THE long-standing dispute between Palma City Council and local business owners over terraces has momentarily ceased as officials will permit for their extension during Phase 1 of Spain’s COVID-19 de-escalation plan.

This week, the Mallorca Restaurant Association piled pressure on Palma City Council to make an exception to the controversial law which imposed harsh limitations on the size of terraces in the capital.

Under the new rules, pavements had to be a minimum of 2.5 metres free of any obstructions to create more space for pedestrians, thus leaving little space for tables.

However, with the central government allowing for their reopening at a 50% capacity during Phase 1 of the COVID-19 de-escalation plan, business owners were at a loss on how exactly they could adhere to the safety measure under the strict terrace law.

“If restaurants, bars and cafes cannot increase the size of their terraces, opening will not be feasible and much of Palma’s business fabric will be destroyed,” said the association’s Vice President Juan Miguel Ferrer.

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This public plea was finally listened to by Mayor Jose Hila, who yesterday announced that business owners would be able to place tables and chairs on adjacent car parking spaces from Monday, should the island be accepted into Phase 1.

Hila claimed that around 1,000 establishments would benefit from this ‘extraordinary exception’ and that it would carry ‘absolutely no economic cost.’

He said: “With this measure we have saved many families from economic ruin, encouraged citizens to use terraces and recovered space once used for parking.”

In light of the changes, interested business owners must apply for the extension through a Citizen Support Office.

When acceptation is granted, signposts will erected near the establishments adjacent parking spaces which will inform residents to move their cars.

Once the new outdoor spaces are assembled, owners must place a screen or barrier to protect their clients from passing traffic.

Hila stressed that this exception is temporary and will cease when capacity limitations on terraces are lifted.

He also said that he would continue to approve measures so that Palma can recover economically which is a ‘top priority’ for the Council.

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