Hotel owners are preparing to submit hundreds of compensation claims to the government over the next month. This is as a result of the economic losses caused by the state of alert. Thereafter, if necessary a claim will be filed with the Supreme Court.
Compensation required for losses suffered as a result of the state of alert
Both the industry’s main employer, Hostelería España, and the platform LaHostelería de Todos are trying to find as many supporters as possible before March 14. By then, a year will have passed since the restrictions were introduced. Both organisations claim to have already gathered about a thousand interested parties to demand compensation. There is also interest from other sectors, such as gyms or event organisers.
According to the law
The claim for damages is based on the Organic Law of 1981 that regulates the state of emergency. It states that those who suffer ‘personal, legal or property damage’ or are adversely affected by the state of alert are ‘entitled to compensation’.
Going to the Supreme Court
Initially, a claim will be filed with the government to recover the losses. But if it is rejected or ignored, a claim will be filed with the Supreme Court within six months. That is the likely outcome.
The lawyers for both associations are demanding compensation. This should equal the difference in income during the alert period and during the same period in the past three years. That is, for the lost income between 14 March and 21 June and between 25 October and now. It concerns both small entrepreneurs and large hotel chains. At the moment, the exact amount to be claimed is not yet known.
Government or sub-government
The plaintiffs agree that the compensation should be borne by the government during the first state of alarm. But they disagree about the second state of alarm as measures differed from one sub-region to another. The boroughs acted on behalf of the government,’ says Alberto Ruiz, a lawyer for La Hostelería de Todos. He argues that the central government should be responsible for reimbursing the losses. Hostelería España’s representative Cristina Llop disagrees: ‘We do not exclude the possibility of appealing to the boroughs because the restrictions imposed are not justified’.
Antonio García, secretary of Hostelería España Granada, stressed “if the claim is not upheld, we will go to the Supreme Court without any doubt, because what we have had to endure this year as an industry is a dispossession in disguise.” Before the pandemic, the sector in the province of Granada accounted for 14% of gross domestic product, worth over €2 billion and 15,000 jobs.
García says that so far around 180 establishments have joined to file the claim. The claim is “based on both the total closure during the first alert and the subsequent restrictions on the opening hours and capacity of our establishments”.
In November, non-essential activities in Granada had to close for three weeks due to the high number of infections. There were more than 1,300 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. This prompted the entire city council to ask the government to declare the area a disaster area for the economic damage suffered at the hands of the sub-government.