The Confederation of Balearic Business Association, or CAEB, yesterday asked Palma City Council to allow bars and restaurants to keep their terrace awnings for an extra two years.
Restaurateurs say the sector is struggling financially and are asking that experts be drafted in to assess whether replacing the awnings with non-anchored umbrellas could cause health and safety issues for diners and pedestrians.
The Municipal Ordinance of Occupation of Public Way forces restaurateurs to remove their awnings within 18 months, so unless a compromise can be found they will have to be taken down by March 2020, and the CAEB is furious.
“The situation that the sector is going through is very worrying, the hotel industry in Majorca has entered into a critical situation,” said CAEB President, Alfonso Robledo, adding, “it is incomprehensible and worrying that the administration does not realise that we are small and medium-sized entrepreneurs who only claim responsibility and common sense from the political class.”
Robledo argues that “it is necessary to understand that a non-anchored umbrella will not function in the same way as an awning and only allowing umbrellas will damage the image and aesthetics of our city.”
He also pointed out that he is “in favour of a dynamic and cheerful city, which doesn’t infringe or disrespect the rights of each and every one of its neighbours and residents,” adding, “remember that the small businessmen and workers of this sector are also neighbours of Palma.”
The CAEB has asked Palma City Council for an urgent response to its request saying “the decisions of the present will affect hundreds of small entrepreneurs in the near future.”
A number of bars and restaurants, in particular in Santa Catalina which is famous for its vast variety of eateries, have already decided to close because of the council’s new rules and regulations.
But across the city as a whole, the bar and restaurant sector is not happy. Hundreds of small establishments depend on their terraces for a sizeable part of their income and many have concluded that further restrictions will have a highly negative impact in trade and will lead to further closures, jobs losses and abandoned business premises.
In June, it was reported that since the application of new Palma ordinance regulating occupation of the public way, the number of terraces had been reduced by 17.1%. In 2018 there were 1,047 terraces; that figure has shrunk to 868, by June it had fallen further.
The 179 fewer terraces include 79 which could not be authorised according to the bylaw.
The other 100 were being applied for so that checks were made to assess whether they met the bylaw requirements or not.