The hoteliers ask to keep the new spaces to recover the losses due to the pandemic, even if they have to pay fees
The Murcia City Council will review the concessions made after the confinement for the expansion or new installation of terraces on public roads with which to help the hospitality industry to alleviate the losses of restrictions due to the pandemic. There are currently 490 terraces, of which around 20% occupy parking spaces. These are the ones that are most at risk when it comes to continuing their activity, as well as others that may be affecting rest or accessibility for pedestrians. “We studied it before granting them, but we may have been wrong; they were approved due to a situation of exceptionality and should be reviewed taking into account the current situation, “said the mayor of Public Roads, Juan Fernando Hernández. Of these, 36 are located in the ORA.
Hernández participated in a meeting, together with the councilors of Economic Management and Commerce, Enrique Lorca and Juan Vicente Larrosa, respectively, with representatives of the HoyTú hotelier federation, with its president at the head, Jesús Jiménez. The businessmen asked that what they call ‘Covid terraces’ be maintained until all restrictions inside the premises disappear, and that this action be given priority over new rate reductions.
Jiménez recalled that within the premises, between table and table, there must be a minimum of a meter and a half of distance, so they cannot be one hundred percent of the occupation. “From the sector, rather than helping, what we want is to work, so we ask that if there are still limitations in the interior, continue ‘the Covid terraces'”; although he acknowledged that “if we don’t pay any fees, much better.” The hospitality industry stopped paying the fees in January of this year, although the last six months of 2020 only paid 50%.
Public Highway and the Tax Office will cross data to verify that the establishments that have not paid are still active
The hoteliers also demanded that the City Council study “more carefully” the situation of the payment of the hotel fords, and of the rates of the kiosks and nightlife (the latter that they have to pay even though they have been closed for a long time). Both parties agreed to study the problem of noise and the bottle with the launch of a joint awareness campaign, “because we come from many months of silence and tranquility and when the city begins to wake up it sounds more”, commented the president of HoyTú .
“We must seek a balance between economic activity and neighborhood rest, which is the main legal asset to protect,” said the mayor of Vía Pública. From the City Council, the Councilor for Economic Management warned HoyTú that there are hoteliers who have had an outstanding debt for a long time (about ninety) by not having the payment of fees up to date, so each case will be reviewed and, if they persist in the non-payment, may end with the closure of the terrace. “We agree that to avoid unfair competition, you have to pay,” said Jiménez.
The councils of Public Roads (through the Urban Quality service) and Economic Management (with the Municipal Tax Agency) will cross-check the data to confirm the cases of delinquency and that the establishment in question is still active. “The aid that is approved will go to hoteliers who are up to date on payments,” said Councilor Lorca, who added that the percentages of these future bonuses are pending study. Mayor José Antonio Serrano, who was at the meeting, went further and indicated that work is being done so that the bonus reaches 100% for those who do not have debts. Currently this amounts to 1.5 million euros, 200,000 for non-payment of terrace fees.
The sector’s debt amounts to 1.5 million euros, of which 200,000 correspond to terraces on public roads
The City Council will also study with the sector the new ordinance for the occupation of public roads, “a challenge on both sides,” said Hernández. There will be a new meeting at the end of November to study the current situation and progress on the issues discussed yesterday.
The Municipal Group of the PP will present a motion to the Plenary of this month in which it demands that the hotel industry be exempted during the next year from the payment of the fees for the terraces. The mayor Eduardo Martínez-Oliva recalled yesterday that they had already proposed it when they presented the alternative budgets prepared by his group for 2022 and that they maintain it “to help the hotel industry recover as soon as possible and because it is well known that the terraces have minimized the losses produced in this sector due to the pandemic ”.
Dual training in the Municipal Employment Service for the sector
The Councilor for Employment, Commerce and Markets, Juan Vicente Larrosa, explained yesterday that the Municipal Employment Service will implement changes to offer specific training and professional qualification for workers in the sector, such as waiters and cooks. “At the meeting, the hoteliers have asked us for a dual training so that our students receive real training on what is going to be asked of them later,” said Larrosa. And he added that the sector had offered for students to do internships in their establishments. This dual training will be a pioneer in the Murcia City Council and the labor needs of the group will be taken into account, added the councilor. “They demand trained staff, so we have also offered them our network of counselors and our employment network, which they are already making use of,” he said. The objective “is to put the Murcia hotel industry at a very high level of quality.”