Restaurants, Mallorca.

Restaurants, Mallorca.

22-02-2021M. À. Cañellas

Since January 13, bars and restaurants in Mallorca have been restricted to only providing food to takeaway or pick up, but this Friday the Government is expected to announce that it's easing those measures from March 2.

So far there’s been no details of how the de-escalation process will be managed and the Restaurant Sector is urging the Government to be specific, so that they have enough time to prepare.

They need time to get workers out of ERTE and adapt their premises to meet the needs outlined in the new measures.

The Government has said repeatedly that the de-escalation will be slow and that restaurants and bars will only be allowed to open their terraces until mid-afternoon for a couple of weeks at least.

From before Christmas until January 13, bar and restaurant terraces could only be used until 22:00 on weekdays and until 18:00 on Fridays and the eve of public holidays and Restaurateurs say this would be a logical option because the days are getting longer and the weather is improving.

But the Government is still leaning towards closing the Hospitality industry mid-afternoon every day amid fears that late night drinking on Fridays will just move to Thursdays.

Only 15% of bars and restaurants have a terrace, so most of them have been closed since before Christmas. 15 days ago, bars and restaurants asked that customers be allowed to eat and drink inside their premises.

But Government Spokesperson Iago Negueruela has ruled out the possibility of interior spaces reopening, despite the fact that health and epidemiological indicators are very good in the Balearic Islands and the tougher restrictions are likely to continue for at least another week.

He also insists that the de-escalation process should be very slow even when the indicators point to allowing a much wider opening.

"There are new elements such as the British strain," he said. "We will do what the experts tell us.”

Until a few days ago, the British strain was the Government's argument for not relaxing the restrictions, but the reality is that contagion is still falling.

On Monday Minister Negueruela came up with a new reason for not lifting the restrictions, claiming that insularity makes a resurgence more dangerous because the health system is different from the Peninsula, where there may be support from other territories.

"Experts say extreme caution must be exercised and every Community must do what it believes is right," he said when asked why other Communities with a worse contagion situation have fewer restrictions than in the Balearic Islands.

Minister Negueruela will meet with representatives of the Hospitality Sector this week to inform them of the flexibility of the measures and a Social Dialogue Table will be convened before the Governing Council meets on Friday to approve the new framework for action.

The restrictions may also be relaxed in gyms from March 2.

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