Bars and restaurants in Barcelona will get more space for terraces and 75 per cent off outside space rates until the end of the year to kickstart the industry as Spain begins lockdown de-escalation.
THE City Council has approved a move which will mean sacrificing parking spaces to give businesses more scope for tables and chairs.
This way pedestrian space will not be affected and bars, restaurants and cafes can implement the recommended safety distances.
The council said “the extension of the terraces will be at the expense of the space now used for parking and circulation of vehicles,” in other words, the tables will be placed on the road.
But it is hoped that smaller establishments with very few tables will be able to keep them at 100 per cent, being able to place them at a greater distance apart.
For the bars and restaurants that don’t have a terrace, there will be the possibility of fitting out a bar that faces the street, similar to during the Spanish fiestas.
Deputy mayors Jaume Collboni and Janet Sanz said the measures aim “to facilitate the reopening of bars and restaurants, a sector that employs 6.4 per cent of the population.”
They said the terrace rate relief will come into force as soon as the State of Alarm ends – since during the lockdown the fee is not being charged – until December 31 with an extension if necessary.
This reduction in the rate of terraces will mean a loss of €7 million loss for the municipal coffers, but the City Council considers it a “necessary aid to maintain economic activity.”
To support local commerce, the authority intends to make it easier to hold trade fairs in the street to encourage more business.
Janet Sanz said this measure is an “opportunity to continue strengthening the life of the neighbourhood” and “so that no establishment has to lower its blinds or any worker is left unemployed.”
The commercial sector accounts for 14 per cent of employment in the city.