Virus jeopardises thousands of Spanish bars and restaurants

By Emma Pinedo MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's cherished saying that there is 'a bar on every corner' is in jeopardy with 85,000 drinking and eating establishments facing closure if a coronavirus rebound gets out of control.

Reuters July 23, 2020 00:06:41 IST
Virus jeopardises thousands of Spanish bars and restaurants

Virus jeopardises thousands of Spanish bars and restaurants

By Emma Pinedo

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's cherished saying that there is "a bar on every corner" is in jeopardy with 85,000 drinking and eating establishments facing closure if a coronavirus rebound gets out of control.

That was the warning from the main hospitality business lobby, which said some 40,000 bars and restaurants had already shut down permanently in tourism-dependent Spain which implemented one of Europe's toughest lockdowns.

The Spanish Hospitality Industry Association added that in a best-case scenario, 25,000 more were likely to close by year end, with another 20,000 if spikes were not contained.

Spaniards and foreign tourists have not been drinking and eating out as much as usual when lockdown ended last month.

"In many cases the heart has been more powerful than the head and many of the businesses opened their doors while losing money," association president Jose Luis Yzuel told Reuters on Wednesday.

"How long can (owners) maintain that?" he said, estimating that revenues for the sector were set to halve in 2020, with losses of around 67 billion euros (60.95 billion pounds).

NO TAX CUT

Spain, which has suffered more than 28,400 deaths and about 266,000 cases of the COVID-19 disease, has seen a sharp rise in new infections over the last three weeks, but still at a level well below the peak.

Several business groups have created a lobby campaign "Together for hospitality" to seek help for a sector that accounts for about 6.2% of GDP and employs 1.7 million people.

Among their demands are a temporary cut in value-added tax and help for micro businesses, as up to 70% of the sector are self-employed or have less than three workers.

But on Wednesday, Industry and Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto ruled out a VAT cut.

"It's not on the agenda at the moment because it involves a very important budgetary effort and the needs we have to support the various economic sectors are enormous," he said.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Andrew Cawthorne)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.