Inside a restaurant in Mallorca

Restaurants want the curfew to start at midnight and not at 11pm.

26-10-2020Curro Viera

The Balearic minister for the economic model, tourism and employment, Iago Negueruela, has called a meeting for 5.30pm on Monday to discuss the curfew and the limitation of six people to a table with representatives of the hospitality sector.

The CAEB restaurants association is one among several business associations which is asking the Balearic government to start the curfew at midnight and not at 11pm. The president, Alfonso Robledo, acknowledges that health is more important than anything else, but he doesn't believe that the measures will stop the rise in the number of infections. They will only have a negative impact on hospitality.

On Monday, Robledo referred to the campaign to have dinner at 8pm, which means that customers will go home earlier. However, it is useless if thousands of workers, such as those in large stores, continue to finish working at 10pm. In this respect, "we are not Europe."

Bringing forward the time for dinner "would be ideal", but Robledo insisted that it shouldn't only be restaurants which take measures and alter their hours. He also pointed out that bars and restaurants are, in general, better prepared to prevent infections than people's homes. Data from the national ministry of health point to "very low" percentages of infection in the hospitality sector.

Robledo expressed his concern about the Christmas period and companies' Christmas dinners in particular. These would be "very important" for a sector which is currently "not moving". In his opinion, therefore, both the curfew and the rule of six for tables will have a negative impact.

The hospitality and other sectors are getting support from opposition parties. Biel Company of the Partido Popular wants a midnight curfew, as this would help the likes of cinemas and theatres as well as bars and restaurants and establish "a balance between health and the economy".

Lina Pons of El Pi has asked the Balearic government for "more surgical" measures and a delay of the curfew until midnight. She argues that the government should take greater account of the specific situations of each island. Minorca and Formentera are in a similar situation to the Canaries. "The reality of each island" needs to be considered. "It cannot be that they are all the same."

Pons said on Monday that "without health there is no economy". "But this measure (the curfew at 11pm) will force many restaurant owners to close their doors. We are demanding a more flexible schedule until midnight, as restaurants have shown themselves to be one of the safest sectors."

The spokesperson for Ciudadanos, Patricia Guasp, wants the government "to listen to the hospitality industry" and to provide an "emergency rescue plan" that helps all sectors. On Monday, she argued the need for a "national containment plan" that coordinates criteria for all regions. "You cannot announce restrictions without also announcing an emergency plan for all the sectors affected by these restrictions."

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Harry / Hace 4 months

And what about cinemas ? This will be the straw that broke the camels back. Films generally last for two hours. The last show will have to start at 8 to allow clients to get home in time.

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