A terrace on the pavement in Marbella / josele

Marbella's hospitality sector calls for a moratorium on terraces

While bar owners recognise that occupying pavements can be "a nuisance", they argue that some people are still reluctant to eat inside and that "the debts of the pandemic are still being paid"

DAVID LERMA

Following a town hall meeting in Marbella on Monday, during which a campaign to control and inspect the occupation of terraces of bars and restaurants was announced, the Marbella Hotel and Restaurant Association, headed by Nahuel Klappenbach, has acknowledged that "the return to normality is understandable and desirable, although we believe it is a little hasty".

Klappenbach acknowledged that during the pandemic "the relaxation could have been a nuisance", but also argued that in this situation "we are asking for a moratorium until the end of the season".

"The regulations are there to be complied with. It has always been like that", acknowledged Klappenbach, who consulted with his colleagues to formalise a response to the announcement made by the town hall spokesman, Félix Romero, on Monday.

Exceptional situation

The announcement represents a return to normality and a compliance with the current town hall regulations in terms of how much space terraces can occupy on pavements, marking the end of an “exceptional situation which has allowed the hotel and catering trade to have a little breathing space".

According to the town hall, normality began to be experienced at the end of last year, when "it was agreed to return to the original law on this matter". Since then, according to the council, various information campaigns have been carried out to warn the local hospitality industry of the end of the exception.

Asked about this, Klappenbach declared: "I simply don't know" and claimed that he had only heard of "verbal warnings" from other colleagues. Of the three establishments consulted by SUR, the owners knew nothing either.

Reluctance to eat inside

According to the town hall, the intention of the campaign "is not to impose sanctions and, in this sense, we trust that the hoteliers will comply with their obligations".

The hospitality industry has called for understanding and asked for a moratorium. "A summer like this would be a way to improve their situation" said Klappenbach, adding that "there are still people, especially older people, who are reluctant to enter a restaurant and, therefore, more tables are needed outside". He concluded: “The debts of the pandemic “are still being paid".