PIlar Carbonell and Rubén Fernández. | Miquel À. Cañellas


Palma town hall has started work on renovating Plaça Espanya, and now the surface is to be ripped up, something which alarms the 25 businesses that surround the square.

Rubén Fernández, owner of Bar Cristal, and Pilar Carbonell, one of the three partners of +Natural, represent the only Mallorcan establishments and they are very concerned about the work, which is expected to last a year.

Carbonell says that "when it comes to work by public authorities, it is known when it starts but not when it will end". "This work may mean that we have to leave Plaça Espanya after 19 years here. Two months without billing means having to close the restaurant."

The first phase, renewal of the drainage system, starts today (Sunday). Businesses will have to remove their terraces for one month per location. This, added to the dust that will be generated and that will coincide with the strongest season for many - the main months for Bar Cristal are now and after the summer - "it will mean losses of 50%". Fernández says that he will have to lay off staff, as "the costs will remain the same".

These two businesses, which are not franchises, unlike others, are appealing for institutional aid as they will be the most affected. The town hall has promised to study the possibility of financial aid, but at the moment nothing is clear.

Carbonell adds: "We are not saying that the work isn't necessary, but with the dust that will be generated and the difficulty of access, customers will go elsewhere."