A terrace in the Retiro park in Madrid, closed during lockdown

A terrace in the Retiro park in Madrid, closed during the original lockdown.

22-04-2020Efe

Spain's hospitality industry is demanding more aid to alleviate the serious effects of the crisis. Hostelería de España, the umbrella association for the country's restaurants, bars, cafés and pubs, believes that the sector is being neglected by the government while at the same time being "demonised".

At a presentation to mark Hospitality Day on Tuesday, the president, José Luis Yzuel, said that the hospitality industry is not responsible for sources of infection. "We are being demonised, because we are not responsible for the outbreaks. They use as a smokescreen and are ruining us. What the hospitality industry needs is a lot of help."

He continued: "Unfortunately, we are not in the government's sights. Pedro Sánchez presented the recovery plans last week, but made hardly any reference to the hospitality industry. The deputy prime minister (second deputy, Pablo Iglesias) agreed that tourism does not add value*. We are being ignored. I trust that the government will be a little bit sensible and that aid will finally arrive, as otherwise there will be a real disaster."

Yzuel observed that there are parts of the hospitality industry which have been devastated, such as catering for weddings and conferences. Haute cuisine has also been badly affected, "especially those firms which depend greatly on international tourism".

The CEO of Makro cash and carry in Spain, Peter Gries, expressed his support for the bars and restaurants. They are "an important engine for the country's economy". He highlighted the "impeccable work and hefty investment" in respect of safety, hygiene and digitalisation.

Pepa Muñoz, the president of the FACYRE federation for chefs and confectioners, said that the hospitality industry has been reinventing itself since it was possible for establishments to reopen. "We are adapting and every day we have to adapt to new rules that are being set."

A change that may be here to stay is the "Europeanisation" of meal times, with dinner being served from 8pm. "This would be ideal," noted Muñoz, "but in Spain it is difficult because we depend on other sectors".

In a Makro study of hospitality and consumers, which was presented on Tuesday, it was shown that 73% of Spaniards do not believe that the hospitality industry is responsible for outbreaks, or if it is, then only slightly. Over half said that they missed going to bars and restaurants during lockdown, while 85% stated they would like to be able to lend a hand to the industry during the current difficult times.

Of measures adopted, 80% of those surveyed considered the increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection to be very important, while 87% believed that digital advances, such as those applying to menus, should remain once the pandemic is over.

* Pablo Iglesias has made statements about tourism that are similar to those previously made by the consumer affairs minister, Alberto Garzón.

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