A RESTAURANT owner in Catalunya is defying new COVID-19 restrictions by keeping his business open in spite of being fined €60,000.

A two week shutdown of bars and restaurants was ordered last Friday(October 16) by the regional government to cut coronavirus case rises in the area.

Manuel Fernandez of the Braseria Los Olivos in Maigrat del Mar, 70 kilometres north of Barcelona, has refused to observe the measure.

He’s already been handed two fines of €30,000 each for flouting the closure edict.

Speaking to the Efe news agency, Manuel Fernandez said:

“I need to work in order to eat and I cannot afford a second period of lockdown. I’m not robbing anyone. I’m working.”

The owner said this year’s State of Alarm had forced him to raid his savings to pay off his debts and that he cannot close again.

Police appeared on Saturday to fine him, and repeated the penalty 24 hours later.

Fernandez criticised what he saw as hypocracy that people were allowed to fill up buses and trains, while restaurants are penalised.

“The chances of contagion are small on my premises as I keep the appropriate safety distances between tables, in addition to ensuring that the area is well-ventilated,” he added.

Manuel Fernandez claimed that he has had good support from customers.

He added that if he has to close, then he would not be able to afford the fines that have been imposed on him.

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