• Better not to open than open to go bankrupt

“For Rent”. The notice that, on Friday, was hung symbolically on the doors and windows of more than 150 bars, restaurants and coffee shops in Benidorm in protest at the measures to be introduced by central government to deal with de-escalation of the lockdown after more than six weeks.

The campaign, promoted by the local association Abreca-Cobreca, joins with those that have already been introduced by businessmen from other cities in the province, including Elche and Alicante, and across Spain.

The president of Abreca, Javier del Castillo, explained that with these posters the hospitality sector in Benidorm is saying ‘Enough is Enough”. “We are suffering continuous abuse, our workers have not yet received any benefits and now the conditions under which we are being told to open are ridiculous,” added Del Castillo, who said that bar and restaurant owners “deserve more respect.”

The president of Cobreca, Pablo González, said that they have felt ” abandoned as a result of the measures imposed on our sector” by the Government, while he has criticised the Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, for her statement  saying that whoever was not comfortable with the plan set by the government, should not open their establishments.

“There is apathy as well as a lack of consistency and inventiveness in the de-escalation measures,” he added, saying “it is not feasible to open with just 30 percent of the capacity when the expenses we have to accept are one hundred percent.”

This is not the only reason for the protest led by the Association of Hospitality Entrepreneurs, as they also call for “the flexibility with regards to ERTEs” in order to “gradually reinstate our staff to meet the real needs of our hospitality establishments”.

“This year and 2021 are going to be the most difficult in the history of the hospitality industry, that is why we want the Government to support us with measures that do not lead us to closure,” they said.

As the days go by this protest, which is the first of its kind in Spain, is gaining momentum as it “moves across the country”, with the aim that the Government “change the road map”, since “if the de-escalation plan is not modified, a third of all hotel and hospitality establishments in Spain will close”, in a sector that generates hundreds of thousands of work contracts and millions in government taxes.