The Interregional Federation of Hospitality, Catering and Tourism (FIHRT) predicts that 25% of restaurants will not be able to overcome the crisis caused by covid-19 and will have to close the business. The entity has assured the ACN that a quarter of the business community “sees it as very difficult” to continue after almost two months off and with the gradual resumption that has marked the Spanish government. “It’s a serious situation,” explains the president of the Vilanova Hospitality Association, Jordi Gasol, who estimates that he will have to invest “between 3,000 and 4,000 euros” in his restaurant to reopen with the necessary cleaning and security measures. Gasol regrets that next summer will be complex: “Nothing will be as before, not by a long shot.”
The usual coming and going of waiters on the terraces of bars and restaurants has become a grave silence over the past few weeks. A situation that many entrepreneurs hoped to leave behind on Monday 11 May with the entry into phase 1 of the decontamination, which allows to open 50% of the terraces. The return to activity, however, will have to wait for hundreds of towns and cities, such as Vilanova i la Geltrú, where the sector has delayed the reopening “with frustration and resignation.”
The president of the Hospitality Guild of the capital of Garraf, Jordi Gasol, explains to the ACN that many of the restaurateurs planned to open on Monday, even with limited space on the terrace. Gasol points out that “very few locals” have so far resorted to serving takeaway food – the only option planned in phase 0 – and says that “there are many delusional businesses to raise the shutters and recover the workers of the ERTOs “.
Vilanova restaurateurs who have outdoor space are confident that the City Council will authorize them in the coming days to expand the terraces, so that, for practical purposes, the tables that can be used will be more than 50%. At the same time, they have also asked the council for a solution for establishments that have an enclosed terrace. Gasol is confident that the City Council will authorize them to install tables on the street temporarily and exceptionally, as the fully enclosed terraces cannot be opened during phase 1.
In parallel with the calculations on the number of tables that each establishment will be able to set up when it can reopen, employers are looking for ways to introduce the security measures required by the Spanish government to prevent a hypothetical coronavirus infection. Gasol acknowledges that “it will be difficult” to adapt, especially when rethinking everyday elements such as letters, tablecloths or setrilleras.
“There will be difficulties, but with desire and optimism we will achieve it,” he says, although he regrets that the whole adaptation “will be very expensive.” The president of the union says that the return to activity will be “in red numbers” because the establishments have been closed for two months and there have been inevitable structural costs – rents and basic supplies – and warns that the adaptation will mean to him an investment “of between 3,000 and 4,000 euros” for a restaurant where it has 14 employees.
Gasol refers to the expense it will have to bear in terms of protective equipment – masks, screens, gloves and screens – and cleaning elements. In addition, it anticipates that there will need to be staff dedicated to disinfecting common areas more than once a day. “Even more serious will be the situation for restaurants that host banquets and big celebrations,” he points out.
When it comes to imagining the so-called ‘new normal’ that is expected when the four phases of de-escalation end, Gasol predicts that attendance at bars and restaurants will be resented. “One day or another we will start opening in phases, but nothing will be the same as before,” he says, recalling that last summer the sector experienced a fullness that is unattainable in the coming months: “We must mentalize that this summer does not it will not be as good as last year. “