After some eighteen months, the temporary terraces on parking spaces in Palma have gone. 2,002 parking spaces are newly available, and just as the final element of the terraces was being removed, there were cars about to park. Javier Fuster of Bar Vicens on the Paseo Mallorca says that he was removing the green mat that he had under the tables, “and there were already two cars with their indicators waiting to park”.
A lorry driver, Juan Agüero, noted how much easier it was to find parking “It was even possible to see an empty space in the blue zone.” For a year and a half, this hadn’t been the case.
Bar and restaurant proprietors are accepting the situation with resignation. Vanel Pacella of Bar Estadio says that the terrace had capacity for 40 customers. “There were four employees and now there are two. Let’s see what happens, but at the moment people are asking for take away.” And speaking of takeaway, the remains of the terrace were piled up to await collection by the Emaya municipal services agency.
The bars wanted an extension to the permissions for the temporary terraces. The Balearic government was encouraging town halls to be flexible. But Palma had made up its mind. September 30 was the deadline. There are ends of up to 1,500 euros for non-compliance.
Capacity inside establishments will soon increase from 50% to 75%, and there won’t be limits on the number of people at tables. Terraces on pavements and in squares can continue to occupy more space than they did pre-pandemic in order to allow for social distancing.
The problem for many bars, though, is that they didn’t have terraces. The parking spaces threw them a lifeline.