Finally light at the end of the tunnel for nightlife in Spain?

by Lorraine Williamson
nightlife hopeful to reopen

MADRID – After a year and a half´s closurethere is hope for nightlife in Spain. The sector hopes to reopen fully as of October 1, now that some Spanish regions have made this announcement. However, despite this positive news, many Spanish clubs did not survive the pandemic.  

With the epidemiological situation and vaccination making good progress every week, Madrid regional president Ayuso kicked off this week with the message to lift all corona restrictions on the catering industry and nightlife by September 20. 

Is nightlife open in all Spanish regions? 

After similar announcements have also been made for Asturias and Castile and León, there seems to be a snowball effect of regional authorities gradually lifting restrictions on nightlife. However, only Catalonia is lagging behind when it comes to lifting restrictions. Currently, the nightlife in this region closes at 12.30 am. And because the corona incidence is still too high at the moment, the Generalitat does not think it will be ready until mid-October. 

Almost half permanently closed

Reopening nightlife in Spain would put an end to the massive collapse of bars and nightclubs in Spain, according to the sector’s employers’ association, España de Noche. Since March 2020, 7,000 owners have had to close the doors of their clubs. That is a whopping 42% of the 16,500 clubs that existed in Spain before the pandemic. 

The Spanish government has promised support to the sector on several occasions. However, Spain Nightlife, one of the organisations within this industry, reports it only covered 1% of the losses. 

Opening nightlife must stop botellones 

To turn the sector’s hopes into action, España de Noche attended the Health Ministry’s Inter-Territorial Commission on Wednesday. The organisation demands from the Ministry that they can fully open to the public again on October 1. 

Opening the bars and nightclubs will come as a relief for the owners who have been without income for a year and a half. Furthermore, it should also provide a controlled alternative to the ‘botellones’, the illegal drinking parties held by young people. Currently, the Spanish police are unable to suppress these parties when too many people are present who do not adhere to the health measures. 

Equal rules for all of Spain 

In order to open nightlife as safely as possible, employers’ organisations have demanded the introduction of the Covid certificate. This would be needed to access clubs and bars. However, this was attempted in Andalucia but was subsequently undone by the courts. After much legal wrangling, Galicia in Spain is now taking the lead in adopting this measure for access to nightlife. 

Employers’ associations are now clamoring for a national regulation that can be applied to the whole of Spain. This would allow nightlife to safely reopen everywhere in the same way. The last thing everyone wants is 17 different regulations to be able to have a drink in a bar in the evening. 

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