, has registered, in the last months, a decrease of “80 to 90 percent” in its activity.
For the leader of APBC, who assumes herself as a “compulsive optimist”, the situation is in fact “very worrying”, giving the example of her own business – the cellar A Camponeza -, which accounts for a drop “close to 80 percent ”.
Assunção Ataíde recalls that the degree of distress varies from space to space, because “many people were making large investments in the period when the pandemic started”. The fact that the multitudes of foreign tourists disappeared “overnight” is another issue emphasized, since much of the downtown business was supported by the international public.
Thus, with an uncertain future and the economy increasingly choked, the solution will be to be creative and seek to stimulate domestic consumption. For this reason, similarly to what happened recently with the Festival of Soups and the “Petiscos e Rabiscos” route, APBC intends to continue to dynamize the historic center through gastronomic events that bring people to that area of the city.
The plan, said Assunção Ataíde, is to divide the Baixa into “several proximity centers” and organize an activity at that point in this jurisdiction, every month. “We are adopting a strategy that addresses the issue locally. The idea is to outline groups here, Rua da Moeda and Rua da Louça, or Rua da Sofia and Terreiro da Erva, and, every month, we promote an action in a certain area. It is a way of involving everyone… ”, he explained.
The strategy will culminate on the 4th of July 2021, City Day, in which a joint initiative will be organized that “puts Coimbra on fire”.
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