Benidorm bars given two hour drinking extension to combat tourism black hole

Bar and restaurant owners can already open 50 percent of their terraces for business under phase one of the de-escalation plan and customers would have been allowed inside with effect from Monday as part of the second stage. But the Valencia Generalitat, of which Benidorm is part, has decided not to ask the Spanish government for progression to stage two for the time being because of a slight rise in COVID-19 infections.


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The regional government says there has not been a major outbreak but they are conscious of doing the right thing in difficult times for the good of everyone and to make sure all possible health and security checks are in place.

It was also decided to encompass all areas within the decision rather than allowing specific towns to progress to stage two.

Benidorm’s Mayor, Toni Pérez said he couldn’t understand the thinking behind the decision and has asked for a full explanation.

He said pubs, bars and restaurants had been making plans to use their interiors rather than just the terraces so he would now waiver the earlier closing time rule of 11pm to 1am instead.

The decision was taken in consultation with the business associations Abreca-Cobrec and follows the “good behaviour” of the 1,100 businesses involved.

The Mayor said they had no idea why Benidorm was being penalised and not going forward yet to phase two as they had not seen any official figures to support the decision.

Lamenting “the lack of transparency”, he said: “We want to think that there are data and indicators that support this decision but whoever has the information is the Generalitat Valenciana and the Ministry of Health, not the municipalities.

“At least in the case of Benidorm, we lack that information because the council does not share it but there is no doubt that we would like to know what the health situation of our city is, as it is an issue that affects our residents and it would undoubtedly contribute to better manage and take action in case there is something to correct.”

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But he added: “We will continue to observe and promote compliance with the regulations and working , as we have done from minute one and every day, to prepare for the next phase with all the security guarantees, both in the public and private spheres.”

The Spanish government had already indicated that different parts of the country would enter the various phases at different stages until the “new norm” was reached by the end of June.

Ibiza is also facing struggles as they antcipate the summer 2020 season will be ruined unless a Covid-19 vaccine is found.

Manager of the Ibiza Leisure Association, José Luis Benítez said it would be “impossible” to enforce social distancing in discos as required by the Spanish government, unlike in cinemas, bars and restaurants.


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And he warned: “The future of clubs in Ibiza is no longer at stake, it’s the entire island.”

Speaking on the chat programme Televisió d’Eivissa i Formentera, Mr. Benitez said the clubbing scene could take illegally to private villas and hidden spots in the mountains which would hit hard as it would take away huge income and produce “not a euro” for Ibiza.

Even so, clubs weren’t prepared to throw in the towel and if a solution could be found, they could get ready to open within a period of ten days.

Mr. Benitez told presenter, Toni Ruiz: “If there is no vaccine against the coronavirus, the clubs will not be able to open. We haven’t thrown in the towel with the season but it will be difficult to open up because we cannot keep our distances like in the cinema or in other bars or cafes.”

“If the situation changed or there were government guidelines that would be more favourable to us, the large nightclubs are prepared to open with all security measures within a maximum period of ten days.”

He ruled out imitating or importing systems from other countries which are using strict control measures, including the wearing of mask.

“There are those who speak of doing as in China but the Spanish are very different and it would not be feasible to think about what is being done, for example, in Greece because there they do not have large nightclubs or tourism like ours.”

One option would be the opening in winter to reduce losses if flights were available from different parts of Europe.

“It is something that could be in the study phase as long as administrations and airlines commit to streamline flights from outside our borders because eighty percent of our customers and consumers are foreigners,” he told the BNP programme. “The other option is to open in April of next year, bringing forward the opening parties, and making it a wonderful Easter for everyone.”

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