OVERJOYED British expats have been celebrating bars and restaurant terraces reopening across the whole of Spain’s Costa Blanca for the first time since mid-March, as they joined Benidorm in returning to business.
Parts of the region were given the green light to reopen a week ago including the likes of Benidorm and Torrevieja, but city areas like Alicante and Elche were not allowed entry into the Phase 1 relaxation because of national concerns about coronavirus levels.
The full reopening today (May 18) has given a boost to the heavily-hit hospitality trade in British expat and tourist areas like Gran Alacant, La Marina village, Santa Pola, and El Campello.
Local Police forces in areas going into Phase 1 reported little or no problems in terrace areas of bars and restaurants, with social-distancing rules being followed, as opposed to law-breaking a week ago in areas like Murcia.
The big issue amongst the hospitality trade is not the reopenings but future concerns, as business owners feel that not enough is being done to help them through the crisis.
A cafe owner in Elche said: “Yes we are trading again, but we know that the number of people that will use us will be well down on normal times. I can’t see getting enough money to pay the rent, and I could do with more help from the council.”
In Los Montesinos, Leon Butlin, works at the Monte La Herrada bar and says that everything has gone well since their doors reopened.
“We have had some brisk daytime trade and everybody is well across the need to keep their distance because of health and safety.”
“It’s been excellent to catch up with friends, but of course we are missing the tourists who would have been coming over here since Easter in a normal year.”
Jane Hammond in Gran Alacant rolled out the proverbial red carpet and said that she broke her old habits to actually go to two places to have a coffee.
“Before the lockdown, we would have just gone to one bar during the day, but we could not resist going to a couple of old favourites in one morning,” commented Jane.