THE Costa Blanca hospitality sector has issued a ‘last-minute’ plea for the planned midnight curfew start-time on New Year’s Eve to be pushed back.
Hospitality groups are claiming a wave of cancellations for December 31 evening meals because customers cannot see in the New Year with the traditional taking of the grapes at midnight.
The start-time for the curfew on the Costa Blanca and across the Valencian Community is 11.00pm but it has been pushed back to midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Previously announced plans to delay the curfew that night until 1.30am were scrapped because of rising COVID-19 cases in the region.
Business owners say that they’ve suffered a 70% drop in bookings for the night of December 31, because the rules mean that service has to end at 11.00pm.
The Alicante Province Hotel Association president, Victoria Puche, said:
“If customers book for dinner at a hotel and have to go home at 11:30pm, then the whole point of the night is lost. We want the hours to be extended that night because we need the income to help us pay our bills.”
The Valencian Community president, Ximo Puig, does not appear to be minded towards any relaxation later this week.
Despite the representations to him, the regional leader has said that he is concerned about rising coronavirus infections, and added that he has been worried about ‘late-afternoon’ gatherings over the holiday season.
Hotel dinner and overnight stay packages have barely reached 15% on the Costa Blanca according to Victoria Puche.
“We normally are full up for New Year’s Eve dinners and there will be some hotels that will do the grapes an hour earlier or give them to guests to have in their room at midnight,” she observed.
The Alicante Restaurant Association (ARA) says that New Year’s Eve dinner cancellations are coming in at around 70%.
ARA President, Cesar Anca, said “It is ridiculous not to delay the curfew until 1.00am as the virus can hit you at that time or at 6.00pm. Politicians prohibit but do not say what medical studies are used to base their decisions on.”