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April 20, 2020

“If the politicians listen to us, 90 percent of bars and restaurants in the Balearic Islands will survive the crisis”

by Mallorca Diario

Flexibility in the labor market allowing ERTE processing to be tailored to business needs; adaptation of the reopening of establishments to the circumstances of each geographic area, prioritizing the restart of activity in bars, cafes and restaurants with resident clientele and terrace spaces; promotion of Mallorca and of the Balearic Islands as a whole, as a safe destination from the point of view of health control and prevention, without forgetting the adoption of tax policies adjusted to the current socio-economic scenario. These are some of the points that are part of the road map that the Mallorcan Association of Bars, Cafes and Restaurants of Restauración CAEB-by the hand of its president, Alfonso Robledo, and its vice president, Juan Miguel Ferrer- defends so that, the sector it represents, can successfully overcome the current critical situation, marked by the paralysis of productive activity and the uncertainty that hangs over business investments and the employment market.

Generalized satisfaction among the restaurant sector for the work being carried out by the autonomous government in relation to the management of the coronavirus pandemic in the Balearic Islands and its socio-economic consequences. In statements to mallorcadiario.com, the president of the Mallorcan Association of Bars, Cafeterias and Restaurants attached to the organization Restauración CAEB, Alfonso Robledo, has indicated that both the president of the Executive, Francina Armengol, and the councilor for Economic, tourism and work Model, Iago Negueruela, “are showing seriousness and rigor in their approaches and actions that deserve our recognition.” According to him, other public institutions are following the example of the Govern, and, in that sense, he has highlighted the involvement of municipalities such as Llucmajor, Calvià, Andratx and Inca.

However, in the case of Palma, the entity demands from the municipal administration a clearer commitment to favor the expectations of the restoration businesses in a particularly complex situation, which is marked by the paralysis of commercial and economic activity due to the health emergency and the repercussions of the declaration of the state of alarm.

According to Robledo, “in Sevilla and other municipalities the sector is being supported, but in Palma the measures have been limited, for the moment, to granting free street occupancy tax until December. However, many bars and restaurants do not have terraces, and therefore are not related to this action. Therefore, it is necessary to go further in initiatives to encourage the restaurant industry to continue moving forward “.

From the point of view of the regulations promulgated by the State regarding the management of the health crisis, Robledo sees “understandable” that the reopening of the establishments in the sector is set for January next year, since, as he has indicated, “above all we must ensure the health of the population, both customers and workers and employers.”


Now, in his opinion, “not all restaurants respond to the same canons: a restaurant in a tourist area is not the same as one in the city centre or in an industrial area. In these geographical areas, a substantial part of the clientele, in a greater or lesser extent, are residents. “

In this regard, Robledo’s opinion is that “in the case of restaurants that do not depend exclusively on tourismand that are provided with spaces for terraces, there is no reason to wait until January. These establishments could gradually resume their activity in June, if the evolution of the pandemic allows it, and in this way it would contribute to dinamyze the economy and employment. “

To make this objective feasible, the president of Restauración CAEB puts several requirements on the table. The first of these is flexibility when hiring, with the philosophy that the staff covered by a Temporary Employment Regulation File (ERTE) “can rejoin the company based on business needs, and return to their previous situation, the ERTE, if circumstances so advise. It is about giving the owner a margin of flexibility, saving him bureaucratic demands. Keep in mind that, with the current provisions in hand, it is clear that all the contracts that are made in the sector will be limited to professionals involved in an ERTE process. There will be no incorporations of other job seekers. “


Another of the requests from the restaurant industry expressed by Alfonso Robledo is related to the guidelines on occupation of public thoroughfare. The leader is a firm supporter of “demanding more permissivenessfrom the administrations so that a bar or restaurant with 20 tables on the terrace can have, for example, 40. In this way, it will reduce , at least in part, the losses that the obligation to ensure greater separation marginsbetween customers both inside and outside the premises will cause, reducing supply capacity. “

In fact, the restaurant establishments of the future, immediately after the health crisis, will be very different from what they were before the Covid-19 crisis. Companies in the sector are working intensively on designing the new configuration of the premises, which, according to Obledo, “will require, for example, that a separation screen be placed between customers, or that waiters and other workers wear masks, or that shared meals can no longer be requested, as was done before. “

Ultimately, as he relates, “they will be different restaurants; Colder, if I may say, but there is no other choice but to adjust to these prerogatives while the public health alarm is not completely neutralized.” In this sense, the president of Restauración CAEB has highlighted the “immense desire” felt by the owners and employees of the sector to “meet again with our clients, and serve them again with the professionalism and dedication we are known for. But the customers should know that nothing will be the same as before, at least for some time. “


Likewise, with a view to the progressive reactivation of restaurant activity, the head of the association defends the tax amenity on the part of the institutions to “moderate the fiscal pressure in a time characterized by the collapse of income.”

Along these same lines, Robledo has remarked that the businessmen and the owners of the premises have opened a negotiation front to moderate the rent quota and adjust them to the current situation. He is optimistic in this regard, since, as he indicates, “as happened in the 2008 crisis, the landlords have fully understood the situation and, in general, satisfactory agreements are being reached for both parties. Obviously, this is not about fooling anyone. The goal right now is not to get rich or earn a lot of money but to survive. And to achieve this, we have to help each other: landlords, entrepreneurs, workers, employers, unions and administration. There is no other option. “


“If the measures we need to promote the viability of the restaurant business are applied, I believe that we will be able to save 90 percent of the establishments in the sector. If not, we will stay at 40 or, at most, 50 percent. ” This is the prediction of the vice president of the Mallorcan Association of Bars, Cafes and Restaurants, Juan Miguel Ferrer, for whom “there is no doubt” that the economy as a whole, and tourism in particular, together with the complementary activities linked to the productive locomotive of the Balearic Islands, “we are obliged to overcome a journey in the desert in which the objective must be having the fewest casualties as possible.”

This is the philosophy of the roadmap that Restauración CAEB has drawn up with a view to describing the scenario that the sector needs to make possible its gradual recovery in a context that is undoubtedly adverse, marked by the paralysis of the tourism and the state of alarm restrictions regarding the freedom of movement of citizens and the exploitation of bars and restaurants, currently closed to the public.

The document has been forwarded by the entity to the various institutions and public administrations of the islands, as well as to other employers’ organizations, union groups and all economic and social agents in the Community. In this sense, last Friday, the CAEB Vice President of Restoration, Juanmi Ferrer, had the opportunity to present some of the main points of the proposal on the occasion of a sectoral meeting, developed electronically and sponsored by the President of the Consell de Mallorca, Catalina Cladera, and the Island Councilor for Tourism, Andreu Serra. Representatives of twenty other organizations also took part in the call, all of them united by the common objective of carrying out actions aimed at promoting the reactivation of restaurants establishments.

As Ferrer explained to mallorcadiario.com, both the island president and the Minister of Tourism “were clearly receptive to our problems and needs. I think they perfectly understood the message that we transmitted to them, and they took pertinent note of what should be the actions that can help us to ensure that the economic crash in the sector takes the fewer victims. ”

In this way, in the course of the virtual meeting with the Consell de Mallorca, the employers’ entity put three main lines of action on the table: labor flexibility; promoting the image of Mallorca as a safe tourist destination from the point of view of prevention and control of health emergencies; and, finally, the adoption of tax policies that take into account the reality of the sector in the current context of crisis and declining profitability.


Regarding the first aspect, the CAEB Vice President of Restoration, Juanmi Ferrer, has defended the need to “raise expectations from realism. This supposes admitting that not all the establishments in the sector will be able to open their doors this season, but, in turn, it also implies the confirmation that not all of them will have to remain closed as soon as the sanitary managers grant the approval to resume the activity ”.

The philosophy of the association is, in this respect, “very clear”, in Ferrer’s words: “Everything must be done so that those bars and restaurants whose owners consider or value that they are in a position to restart the exploitation of their businesses, they can do so, and those who consider the contrary, that is to say, that the sufficient requirements for the reopening are not given, they also have the possibility of availing themselves of this option ”.

For this approach to be viable, as the employer leader puts it, “it is essential that the administration opts for the criterion of flexibility in many aspects, and especially in terms of hiring staff. This involves allowing the ERTE to be processed in accordance with the needs of the establishment, so that workers can be hired or fired knowing that the regulatory files may be activated or deactivated based on this dynamic. ”

In fact, the philosophy of Restauración CAEB, as stated by its vice president, is “to help entrepreneurs to make their business viable, so that whoever thinks they can earn something or, at least, tie for economic results, can open doors; and whoever does not see it clearly, renounce it. In this way, the sector can try to achieve the maximum possible degree of self-sufficiency in these circumstances, bleeding the public accounts as little as possible, ”referring to the labor cost of paying the workers under ERTE for the State.


A second point that the employers’ organization raised during the meeting with the Consell de Mallorca has to do with the objective of turning the island into a safe destination from a health and public health perspective. In the words of Juanmi Ferrer, “it is about providing the main tourist markets with the message that the tourist who arrives in Mallorca does so in perfect health, and that when this same visitor leaves the island his situation has not changed one iota: he has arrived healthy, and he is leaving healthy ”.

The configuration of this health guarantee circuit would be equivalent, according to Ferrer, to “resorting to a brand or emblem that symbolizes this security framework and that is related to Mallorca as a reference tourist destination. This way the countries of origin of these tourists have full confidence about the objectivity and credibility of this instrument, the idea would be that the protocol be established and coordinated by executing companies of these countries with the aim of being their own administrations that supervise the process from start to finish ”.


Finally, the proposals presented by Restauración CAEB to the island government and its president, Catalina Cladera, are related to tax policies. Juanmi Ferrer believes in this regard that “it is not fair, nor logical, that companies and businesses without productive activity and without income at this time should face the payment of taxes and fees as if we were in a normal situation. If a bar or restaurant remains closed, what is the sense of collecting fees for services that the establishment does not currently use, such as garbage, the incinerator, electricity, gas or water? We can understand that you have to face some kind of base rate to compensate for maintenance operating costs, but, of course, this has nothing to do with charging the full rate. ”

As for other taxes, such as the IBI or the IAE, Ferrer is in favor of “studying each case according to the nature of that economic claim. In the case of the IAE, it seems clear that a cost reduction must be approved, because the activity is paralyzed. About the IBI, perhaps it is more a matter of goodwill that allows arbitration of aid measures, such as a deferment of payment. ”


In the opinion of the association manager, most of the political leaders “are putting themselves aside when dealing with the consequences of the economic disaster that is coming upon us, and that, of course, does not only affect the restaurant sector” . For this reason, it demands “more executive capacity, a greater level of coordination, and a more concrete and effective response” to the demands of different business activities.

Although the attitude of the political leaders of the Consell de Mallorca at the meeting on April 17 has deserved the applause of Restoration CAEB, Ferrer also understands that “an administration alone cannot face the whole problem. In addition, to a large extent, a good part of the solutions and alternatives to the crisis depend on the single command held by the central government, in Madrid ”.

Ferrer “knows” that the representatives of the Autonomous Government are “fighting” to meet the demands and needs of the Balearic population, but, in his opinion, “from Madrid there is not always sufficient receptivity, especially considering the 600 millions of euros literally seized by the State Administration and belonging to the Balearic Islands ”.

Along these same lines, Ferrer has praised the “courage” of the President of the Govern, Francina Armengol, when it comes to “standing up to Madrid in a scenario as crucial as the one that currently affects us, and to involve the European Union, because Europe should also understand our situation as a tourist archipelago and the serious crossroads that must be faced in the face of a world emergency such as the one that marks the emergence of Covid-19 must be understood. ”



Published by www.mallorcadiario.com