• Quote: ‘I have reached a point where I can no longer go on’ – Oasis owner Graham Stephen

By Andrew Atkinson

The Oasis Bar and Restaurant in La Herrada, Los Montesinos, Alicante, closed their doors for the last time on November 8 – due to COVID-19.

“It is with great regret I have to announce that, due to the current coronavirus climate, I have reached a point where I can no longer go on,” Graham Stephen proprietor of The Oasis told The Leader.

“I would like to thank everyone, customers and staff like who have supported me during the last two years,” said Mr Stephen, who has pumped in over €30,000 since taking the helm of the popular entertainment and dining venue.

“We have worked tirelessly to help make the bar a success,” said Aberdeen born Mr Stephen.

The closure comes on the back of a three month lockdown in mid-March, following the initial coronavirus pandemic, which saw the Oasis among others closed.

At the time a takeaway service was launched – in a bid to help ex-pats – in the Community, based in Spain’s Vega Baja region.

Graham Stephen: Great regret to Oasis closure: I can no longer go on. Photo: Andrew Atkinson.

Spain’s closure of borders and scheduled holiday flights cancelled from the UK to Spain put another nail in the coffin on businesses.

The Spanish government reduced capacity of people limited to six people per table in bars and restaurants, with 11pm closing times imposed, under latest COVID-19 crisis measures.

A Mayoral Gala extravaganza weekend in October – supported by The Leader – featuring Stevie Spit BEM, Flamenco dancers, and 16 artistes to raise much needed funds for charities, including APANEE Torrevieja and underprivileged children in Los Montesinos at The Oasis bar was cancelled, due to COVID-19.

Los Montesinos Mayor Jose Manuel Butron had supported the Gala and nominated the children of the town to benefit from monies raised to purchase computers for educational purposes.

A blanket ban on artistes’ live singing and dancing – still in place including Karaoke – imposed in October was another blow.

Hundreds of wishes have been made to Graham Stephen and staff since the closure was announced with regulars attending the final bash on November 8: “We will genuinely miss our people, and The Oasis bar restaurant,” said Mr Stephen.

The latest coronavirus legislation has caused controversy within the hospitality industry, citing the reduction of capacity to 30%, that has lead to a compensation plan from the Generalitat.

New coronavirus measures reduces capacity of terraces of bars and restaurants by half, and a third inside venues, from the 100% of terraces, with social distance; and within premises, 75%.

The Hotel Management Organisation said the new legislation is ‘unviable and unsustainable’.

A spokesperson from the Business Confederation of Hospitality and Tourism of the Valencian Community (Conhostur) said: “Once again, we learned about the measures, with organised workforce activity and purchases and reservations carried out, without consulting or notifying the employers of the sector”.

The sector is not eligible for ERTE for employees: “It is a covert closure that leaves entrepreneurs adrift – without any compensation,” said the spokesperson.

The Confederation belongs to the Business Federation of Hospitality of the Province of Alicante (Fehpa).

Manager Emi Ortiz, said: “There are restaurants that are going to be left with a capacity of 18 people – and 10 workers – that is unfeasible.

“They are teasing us, in a way that I don’t know where we are going to come out. It is a disaster”.

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