AN estimated 200 employees and business owners within the hospitality sector are at this moment protesting outside the regional government headquarters in Valencia city.
Angry demonstrators are banging pots and pans on Calle Caballeros and neighbouring streets surrounding the Palau de la Generalitat.
One protester (pictured below) told The Olive Press that they are protesting against the ongoing closures enforced by the Valencian government as part of the restrictions to combat COVID.
“It wouldn’t be so bad if the government gave us some sort of aid, but we haven’t received anything,” complained the unidentified demonstrator.
He also highlighted the tragic news that surfaced last Saturday (February 7), when a bar owner in Alicante hung himself inside his own establishment due to being unable to face mounting debt and after receiving no compensation from the Generalitat.
Today’s protest, which began at 10 am, is linked to the announcement made this week by up to 2,000 bar and restaurant owners in Castellon Province, who revealed plans to defy the ban and open their doors next Tuesday (February 16), as reported by The Olive Press.
However, Valencian hospitality and tourism employers’ union Conhostur – together with provincial branch Ashotur – have publicly criticised the planned reopening in Castellon and are calling on business owners to ‘abide by the rules, even though they seem unfair’.
Anger was sparked following a recent ruling by a Basque judge, decreeing that bars and restaurants in the northern region are entitled to reopen despite being in COVID ‘red zones’.
This was compounded by the news that the Generalitat is planning to extend the closures beyond the current deadline of February 15, for at least one or two more weeks.
Similar protest events are taking place almost daily in all provinces affected by the closures.
One such demonstration saw dozens of cars driving through the centre of Denia (Alicante) at the end of January, honking their horns and displaying the now characteristic black ribbon symbolising the death of the hospitality sector.