BAR and restaurant groups on the Costa Blanca will demand indoor reopening and extended opening hours at a meeting tomorrow(March 9) with Valencian health chiefs.

The regional government is expected on Thursday what changes it will make to its current COVID restrictions which are due to be renewed early next week, which include hospitality.

Tomorrow, the Conhostur association, which represents three major hospitality federations in the Valencian Community, will ask for maximum terrace occupancy which is currently at 75%.

They will also request 50% indoor capacity and longer opening hours closer to the curfew start-time of 10.00 pm.

The current position for at least the next week is that only terrace service at 75% capacity is permitted with a mandated closing time of 6.00 pm

Conhostor president, Manuel Espinar, said: “We need to advance the de-escalation measures but it has to be done in a prudent and responsible way.”

Estimates from hospitality groups have suggested that up to 50% of establishments did not bother to reopen last week after being closed on January 27 in a fresh move to curb COVID-19 infection rates in the Valencian Community.

The status quo for many businesses was maintained due to a combination of no tourists; little or no terrace capacity; and economic concerns with staff on the ERTE furlough scheme.

New COVID-19 cases are back to daily levels seen last August and Espinar believes that a major acceleration in the hospitality sector can take place so long as all appropriate measures are taken.

“Our members will continue to make sure that health rules will be observed by customers especially in regard to wearing a mask,” Manuel Espinar added.

Other regions of Spain with similar or even worse infection rates have already allowed indoor hospitality and closing hours between 9.00 and 9.30 pm

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