• Quote: ‘Without clear financial assistance this could be an unsustainable cost to bars and restaurants. Bank accounts are dwindling. What financial assistance is coming towards the running of businesses that have been closed since March?’

By Andrew Atkinson

With the Spanish government 0-4 Phase announcement into easing of movements and the re-opening of businesses, including bars and restaurants, many owners believe the legislative costs are out of reach.

Along with strict measures to include social and table set-up distance measures, a 50% clients’ admittance capacity to bar/restaurant terraces; mandatory taking of temperatures, thermal cameras – detecting COVID-19 – disinfectant hydrogels, additional cleansing, employees testing, and ozone ‘in air conditioning’ to be undertaken has also been mooted, long-term.

Graham Stephen, proprietor of The Oasis Bar and Restaurant in La Herrada, Los Montesinos told The Leader: “This could prove to be an horrendous cost to establishments, which I’m sure most of us are not in a position to finance.”

President of the Hospitality Industry in Spain, Jose Luis Yzuel, and business leaders and owners are in ongoing talks but there seems little likelihood of any firm announcement until next Sunday’s State Bulletin at the earliest, which allows no time at all for those businesses hoping to open the following day.

Business bosses are looking at a ‘certification accreditation’, following the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, in which 300,000 plus businesses – with 1.7m employees – have faced lockdown since mid-March.

Despite their closure businesses are still faced with outgoings of rent, standing gas, water and electric utility bills, and insurance policies, amongst other costs.

“Business owners have had little, or no income at a time of continual outgoings of standard general bills, and insurance,” said Graham.

“Without clear financial assistance this could be an unsustainable cost to bars and restaurants.

“Bank accounts are dwindling. What financial assistance is coming towards the running of businesses that have been closed since March?

“I haven’t heard of anything – and I have received nothing,” said Graham, who has been proprietor of The Oasis Bar and Restaurant for a year. “I have sunk a horrendous amount of personal money into the business.

“We were just at the ‘crest of a wave’ when the unforeseen coronavirus outbreak occurred. Businesses will not recover for years – this is now a ‘long haul’ scenario – and it would be comforting to know what can we expect towards, what will be a very far-reaching task.

“Absolutely no medium size- small businesses can afford to invest. A worldwide recession is about to happen. Along with the death rate, it is horrendous.”

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