BOXES of bar and restaurant invoices were dumped by struggling businesses outside the Regional Assembly building in Cartagena this morning(January 29).

The symbolic act was part of a protest organised by Cartagena’s hospitality association, Hostecar.

Around a quarter of the municipality’s bars and restaurants have shut permanently since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, amounting to a hundred closures.

The group claim that a further 350 businesses are at risk if they are not allowed to reopen or do not get financial aid from the Murcia government.

Today’s action saw four boxes marked ‘Taxes & Social Security’; ‘Rents & Supplies’; ‘Pending Invoices’; and ‘Keys to Businesses’ carried to the front of the Assembly building.

Business owners filled them up and then the contents were emptied onto the entrance steps.

Hostecar president, Juan Jose Lopez, said: “Our sector has been closed for 19 days and the total uncertainty is hurting us as we don’t know when we can reopen or what help we will get from the Murcia or Madrid governments.”

“Cartagena is close to breaking point and the closures are hitting families who need an income from working as waiters, being self-employed, or suppliers to the hospitality sector,” he added.

“They will not be able to hold out much longer.”

The demonstration was timed to coincide with an appearance at the Assembly building by the Murcia president, Fernando Lopez Miras.

A change in the schedule meant he was not there, but Hostecar have vowed to return to make their feelings known to the regional leader.

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