PALMA – Trade unions and associations estimate that of the nearly 5,000 bars and restaurants in Mallorca, more than half are forced to remain closed under the newly announced restrictions.
Introducing the 10 pm curfew has already been a cold shower for many owners of bars and restaurants. The measure came just as people were hoping for some relaxation after a dramatic year. Furthermore, catering establishments are not allowed to receive customers in their interior spaces until 28 February. And with full closure between Friday and Sunday from 6 pm, for some, it is the final blow.
The government of the Balearic Islands is attempting to compensate the entrepreneurs with a payment of €1,500. But, that amount is considered insufficient. Entrepreneurs in Diario de Mallorca point out they are making a ‘titanic effort’ to prevent new infections. And as such, improve the numbers of the pandemic. But if those efforts fail “for us the Govern [regional government] has lost all its credibility”.
“We are ready to support the government in the interests of all. But they must ensure the island is healthy with extensive checks on ports and the airport” the association CAEB reported. This must be done with the view of opening for the tourist season of 2021. “If not, our sector will die for good”.
Financial support of 5 million euros
The Deputy of Economy, Tourism and Work, Lago Negueruela, the President of the Consell, Catalina Cladera, and the Mayor of Palma, José Hila, met with representatives from the sector. And on Saturday afternoon announced €5million support. Owners of bars and restaurants can appeal for this support by applying for €1,500 each.
Losses already run into millions
Industry associations are happy with any help and have indicated that it has been well received. However, they point out that it is nowhere near enough as “the losses are already in the millions.”
The chairman of CAEB, Carmen Planas demanded tax cuts and that companies should no longer have to pay certain costs temporarily. “All entrepreneurs complain that they have to pay waste tax or water when they are not in operation at all,” she clarified.
Suspension of new measures
On Saturday, the Supreme Court of the Balearic Islands (TSJIB) opened a case brought by the association of catering establishments and the association of SMEs in Mallorca. They demanded that new measures be suspended and examined for legal validity, as a judge in the Basque Country also ruled.
“Every day that passes without this official announcement from TSJIB, 50 catering establishments in Mallorca will have to close their doors permanently”. Furthermore, “this also leaves hundreds of employees to their own devices”, according to a press statement.
New restrictions from Monday, February 15th
The new measures announced earlier this week go into effect on Monday. The hospitality industry will remain closed at least until March 2. Shopping centers and chain stores can reopen, albeit with a large list of restrictions. Including that only 30% of the maximum capacity is allowed, they must close at 8 pm during the week and remain closed at the weekend. Only chain stores that sell essential products are permitted to open on weekends.
The message from the regional government is that it is a ‘slow de-escalation due to the still complicated situation in the hospitals and in the ICs on the island’.