UK tourists will see closed signs once they return to Spain’s southern Costa Blanca, as a number of desperate bar owners are looking to quit.
With no imminent end in sight for the lockdown measures in the hospitality industry, some bars in the area may never reopen, in a worrying rerun of events from the country’s recession from the early part of the previous decade.
Though Spain will next month start some relaxation of isolation rules, nobody is expecting the lucrative arrival of foreign tourists much before the autumn, at the very earliest.
Then there’s the issue of when bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen.
Since many bars rely on summer income to get them through the leaner winter months in seasonal areas like Torrevieja and the Orihuela Costa, a number of businesses are very much in the balance.
The British owner of two bars in the Torrevieja area, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the Euro Weekly News: ”We are running a food delivery service from one of the bar kitchens, but that’s just bringing in peanuts, compared to our regular trade.”
“I have to pay two sets of rent and though the government has got a payments holiday scheme, I am looking at the prospect of having to pick up again in the autumn, after losing my vital money between July and September.”
“It doesn’t make any sense and like others in the same boat, I might have to draw a line under everything.”
Local real estate portals are continuing to advertise bars and restaurants, but there has been little interest, even before the coronavirus pandemic.
One or two modest price reductions have appeared on a few websites, but nothing to suddenly force the hand of a potential buyer in taking a gamble on when the lockdown will end for the hospitality industry.
The bar closures during Spain’s recession of a decade or so ago might well seem like very small beer, once the dust eventually settles after the State of Alarm rules are relaxed.
The ‘For Sale’ and ‘For Rent’ signs may once again become a familiar sight as permanent time on some bars is called once again.