A closed bar in Minorca

Bars and restaurants have been closed since mid-January.

19-02-2021Gemma Andreu

The restaurants association within the Pimem federation of small to medium-sized businesses estimates that 40% of bars and restaurants in the Balearics will not survive the crisis.

The vice-president of the restaurants association, Helmut Clemens, says that more and more business owners have unaffordable debts and that "aid is non-existent". A closure of getting on for half of hospitality establishments will have a negative knock-on impact on other sectors, such as suppliers.

The president of Pimem, Jordi Mora, explains that a reopening of terraces will have only a limited benefit as only some 15% of establishments have terraces.

The measures introduced by the Balearic government last month - they came into effect on January 13 - were the toughest since de-escalation from the lockdown started in early May last year. Home delivery and takeaway, which some businesses have been offering, barely stretch to cover expenses.

The government hasn't as yet given a firm indication as to how it intends relaxing the restrictions as they apply to bars and restaurants, but it is believed that at the cabinet meeting on Friday week (February 26) there will be approval for terraces reopening from March 2, with interiors following a couple of weeks later. There may be different rules for individual islands, depending on the health data, with Ibiza still registering a high incidence rate.

Opening hours and capacities will have to be established, but Mora stresses the importance of allowing interiors to be opened. Businesses will need to start generating revenue, as they will have been closed for two months.

The government has emphasised that relaxation of restrictions will be slow and cautious, and it is conscious of the fact that masks quite obviously cannot be worn at all times, whether on terraces or inside.

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