Legal challenges to COVID restrictions from the hospitality sector as despair looms large




Hoteliers across Spain are preparing immediate legal challenges to the COVID restrictions. It has been confirmed that such challenges have been lodged in each of the seventeen autonomous regions. An inter territorial legal commission has been announced to channel all the actions together. Businesses consider the restrictions to be unjustified and raise genuine concerns about the impact of the measures not being assessed before put in to effect.


Concerns are varied, from the imposition of social policing duties on hospitality workers, the increasing concern that the hospitality sector feels unsupported by the rest of society and the inevitable fear of huge numbers of businesses closing for good and the thousands of jobs under threat. There is a growing frustration that the sector seems to be lumped in with unregulated street drinking as activities responsible for the spreading virus.


Further to the nationwide legal filings, the sector is also organising protest marches and events across the country. So far it is confirmed that protests will take place in Castilla and León overnight on Friday 21st to 22nd August between midnight and 01.30 am and Benidorm will have a protest march at 11.00 this Sunday morning.


There is a feeling in the hospitality sector that they are taking the brunt of the front line actions against the virus and the blame, It has been a dark year for tourism in Spain. National loses for the sector have been estimated at almost 99 million euros . Calls have been made for an extension of the ERTE scheme to Easter 2021 and demands for more financial support to maintain viable businesses through the winter months.


In Zaragoza there have been calls for nightlife establishments to be made exempt from mortgage and rent payments. Bars and restaurants in Zaragoza province employed around 27,000 people before the virus arrived and the sector is now pleading for help to save between half and 70% of the establishments from closing permanently. Many bar managers and business owners lament that there has not been one outbreak confirmed as connected to a licensed premises but the suspicion is that private gatherings and events continue unchecked generating infection.


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