July 10, 2020

“Government aid to the self-employed is only paracetamol”

Elisa Antolín is her own boss and the only worker. Her pilates studio in Santander is three years old and has been closed for a week. He does not know when it will reopen, or under what conditions. In an alert situation, leisure is the first thing to succumb. His activity focuses on body therapy offering individual sessions. “My work is not possible without physical presence,” he says. Before confinement was declared due to the health crisis, “I had an average of about 20 clients a month.” In addition to his regular clientele, a large part of his income comes from seminars and training that he teaches in other cities. “Without the possibility of moving, or of gathering people, I have had to cancel them all for the moment”, says this autonomous company: “I have to continue paying the rent for the premises, civil and theft insurance. In total, about 600 euros at the end of the month, that without leaving home, “he explains. These expenses will be paid after decreeing the end of payment of quotas and access to unemployment. However, it will not have profits and the “very high” quota of self-employed will hit it again when the state of alert is lifted. Elisa sees the future more confused than the present. “Many clients who have also been affected by this situation will have to decide what their priorities are and a good part of them will not return,” he regrets.

In Todo o Nada Tattoo they made their requests to the Government clear by wallpapering the facade of their premises with posters. This Murcian study called for the end of the quota of self-employed while the health crisis lasts. “It was the most reasonable thing from the beginning, although it is only a momentary patch”, stresses Alejandro Castro, head of All or Nothing and autonomous for 13 years. His tattoo machines stopped ringing and the ink stopped running. This is not the case for clandestine tattooists. “They are offering online price reductions and with no sanitary conditions. They continue to receive customers and are a focus of propagation of the Covid-19, while we are stopped and we will have to face the quotas again ”, alerts“ Alo ”- his artistic nickname. The security subway has become a huge chasm for the union. Unable to touch his clients, Alejandro has had to postpone the appointments that were scheduled for this month. Uncertainty increases further with possibility of all of them becoming cancellations. For the moment, what he is clear about is that the 2,000 euros of his monthly fixed expenses will not disappear. “Alo ”decided to donate part of his sanitary supplies to a nearby ambulatory, 1000 surgical masks and 10 rolls of transparent film. “You have to collaborate as much as possible at this time,” adds the boss of All or Nothing. A class of gestures that the self-employed also demand to alleviate their situation.

The catering sector tries to resist thanks to home delivery. Laura Torres is the head of the Roller Pizza pizzeria along with her partner David Serrano. In this restaurant in Fuenlabrada, on any given day, customers crowded into the living room, waiting for their order. Meanwhile, his employees worked piecemeal in the kitchen and the delivery men came and went at full speed with dozens of orders. Now, only the home service is what allows them to survive. “We have had to do an ERTE to 16 employees. We have been left alone and four workers who needed the money to live, ”says Laura. They work during lunch and dinner hours, and everything they earn, including unemployment, will be to pay their employees and cover expenses. “We are fortunate to keep that 20% of the profits from the distributions to prevent the company’s debt from becoming too large,” he says. “The government’s backtracking was necessary,” he adds. The delicate economic situation also hits other Spanish bars and restaurants, whose rooms and terraces will remain empty for a long time. The delicate economic situation also hits other Spanish bars and restaurants, whose rooms and terraces will remain empty for a long time. However, despite this help, the bar next to his store will have to close, “his expenses exceed him.” The problem arises in the long term. “Customers will gradually return. We will not be 100% recovered until the end of the year ”, he warns.

Spain is in quarantine, but Michele Lamarucciola, fears even more what will happen with the arrival of tourists when the virus spreads to England or northern countries. Michele predicts that the tourism sector will suffer “far beyond the hiatus”. He and his wife Pilar have a small seven-room hotel in the north of the country, Le Petit Boutique Hotel. “We are in the situation of being self-employed with employees, we have it even worse ”, alert. This self-employed couple has had to apply an ERTE to their three workers, although it consoles them that they can access unemployment. Nevertheless, Government aid to the self-employed “are only paracetamol”. “We are self-employed but we depend on employees. Although this measure alleviates for a month our burden, the Spanish production system is collapsed. You have to put it on its feet, ”he claims. “They must support the economy with all the money they need and with the help of the ECB”, Add. Michele and Pilar were in the process of expanding their business. “We had asked for a loan and although the country is stopped, we have to pay it back month by month,” he says. At the moment, they’ve already lost half of March’s revenue and don’t know how long the cancellations will last. Despite the government’s push, “we are going to have to throw out our savings to pay fixed expenses, which do not drop below 8,000 euros a month,” he concludes.


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