The Madrid Town Hall continues to take steps towards rebuilding the economic activity of the capital with the hospitality sector taking main stage in the first phase. In order to do so, the town hall has agreed that terraces in the restaurant and bar premises play a fundamental role which will guarantee ‘the security of clients’ and the survival of businesses.
THE meeting which intends to bridge the municipal government with hoteliers in the industry is due to take place on Friday. The deputy mayor of Madrid, Begoña Villací agreed that the town hall would extend the period of time for terraces to be open. Typically, terraces are only allowed from March 31 to October 31, however, the municipal government intends to extend this until the end of the year.
That is the first point that the municipal corporation has already agreed to and it will be followed by a 25 per cent reduction in the tax rate for the terraces. “We cannot charge those who have not been receiving income,” said the deputy mayor, who has also stressed that the city council is already returning the money to those businesses that have paid the fee but have not been able to use the terraces because of their closure which was decreed by the State of Alarm.
However, the expansion of these spaces and the extension of their opening hours has not in fact been decided yet. The mayor pointed out that both situations are a possibility but will depend on the “rest of the neighbours” who may have trouble with noise or complaints.
This rethinking of public spaces has been a recurring theme in the discussions about the hospitality sector and returning to a “new normality.” The deputy mayor has also delved into other sectors that are not necessarily related to the hospitality industry and mentioned that they too are reviewing modifications in the hopes of returning to economic productivity.
For example, she mentioned that florists can put their flowers for sale on the streets or bakeries can take their windows to the pavements. Two circumstances that “the general rule does not permit at the moment,” said Villacís, but can be expected to change as Spain hopes to adapt to a post Covid-19 climate.
Begoña Villací has assured that in order to carry out all these modifications, the municipal government has formed “a committee of experts,” who will “prepare for the day after confinement.” This committee includes Juan José Badiola, director of the Centre for Emerging Communicable Diseases at the University of Zaragoza and an expert who was instrumental during the mad cow disease crisis. “They are expert voices to those who are not being heard and that we will be listening to with care,” Villacís concluded.