People at a bar. | ALESSANDRO DI MARCO

It has been a nightmare Christmas for many local restaurants and my heart goes out to their owners and staff. I was chatting to one restaurant owner who told me that his suppliers had been asking him to order for Christmas early because of the threatened transport strike. He did so gambling that a good festive period would save the day and overcome the big financial outlay. But days before Christmas the cancellations started to come in as the number of Covid cases rose and also it appears that relatively large numbers of people still do not have their Covid passport.

Instead of packed restaurant it was a case of half full...or half empty. I know another local restaurant which had a packed house for Christmas only to find that a table of 24 cancelled because one of the party had Covid only hours before they were due to sit down. The list goes on. Unfortunately, there is little or nothing that can be done to avert this state of affairs but it just underlines how local businesses are suffering. Restaurants are taking a gamble every time they buy fresh meat, fish or vegetables at the moment. The whole situation can change within hours.

The local government is talking about new restrictions, this could include a limit on the number of people sitting together in a restaurant so it could mean more trouble on the horizon. It must be remembered that the restaurant trade is one of the biggest employers in Spain...the industry may soon need help because Covid has meant last orders for some.