The ink is barely dry on the new coronavirus restrictions decree and already Palma residents are demanding that they be allowed to park in the spaces that were commandeered by bars and restaurants to use as terraces. The terraces will be empty for the next 15 days now that the Hospitality Sector has been shut down.
Palma City Council estimates that more than a thousand bars and restaurants have set up tables and chairs in around 1,200 parking spaces on the streets of the capital.
"The decree that was published on December 23 warns that after three days of closure they should remove the terraces and we have passed that information on to businesses,” said Marcos Cañabate, the Director General of the Interior Government, who added that “a sector that is being hit hard by the Covid crisis will not be sanctioned."
"Hoteliers were allowed to use the parking spaces as terraces because we are in an exceptional situation and it gave them a business opportunity,” says Cañabate. “It was a very necessary measure and most entrepreneurs have done well.”
The elimination of terrace occupancy rates was introduced last year and has been extended into the first quarter of 2021. Cañabate estimates that more permits requests have been received since the beginning of 2021 to expand activity into parking spaces, with a maximum of 10 linear metres.
Under the new decree, the reservations of spaces in loading and unloading ares and spaces for disabled drivers are still excluded, but establishments can now request a permit to open terraces in squares.
For & Against
“I understand that the terraces could be removed to solve the parking problems for neighbours, in these times we all have to help each other,” said CAEB President Alfonso Robledo. “There will be some who have a problems with it because they installed custom platforms, but in general there is no problem.”
“We have already received some complaints from residents,” warned the Federation of Neighbourhood Associations President, Joan Forteza. “Not all premises meet the requirements to the same degree and it is best to reduce these areas. There must be a balance between health and the economy.”
Palma City Council has already said the parking spaces can be used as terraces for the next few months.
“With the new restrictions many people will stay at home and they'll need to park in spaces that are now terraces,” insists Forteza. “At least during these two weeks they should be re-enabled as parking so that residents can leave their cars in their own neighbourhood.”
“The neighbours have been in solidarity and looking for parking on other streets, but the logical thing is that we should be allowed to park on the terraces for the next two weeks,” argues Jacinto Galindo from the Associació de Veins i Amics in Santa Catalina, who is sympathetic to the Hospitality Sector and claims “some bars have already released their parking spaces.”
Terrazas a Raya, which is renowned for denouncing the occasional excesses of establishments on social networks, believes that the car parks should be recovered immediately, "especially in areas where residents don’t have private parking."
"The Government has given many facilities to restaurants and bars and they are allowed to use the parking spaces without cost, without limits and without control,” states Terrazas a Raya. “Most of the occupied spaces invalidate paid parking spaces, so the City Council no longer collects money for them and that is why we insist they be removed while the establishments are closed.”
“We need that parking, we demand it for pedestrians,” insists Vianants en Lluita. “The goal is not to annoy the Hospitality Sector, but to enjoy the space.