On Thursday this week, fifty initial claims for loss of earnings will be presented to Spain's ministry of industry, trade and tourism by companies from the hospitality sector. Further claims will be registered over the coming weeks up to the anniversary of the introduction of the original state of alarm (March 14).
The claims are the first step in what will be a class action lawsuit to be taken to the Supreme Court for damages caused by measures adopted by the Spanish government and by regional governments. Hospitality businesses have created a platform called Hostelería de Todos, which is demanding compensation for closures and has engaged a leading law firm that has experience with such collective lawsuits.
Around a thousand businesses have so far joined, a website having been set up for claims to be presented - Inicio (lahosteleriadetodos.org). Spokespeople insist that this is not political in that they "don't care who is in the government; we only want good managers". They also stress that "we have the right to be compensated for the closures". "We have adjusted our businesses and adopted measures, but the national and regional governments don't give a fig. And we continue to pay taxes. We are the scapegoats for administrations exempting themselves from the responsibility of adopting measures that they are not taking, such as the hiring of medical personnel and track-and-tracers and augmenting intensive care units."
It is accepted that the case will be difficult and that it will take a long time to resolve. Nevertheless, the platform is convinced that the demands will succeed by grouping them as a single case. "It cannot be that everything is about restrictions and that there is no type of aid. We cannot be left just to pay taxes."
As reported last week, the restaurants association within the Pimem federation of small to medium-sized businesses and the recently formed Arema association of restaurants announced their own legal action against the Balearic government. Thirty-three businesses have put their names to an appeal for judicial review by the Balearic High Court with the intention of claiming damages for loss of earnings.