THE Balearic government has hinted that they may allow bars and restaurants across the region to extend their opening hours.

This morning, representatives of the government, including tourism minister Iago Negueruela, met with local business unions to discuss relaxing the current coronavirus restrictions on the sector.

Speaking to the local press after the meeting, the president of the Balearic Confederation of Business Associations (CAEB), Alfonso Robledo, said that the government proposed three changes to the rules.

The first is to increase the capacity on terraces, secondly to allow pavements to be used to place tables and chairs provided that they are not a hindrance to pedestrians, and thirdly, to allow opening hours beyond 5pm.

“Bars and restaurants may be allowed to open until 9.30pm, meaning we will be able to have a dinner service,” said Robledo.

However, the suggestion to allow the use of interior areas was shut down by the government who are reportedly adamant to keep these closed for the time being due to their ‘high risk of infection’.

“They will not even think about opening the interior areas of bars and restaurants even though this issue is impacting the sector as many businesses do not have a terrace,” explained Robledo.

In fact, in Mallorca alone, it is estimated that almost 80% of restaurants and bars do not have access to any outside space, meaning that they are unable to open under the current rules.

Meanwhile, an alarming analysis by the Association for Small and Medium Sized Businesses (PINEM) estimates that since the start of the pandemic, restaurants have lost an average of 80% of their turnover, 30% of the workforce have lost their jobs and 40% of businesses have permanently closed.

Its president Eugenia Cusi said the ‘restaurant sector is being discriminated against when there is no health justification’, leaving ‘families struggling to survive’.

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