The national ministry of economic affairs is coordinating other ministries in finalising a support plan for the hospitality industry. Among measures expected to be announced to help bars and restaurants are social security contribution exemptions and discounts, extensions to the grace period and repayment terms of ICO credit institute loans, and the means to be able to renegotiate rents.
On Thursday, Hostelería de España, the umbrella association for restaurants, bars, cafés and pubs in Spain, registered a letter sent to members of the Spanish government - the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez; the economic affairs minister, Nadia Calviño; and the industry, trade and tourism minister, Reyes Maroto.
The hospitality industry, which has requested direct aid worth 8,500 million euros, points to the closure of 65,000 businesses up to the end of October, the loss of 350,000 jobs, and a 50% fall in turnover compared with 2019.
The aid that the industry is seeking is a response to the fact it believes that current ICO loans and ERTE terms are no longer sufficient. In this regard, Hostelería de España refers to "other possible models", such as direct aid and non-refundable assistance, that are being applied in other countries, e.g. France and Germany.
José Luis Yzuel, the president of Hostelería de España, says that "in places like the Balearics and Madrid we are seeing models that make the containment of the pandemic compatible with economic activity in the sector". But he adds that "a courageous and structural plan is needed in order to reverse the trend we are experiencing".
By the end of the year, it is estimated that if necessary measures are not adopted, a third of establishments could close - some 100,000 across the country. This would result in the loss of between 900,000 and 1.1 million direct and indirect jobs.
Other measures expected to be announced by the government include a strategic plan for Spain's gastronomy, a training plan for financial management and professionalisation in the hotel and tourism sectors, and a repeal of the ERTE clause in respect of the maintenance of employment over the six months following the resumption of business activity.