AS new coronavirus infections surge Greece has had to enforce a strict night-time curfew on its holiday islands, bar and restaurant owners on Spain’s Costa del Sol are now worried this may happen here.
Greece has recorded the highest number of daily new coronavirus infections since the pandemic started prompting swift action to introduce midnight curfews and bars and restaurants in a bid to keep the spread of the virus down.
Bars and restaurants in Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, Rhodes, Zante and Crete will now be closed from midnight until 7am, according to the Greek government. Protests are likely as the tourist industry has only started up again after months of being in lockdown.
With many bar owners in Spain already pulling the shutters down for the last time, the remaining ones are worried that curfews could soon be introduced here, signalling the ‘death knell’ for thousands of small family-run establishments on the Costa del Sol.
Speaking to one bar owner from Malaga echoed the sentiment. Patrick O’Leary who runs the Irish Rover said: “We are already on our last legs if the Spanish government start the curfew we are finished. Our business has taken a 90 per cent drop in takings, speaking to my fellow bar owners in Benalmadena and Fuengirola, they all say the same thing. Money taken in the summer pays for the winter and now we have virtually no summer trade – we can’t carry on. I’m thinking of trying Portugal or maybe even returning to Ireland to earn some money then come back later. Spain has been our home for 10 years, everything I had I put into the business, now it’s all gone. The thing is it’s a catch 22 – nobody wants to buy the bar while things are like this so I lose the money I paid for the lease/trespaso so i don’t have the money even to transport my stuff back to Ireland. In the end I’ll just have to bite the bullet and just go and lose everything, it’s heartbreaking.”
The director of health for Spain, Fernando Simon said last night lockdowns and emergency measures will be applied if necessary – if the outbreaks in Spain continue as they are, then we may well see that happen soon.