Bars to open only at lunchtime and for outdoor seating, Business Departments suggests

Hospitality sector unimpressed

The Catalan Business Department is working on a proposal to reopen the terraces of bars and restaurants on a limited basis, so that it can be applied from Friday, according to sources. The proposal, however, must be approved by the Health Department and Civil Protection (Procicat) to be effective.

The proposal would involve opening the terraces to 50% of their capacity at lunchtime, between 1 pm and 4 pm. According to department sources, this would be a limited opening and would follow all safety regulations to avoid the expansion of the pandemic.

Sources from the department have indicated that in recent days they have been working with the sector to try to implement a de-escalation without compromising health and safety. The guild of restaurateurs, however, denies it and has called it a "shoddy proposal". It considers the measure "insufficient for the current emergency situation and the collapse of the economy".

Just yesterday the Barcelona guild called a meeting with representatives of the sector, which received the support of many renowned Catalan chefs, to ask for the reopening of the premises.

The Business Department's proposal is a long way from what the guild was hoping for. In the meeting,  the guild agreed to push for 50% of indoor seating and 100% of outdoor seating, opening hours until 11 pm in order to serve lunch and dinner and recommendations to wear the mask between dishes and mandatory when not sitting at the table.

In its communiqué, the guild urges the Catalan government to "lift the closure order and allow the activity to resume, through a de-escalation plan if necessary, with viable conditions from the business point of view from the outset".

Shops and beauty centres

The company's proposal does not only concern hospitality. It also envisages maintaining 30% capacity in shops, but without a limit of a maximum area of 800 square metres. Shopping centres will be allowed to open with a maximum capacity of 30%, the same limitation as fleamarkets. In addition, beauty centres may reopen, although clients will have to book in advance.

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