Spanish minister says late-night dining is “madness”

Late night opening hours in Spain Photo: Shutterstock / Palephotography

Minister of Employment, Yolanda Díaz, said that she does not consider it “reasonable” that restaurants in Spain should be open until 1am. In an intervention in Congress, Diaz ignited a debate when she advocated limiting the opening hours of the hotel and catering industry instead of extending them,

“It is unreasonable for a country to have its restaurants open at one o’clock in the morning,” said Díaz, who highlighted the differences in the opening hours of the hotel and catering industry between Spain and the rest of Europe. “It is madness to try to keep extending opening hours until we don’t know what time”, she added.

“A major social debate”

Diaz said this was an example of the need, in her opinion, to rationalise opening times in Spain. “We need to open a major social debate”, said Díaz, who urged the government to go beyond the reduction in working hours that it has promised to undertake over the course of the term of office.

Photo of Yolanda Díaz: Consejo de Ministros

Díaz went on to say that the reduction in working hours must be accompanied by other measures to facilitate work-life balance. “It is unreasonable for meetings to be called at 8pm in the evening,” she said, adding that her department has set up a working group made up of 60 experts to tackle the issue.

However, the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, a great advocate of flexible opening hours in the restaurant industry, said, “Spain has the best nightlife in the world, with streets full of life and that also provides employment”.

“A shot in the foot”

‘España de Noche’ (Spain by Night), the employers’ association for leisure and night-time entertainment, also rejects the approach of the government. In a statement, a spokesperson said that limiting the opening hours of the hotel and catering industry would be “a shot in the foot” that would only benefit Spain’s competitors in the tourist market.

España de Noche argues that, it makes no sense to focus on the hotel and catering industry without taking an in-depth look at of Spanish society, “the debate on Spanish opening hours must also take into account working hours, prime time television and shopping centre opening hours”, they said.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.


    • Mark Grant

      06 March 2024 • 09:46

      A VERY stupid idea i think, i have lived in Spain for nealry 31 years and this is the way Spain works….. if its aint broken…. dont fix it……. 🤷‍♂️🤦‍♀️

    • John Little

      06 March 2024 • 11:49

      I have seen a comment methinks true. Diaz is involved in the covid masks scandal and this makes a good diversion for her.

    • Maria

      06 March 2024 • 12:17

      The last thing Spain needs is another dictator! Restaurants won’t stay open past the time it is profitable for them to do so, it’s self-regulating! Absolutely ridiculous trying to force a curfew on citizens, especially as the forced ones during the pandemic are still so fresh in people’s minds.

    • Noel Field

      06 March 2024 • 13:46

      Spain needs a good war with someone to become ‘re-centered’.

    • CCW60

      06 March 2024 • 14:52

      It is “unreasonable” to think government should be allowed to control the opening hours of businesses regardless of what type they may be. Spain has done this forever and no one has been harmed by it! Viv Espana and its culture!

    • Anders

      06 March 2024 • 15:43

      Yolanda, such changes to tradition will only bring you down to the levels of being a UK minister. Don’t go down that route,, you wouldn’t like it. 😉 Viva España de Noche!

    • Charles Thomas

      06 March 2024 • 15:53

      This should be up to the individual businesses to decide what time they open and close, they know their business more than a thick politician.

    • Mrs j mason

      07 March 2024 • 15:32

      I can understand that she wants to protect employees in hospitality from being forced to work longer and less healthy hours but it is employment legislation that should be altered not just one sector of employment.

    Comments are closed.