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Bars and hairdressers reluctant to open on Spain’s Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca despite permission to go back to work

The green light has been given for some small businesses on Spain’s Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca to go back to work next week.

BUT despite having permission, many say they will not be opening amid a lack of clarity, financial concerns and fears over coronavirus.

As the Spanish government begins its de-escalation plan, a ‘new normality’ will be phased in over the coming weeks – depending on the evolution of Covid-19.

During the initial phase, hairdressers and other businesses that operate via appointment will be able to open, with restaurants allowed to offer takeaway services.

In theory this also applies to the likes of opticians and physical therapists.

In the next stage, envisaged to begin on May 11 for most of Spain, bars will be able to reopen their terraces, but will be limited to a third of their capacity.

But there are still conditions and protocols that have be followed.

According to N332, a group of road safety professionals, hairdressers, dentists, opticians and physical therapists will be able to open next week if….

*They can offer appointments

*They offer individual attention

*And staff in such establishments will have to wear protective equipment, such as masks and gloves.

Other official guidance includes having hand disinfectant available for clients.

But Claire Turner, a mobile hairdresser on the Costa Blanca, said: “I’m still not that clear about when I can go back to work, I thought it was May 11. To be honest, I’m going to wait anyway, a lot of my clients are elderly and people still seem nervous about the virus.”

Patricia Chambers has questioned whether the protection measures are enough.

She said: “Gloves only look after the person wearing them, if they are to protect clients then they need to be washed or changed for each client, same as scissors, combs, brushes, gowns, chairs and sinks disinfected every time, I doubt this will happen.”

And Jo Dixon is concerned about movement restrictions and how they apply. “If hairdressers etc are open from Monday, do you need a paper or an appointment on your phone to show the police were you are going. Or are the rules of travel relaxed?”

Bar owners are in two minds whether it is even viable to consider reopening under the regulations stipulated, while others are calling for more clarity.

Antonio Mira Martinez has a bar in Alicante on the Costa Blanca with an internal capacity of 50 and nine tables outside.

He told Euro Weekly News: “We are not going to reopen yet. It is not financially viable to bring back staff and open up the whole place to serve just three tables.

“We would still have to offer the same variety of drinks, and the bills will be the same.”

Franco Pearson of Oceana Club in the north of Costa Blanca is keen to reopen as soon as is possible, safe and viable, but says more clarity is needed.

He said: “After a 90-day lockdown you cannot simply go and open your doors and start serving your community.

“We need the exact safety measures and security requirements the governments wish to implement. Depending on costs, availability, time restraints etc this needs advance preparation.

“Dependant on capacity restraints etc some restaurants/bars may not be able to open as their square meterage may be too small, or they may not have the funds to purchase the safety measures the government want to implement, for example, glass partitions.”

He said there needs to be more clarity from the government before anything can be done.

“We need advance notice, as do our suppliers to obtain stock, you can imagine the amount of phone calls the meat, fish, veg and the beer/wine companies will receive. Our suppliers will need to restock themselves.”

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Written by

Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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