MALAGA bar and nightclub owners fear they will be the ‘last to recover’ from the prolonged coronavirus lockdown. 

The lifting of the restrictions established in the March 14 royal decree have only just begun to be discussed and bars and clubs fear the worst given that their business models (lots of people in small spaces) become somewhat obsolete under social distancing rules.

While restaurants may find it easier to keep diners apart, nightlife venues rely on a high volume of customers to be economically viable. 

“No one is going to go to a nightclub to dance alone or spend the night not being allowed to get close to anyone,” a group of businessmen told Diario Sur.

Many expressed their belief that the summer season is already a write off and that they hope to recuperate as much as they can at the end of the year.

Are you an expat bar owner in Spain? We want to hear your story. Get in touch with your thoughts and fears at newsdesk@theolivepress.es

The lockdown could not have hit at a worse time, with Easter and Semana Santa usually kicking off the high season with a huge cash boost.

“I prefer not to think about the losses that we are going to suffer,” Juan Rambla, vice president of the Andalucian Federation of Nightclubs told Diario Sur.

Rambla added that the incoming economic losses will be just as serious as the current health crisis.

“Social distancing is not feasible in a business like ours and that is why we are aware that we will be the last to recover,” he said.

“If we have to open 50% of our business it would not be profitable…And if we are going to work half of it and we have to keep the complete workforce, we will all be ruined.”

His comments come after it became effectively illegal to fire workers during the coronavirus crisis.

Rambla’s federation is now asking the Government to suspend and cancel the autonomo cuotas and, among other measures, suspend the payment of social security of employees and provide a deduction in the payment of rents.

Pedro Marin, head of the Liceo club, said he fears tourism will not return in a long time and that it will hit his bottom line hard. 

“People who are on vacation are the ones who spend the most and tourism is not expected to return throughout the year,” he told Diario Sur.

Jose Alberto Nieto, owner of several cocktail bars, told the paper he sees the future as ‘very black’ given that the industry relies so much on tourism.

He added: “We are an industry that has always been frowned upon and now we will need to be given support since we are the ones who provide jobs in the city.”

Are you an expat bar owner in Spain? We want to hear your story. Get in touch with your thoughts and fears at newsdesk@theolivepress.es

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