Customers on a terrace in Palma. | Irene Arango

The Catering Sector is once again paying a heft price for the rise in coronavirus infections in the Balearic Islands.

Although CAEB and PIMEB approved the restrictions which were debated in the Social Dialogue Table on Monday and approved by the Governing Council on Tuesday, they are opposed to the cut in hours and reduced seating capacity at bar and restaurant tables.

From Thursday, all bars, restaurants, game rooms and concert cafes will have to close one hour earlier at 01:00.

"The time they’re taking away from us in summer is equivalent to 8 hours on a winter day," said CAEB Restauración President, Alfonso Robledo.

The schedule set by the Government is subject to municipal licenses, so some restaurants are not affected by the new closing time, but they are all affected by the capacity restrictions at tables, which is reduced to 4 indoors and 8 outdoors.

"Once again we have a limited number of people per table, which harms families of more than four people who want to eat together indoors," said Robledo. "We have been fighting for more than a year to prove that our businesses are safe; the problem of increased infections originates on the streets and in private homes.”

He also welcomed steeper fines for people caught drinking illegally in the streets.

Related news

“It's good to focus on where the virus is spreading and against those who do not comply with the regulations," he said.

After a year of zero or minimal activity, Robledo says business owners are desperate to recover at least some of the revenue they’ve lost.

“Above all, we need to be able to sustain ourselves in the coming winter months," he said.

The new restrictions are expected to be published in the BOIB today along with other approved measures.

The Government is waiting for authorisation from the Justice Department to ban meetings between non-cohabitants indoors and outdoors from 01:00-06:00. The measures are to to be introduced on Saturday at 01:00.

CAEB President, Carmen Planas, insists that "entrepreneurs have done their homework."

The new wave of contagion has forced the Government to stall the de-escalation process, which means the Balearic Nightlife Sector will remain closed.