Spain’s Costa del Sol’s tourism & hospitality associations warn bars & restaurants to refrain from investing in Covid-19 security measures until Government provides clear instructions

Costa del Sol’s tourism associations such as the Costa del Sol Hotel Association (Aehcos) and Malaga’s Hospitality Association (Mahos) have warned hospitality and hotel businesses to refrain from investing in Covid-19 security measures until the government provides clear instructions.

ALTHOUGH the Junta de Andalucia’s President Juanma Moreno announced today that he wants to allow restaurants and bars in the region to open their doors from May 25, he did not provide any details on the kind of security measures that the hospitality industry will need to take before they open.

According to Aehcos and Mahos, many restaurant and bar owners in the industry are wary about today’s announcement, given that the central government has yet to approve Moreno’s suggested opening dates, as well as provide details on the security measures they need to take to protect customers against the risk of coronavirus infection.

Javier Frutos, President of Mahos criticised the regional government of making “premature announcements” of a May opening when they are not even sure about the type of security measures that will be required. “Before we can open, we need to train up staff in the new security requirements. We will only attract customers back if they feel secure and we can guarantee them a Covid-19-free environment,” stated Frutos. “If they don’t feel safe and are unable to enjoy the experience, they simply won’t come.”

Frutos said he also wants clear rules that don’t warrant a huge investment on the part of business owners in the current crisis, because it can “ruin the sector,” he warned. “Our advice to restaurants and bar owners is not to invest at all unless the State specifically instructs us to.”

Luis Callejón, President of Aehcos, agrees. His advice to hotel and restaurant/bar owners is to “not bother throwing money at promotions or other investment until more information is given.” There is much talk about the need to put up screens and invest in protective materials. Businesses in the hospitality sector are already inundated by suppliers pressuring them to “buy now before stocks run out,” without the industry really knowing exactly what measures/guarantees the government will require to safeguard customers from the risk of Covid-19, according to Callejón.

“Some businesses are already buying these materials and run the risk of wasting money, if they are finally not deemed necessary,” warned Callejón. So he is advising restaurants, hotels and bars “not to invest a euro more” until the government provides dates and security measures required.

Although Moreno suggested dates for restaurant and bar openings in the region, he provided no information on security measures that the hospitality industry would need to take, or give any indication when the tourism sector can open. However, on a positive note, Moreno did reveal that Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has accepted his tourism rescue plan.

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Pepi Sappal

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