Hospitality is stirring in Catalonia against the grievance of the Generalitat in the coronavirus crisis
Owners and workers protest the closing order, try to leave by serving dishes at home and some local tries to circumvent the lock: "The Urban Guard has evicted me"
The outrage has stirred the hospitality in Catalonia by the hill that the Generalitat imposes for 15 days, which could be more if the contagions by coronavirus remain unremitted. Owners and employees of bars and restaurants have taken to the streets to show that they feel aggrieved for being the only sector to which the Govern forces the blinds to come down. A thousand people have filled the square of Sant Jaume, the epicenter of Catalan power. Rebelged by a decision that they fear will sink them, they demand aid that prevents the second wave of the pandemic from dragging their businesses. Before marching through the center of Barcelona, part of the congregants have undertaken it by throwing eggs against the Palace of the Generalitat.
While many venues have dawned in lime and singing in the Catalan capital, others have been tasked with serving breakfasts and menus at the entrance to get rid of bad omens. Miguel has continued to shout out the orders of customers lined up in front of his cafeteria, next to the Hostafrancs market. “You don’t have to say it’s to go, because you can’t do anything else,” joked a woman waiting for coffee. “We’re at 20% turnover,” Miguel calculated first thing in the morning, baffled by the closing order: “I don’t get it. We complied with the measures and have had no cases of Covid.”
At Miguel’s door he came to breakfast Alex Nut, which runs a restaurant in the Cathedral Square. He was entrusting until the last minute that the restrictions would not be implemented: “At seven o’clock on Thursday afternoon, he kept the whole squad. At eight o’clock, I had to pass it on to the ERTE.” It counts 75% less clientele when tourism evaporates and degreases an invoice with ruin balance: “It costs me 50,000 euros to open and bill about 20,000. I’ve lost 250,000 euros since we opened after confinement. I’m ruining, but before I leave the workers, I stop paying the 18,000 euros rent.”
“We do not contemplate closing. It is that this is my way of life and I have three children”, confesses Jordi López, owner of a bar on Sants street. A few customers rush the coffee on the street, standing up. He finds it hard to stand if the epidemic gets out of control: “We come with debts from confinement. I have managed to postpone the rent, the light and some supplier, but until December. We’re at about 75,000 euros of losses in three months, but we were going back. We had regained 95% activity. We have to control the virus, but we can’t be the turk’s head.”
Some restaurants have resisted closure until the High Court of Justice endorsed the decree of the Generalitat after noon. A historic near Plaza Urquinaona, Casa Alfonso, welcomed diners on the terrace and its interior. “My grandfather did not close during the Civil War. I had to honor him. But the Urban Guard has shown up at four o’clock and forced us to evict. At least they let us pass on the bills,” explains the owner, Alfonso García,who tried to circumvent a ban that he thinks is “ridiculous”: “It causes people to focus on the houses to eat. There the police can’t tell if up to six people meet or if there are protective measures.”
A few meters away, the landlord has put an ultimatum to Vicenzo in the form of a sign reading “It is pierced”. “You just can’t hold it. Rent costs us 7,000 euros,” says the guy, with the oven on but no commissions. At Sandra Petroni’s bar only one customer had called them to take three pizzas: “They cost 21 euros. How can you put up with this? I’m losing 80% of the money. Do you think it’s normal that you should close when public transportation and shopping malls are full?”
“It’s a slack day. We usually make twice as many sandwiches as we have sold,” says Javi,who dispatches through the window of a bar on Girona Street. In the Asian corner they did not count a single order after 13.30 hours. “And by this hour we’re already full,” compares Aisha. Other restaurants in the Example where only customers came to take a bag with food have stewed less than a third of the usual rations. “I’ve only sold 10%. I don’t have almost any money in the box,” admits Fanny, pessimistic: “I think we’ll close. The boss said to try it, but it’s not profitable.”
“Of three restaurants we have, maybe hold one, ” augurs Abel Gonzalez. “We have 40,000 to 50,000 euros in losses and we put 10,000 out of our pocket for rents, social insurance…”, lists. ” I have had the workers three months in ERTE and they still owe them money,” complains Antonio Benito, with a restaurant in Lli’s d’Amunt (Barcelona), seized by the mortgage: “I have to open anyway in order to pay for the premises. If it was rent, I would have left it by now.” “They still owe me two and a half months of ERTE. Now I’m going to collect 900 euros again. How do I live with the 50 euros I have left if I pay 850 for rent and expenses?” asks Carolina, waitress.