ALMOST 200 terraces have been scythed from Palma’s vibrant food and drink scene over the last few weeks.
It comes after a draconian dictat came into force removing an initial 179 outdoor seating areas from some of Palma’s most popular restaurants.
Coming into effect in the middle of the busiest time of year, the new regulations have already seen Palma lose an estimated 17% of its terraces, with many more expected to close.
The new law to create more space for pedestrians was approved last July despite a hard fought campaign backed by the Olive Press to protect the livelihoods and businesses.
“It’s a really awful law and it’s scary because this season has been very quiet as a result,” Alex Giannandrea of highly-rated A Casa Mia, in Santa Catalina, told the Olive Press this week.
“Naturally customers have been complaining, they want to sit outside and enjoy the good weather but now they can’t.
“It’s a ridiculous law and it’s driving away business.”
Under the new rules, pavements have to be a minimum of 2.5 metres free of any obstructions, leaving little space for tables.
As the Olive Press reported in February 2018 – when we launched our Standing up for Santa Catalina campaign – the new rule was only being introduced after a few disgruntled locals complained about noise.
“This is only being done to keep a few elderly locals happy,” said Luca Veronesi, of Prosecco restaurant, also in Santa Catalina.
“The authorities have allowed this area to become a hip and vibrant place and now they are going to completely alter it,” he added.
Other restaurant owners in the trendy suburb, famous for its mixed and buzzing food scene, have seen a dramatic drop in custom.
One restaurateur Binda Shah explained: “It has really affected our business, our takings are lower, we are losing bookings as people prefer to sit outside.”
The 50-year-old British businesswoman from Loughborough added: “We have had to let a member of staff go and the rest are now working reduced hours.”
It is feared that up to 42% of all the 1,650 terraces in Palma could shut, including 37% in Pere Garau area and 40% in Es Jonquet.