British Expat bar owners on Spain’s Costa del Sol & Costa Blanca fear ‘wipeout’ as the pandemic continues throughout Europe
Expat bar owners who took the dream to open a bar in the sun are now fearing ‘wipeout’ as the pandemic continues into 2021.
After a financially torturous 2020 due to a hard lockdown period followed by a summer tourism void of tourists, those bar owners that are still in business are now fearing being wiped out of business as there appears to be no light on the horizon.
As they struggle along on reduced hours and still under heavy local regulations – with Spain quite possibly to see a ‘third wave’ as well as travel companies continuing to cancel holidays – fears continue to grow.
Shattered dreams have already applied to hundreds of British owned bars, being forced to close, either selling up cheaply or ‘locking up and running’ back to the safer grounds of the UK.
Whilst UK bar owners whilst closed are receiving assistance from the government with yet another payment being paid this week of £9,000 for them being in national lockdown and not being able to sell ‘take away’ pints this time round, British bar owners in Spain don’t receive the same financial considerations.
In Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, only yesterday ruled out another national lockdown, whilst community areas further press ahead with tighter restrictions on bar owners, with many feeling the further squeeze financially.
Some bar owners feel they should be getting more assistance, whilst others feel they are ‘left to open’ to save them claiming from the government coffers whilst no seeing any customers of quantity to stay afloat.
” It’s a double-edged sword – we see no decent custom but if we close we get no financial assistance, in the meantime we face continuous restrictions limiting our trading hours,” says Kevin Cooper in Valencia, where tougher regulations have recently been applied.
Whilst those bar owners that have survived thus far, now fear the year ahead, with the picture looking bleak for the all-important Spring and Summer seasons.
A British bar owner in Spain has no option to rely on tourism, the Spanish themselves are not big drinkers and take to their own bars in the instance, holiday companies around Europe are already canceling holidays and flights which could well go into Spring and now likely the all-important summer months as heavy restrictions on travel still apply.
” I can’t see there being much Summer trade at all,” says bar owner Pete Lambden in Marbella ” At the start of all this, we were all focusing on getting by and getting into 2021 but now that even looks unlikely – the truth is we need the Brits back and I can’t see them coming this summer, this is now dragging on too much, I’ve invested my life savings into my bar and really struggling now, Spring trade I need to stay afloat financially and that’s not going to take place and I fear becoming another statistic of the hundreds of British bars that have closed”
” He further added, the Christmas restrictions were a disaster, whilst we could re-open at 8 PM for a couple more hours – the truth is nobody came back out”
” People say it will be ok by the summer, I don’t see that at all, I doubt there will be many establishments left by then” he finished.
Whilst the bars suffer probably the greatest recession in the ex-pat bar trade in Spain ever, it’s also the knock-on effect that causes suffering to many others, drinks supplier Derek Payne in Murcia tells of the current predicaments, he explained:
“I’ve been here 20 years, never seen anything like it, my business has dried up, to make a living at the competitive prices about, I need quantity orders, they don’t just happen as bars sit with handfuls of customers, I can only see one thing – a total market crash and sadly thousands losing their businesses and savings.
” Everyone I know who has survived has tried to remain optimistic and positive – but as we enter 2021 I think the writing is on the wall although many just don’t want to read it” he finalized.
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