A BAR in Marbella has sparked debate for charging non-paying customers to use its toilets.

The unnamed establishment in the coastal city’s old town has put up a sign in both Spanish and English, reports Huffpost.

It reads: “Only for customers, if not, it is charged 2 per person.”

Some social media users have blasted the sign, saying there are few public toilets as it is, while the ones on the beach are often unhygienic and dirty.

But is it illegal to charge people to use a bathroom at a restaurant or bar?

The answer, as ever in Spain, is complicated, and depends on which region you find yourself in.

In Castilla-La Mancha, for example, there is a law which allows businesses to refuse non-customers access to their facilities.

But most autonomous communities do not have specific laws on the issue, leaving it instead in the hands of the owners.

However the businesses must make their rules clear and have them in writing and on show.

According to a 2022 report by Spain’s Centre of Consumer Studies, a business cannot be punished by law for denying use of its bathrooms, even in the case of emergencies.

It reads: ‘Expenses cannot be forced on the owners that do not bring them any benefit, just because of a lack of public toilets.’

It suggested the local and city councils are responsible for providing free and clean bathrooms for citizens and tourists alike.

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