“Closing only the bars is equivalent to blaming the greatest responsibility for contagion on us, but our activity is regulated, while no one controls those who crowd their houses,” Alba Jerez explained yesterday at the gastrobar At that time on Calle Mayor de Cartagena. Like her, Ana Luisa Valencia, from Venta del Paso, in Molinos Marfagones, maintained the service of take away drinks, on the first day of the two weeks of closure decreed by the regional government for the sector. But both agreed that “with this we cannot live and there cannot be more closings and reopens with almost no time to react.” “For this reason, many will not raise the blind again,” Valencia warned.
The suspension of the activity equally affects veteran establishments and those of more recent opening. Among the first, El Paso de los Elephantes has been making a name for itself in the Mediterranean Urbanization for 17 years. Its owner, Francisco Garnedo, has had no doubts about how to deal with the new situation. “We have closed completely, because it is not worth it to give only breakfasts and meals to take away,” he explained. He did the same during the first confinement. In the summer and autumn months, it recovered half of its turnover despite the restrictions. “But Christmas has been very bad, with very few company meals and groups of friends that allowed us to fill other years,” he explained at the door of his premises.
The rest of the sector presents a similar panorama, both in the center and in the neighborhoods and county councils, with a drop in turnover by less than half until Easter and 70% during the holidays. “It is normal for us to see everything black,” noted Ana Luisa Valencia. Your decision to prepare takeout is all about keeping in touch with customers. Also in the case of Alba Jerez has weighed this and the need to cover, even in part, the payment of the rent together with other fixed expenses. Those of the workforce “it is impossible to keep them”, admitted this young woman, who opened two years ago with great enthusiasm and four employees, whom she has had to fire. Now he only has the help of his sister, Estefanía. Yesterday it opened at nine to prepare coffees and closed at two, after serving an aperitif.
All establishments face ERTE or layoffs and many trust that take-out food will allow them to survive
“Going on in the afternoon is not worth it. There is no one, “he stressed. At four o’clock Ana Luisa Valencia threw the padlock, for the same reason. In his case, four of his employees have entered an ERTE and only one is still in the establishment. “Our ten workers have returned to the ERTE due to temporary closure,” reported Francisco Garnedo, from El Paso de los Elefantes.
“This can last a month”
Alba, Francisco and Ana Luisa hope to resume their activity, but they are sure that “the closure will last more than two weeks.” “Probably three or we can even reach a month,” they indicated. However, they all hope to be active again as before. «It is our way of life. We cannot do otherwise, “said the manager of Venta del Paso.
“We only ask that they let us work safely, to be able to move forward,” added the head of At the time.
Castejón promises social assistance and an expansion of the terraces
The City Council yesterday announced a plan of social assistance to the hoteliers and workers who have the worst time and their families. It will join the forgiveness of the terrace occupancy rate, the opening licenses and the transfer of activity permits to its shops, bars and restaurants, until the end of the year. Nor will it charge the garbage rate or the water consumption while the activity is closed. The award of other direct aid depends on a commission of experts, which will meet on Friday.
Castejón and the vice mayor, Noelia Arroyo, agreed on these measures with the president of the Confederation of Business Organizations of Cartagena and the Region (COEC), Ana Correa, and with her counterpart from the regional hospitality employer, Hostecar. Juan José López School.
“Direct subsidies will be those requested by the sector, if they are technically feasible,” said Castejón. But it advanced that professionals whose families suffer penalties will enter the social emergency plan, which includes the payment of rent, electricity and water, and even the supply of basic products.
Castejón also reported that it is preparing a new ordinance for the occupation of the public thoroughfare, which will allow expanding the terraces of bars and restaurants wherever possible. One of the specific formulas is to authorize a bar to have tables and chairs on the opposite sidewalk, in semi-pedestrian streets.
The Citizens party asked yesterday that the same restriction be applied to gambling venues as to hospitality ones. The regional coordinator Ana Martínez Vidal, considered “incongruous” that “all sectors are not treated the same,” allowing 30% of indoor capacity in bingo halls, casinos and gaming venues and suspending the activity of bars and restaurants. In his opinion, the measure should be the same in both cases.