HOSPITALITY has been one of the economic sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus lockdown. As Almeria gets ready to move into the first phase of the government’s plan for Spain to begin a gradual return to the new normality on May 11, the Euro Weekly News asks local cafe and restaurant owners how they see the next couple of months shaping up for their businesses.
Stephen Hollings co-owner of the Cornish Pride cafe in Albox
“I see difficult times for small businesses like ours”, Stephen commented.
“It has not been an easy time trying to get Social Security assistance, and the astronomically high ‘autonimo’ payments are still being taken out of our bank, despite being told they would be frozen.“
Commenting on the phase one provision which allows cafes like Cornish Pride to serve customers only on outside spaces, and then at just 50 per cent of capacity, Stephen said “our business is going to be severely affected.
“We have just six outside tables so can only serve three! By the time we have paid all the outgoings we will be lucky to break even. Luckily we can offer a full take away service so we hope that might help us through this extremely difficult period.“
Jemma Wilson, Rosie Lees cafe-bar and teashop in Turre
“It has been a scary place to be”, Turre’s Rosie Lees cafe-bar and teashop owner Jemma Wilson told EWN.
Jemma said the impact of having to close her business’s doors and all the uncertainty about how long it would be before she could open up shop again and under what conditions, as well as with the correct safety measures in place, has been an enormous worry.
Not only has she had all the concerns as a cafe owner of having to deal with a crisis which completely paralysed all business, she also feels responsibility for her staff and for her customers, stressing “I don’t want to compromise their safety.”
As for what will happen to her business this month and next, Jemma says “it is very much going to depend on the government’s approach to lifting the lockdown and the additional support available through the de-escalation, especially from the staff perspective and the impact on them.”
Francisca Andreu, Neptuno Mojácar Restaurante y Eventos
“It has been hard for Neptuno because we have many employees on contract and we have had to put them put them on the dole with the assistance, which is never like the salary they receive”, explained Fran.
“The good thing is that we opened up for deliveries about 10 days ago, and this is working really well, and means that now we have people working again. And from Monday we are starting with takeaways and we will need more people to work.
“Also good is that it will be Monday when we start opening the terraces, and we hope to be able to have many people dining with us.
“We are taking all the health and hygiene precautions to ensure healthy deliveries and zero contact.”