If the tourist season in the Balearic Islands is suffering greatly from the consequences of the health crisis, nightlife, commerce and restaurants face a new obstacle: the closure of three of the main entertainment areas in Mallorca. These are known as ‘calle de la Cerveza’ and ‘el Jamón’, in Playa de Palma – frequented mainly by German tourists – and Punta Ballena, in Magaluf – a favorite destination for young British tourism. Small business owners have already started on a war footing against a measure that, they consider, further enlarges the complicated situation they are undergoing.
Marked in recent years by excesses – which led the Balearic Government to approve a Law aimed at putting a stop to binge tourism – these three enclaves have once again become the epicenter of a new controversy. “We are sending a message of absolute lack of control to our issuing markets,” he laments, speaking to elDiario.es, the president of the Association of Small Hotels in Mallorca – dependent on the employers of the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises of Mallorca (Pimem) -, Juan Manuel Ordinas.
The measure has raised alarm bells among businessmen most critical of it. In fact, they warn that decisions like this generate mistrust abroad and some, such as the president of Pimem, Jordi Mora, assert that the solution “does not go through closing streets as there are non-compliances.” On the contrary, they consider that now is the time to attract tourism and manage it in the best possible conditions with the aim that the markets perceive the Balearic Islands as a safe destination.
Not only that. After the ‘lock’, adopted this week by the Balearic Executive as a consequence of the last agglomerations of tourists registered in Punta Ballena and Playa de Palma – whose images ran like wildfire on social networks -, according to Ordinas, a long debate sustained over time in the archipelago: that of the change in the tourist model and its transition to a more sustainable and less aggressive system that favors the coexistence between tourists and residents, far from the image of the balconing and the ethyl excursions. A discussion that, nevertheless, considers that it should be resumed at another time since “the debate that currently concerns us is the sanitary one”.
The Balearic Islands Tourism Minister, Iago Negueruela, was blunt when he announced the measure: “We do not want uninvited tourists on our islands, it is not our image”, warning, in fact, that if they detect establishments that promote this type of clientele in Other areas of Mallorca “will also be closed and prohibited. We will not shake our hands.”
For his part, the head of the small hoteliers criticizes that, if the intention of the measure is to avoid contagions, it is on public roads where police officials must ensure that the impact of the coronavirus is mitigated without the need for the locals to be forced to take the closure. Establishments, some of which had just opened their doors, while others, already practically conditioned, planned to do so throughout this second half of July after months of paralysis as a result of the impact of COVID-19.
“There are many jobs that have been harmed, many families that depend on them,” stresses Ordinas: “you close a place where there is a waiter who has dispatched drinks there, a delivery man, a commercial, a warehouse … The chain It is tremendous. We are not just talking about a man who is behind a bar and a man who has gotten drunk and has started shouting in the street. We are already living a very difficult season to add this lace, “he says. , visibly affected.
In this same line they are pronounced from the small and medium company. Despite sharing the need to tackle “dangerous” behaviors that could threaten the health of residents and tourists and thereby undermine the Balearic economy, from Pimem they emphasize the need to reinforce the image of the islands, offer “clear messages “that the archipelago is a safe destination and apply” forcefully “current health regulations without the need to” harm “the development of the activity of leisure establishments.
“The Balearic Islands have very good contagion rates, with 4.75 per 100,000 inhabitants, which places it at the head of Europe. And that is something that must be valued because it is the result of everyone’s work,” emphasizes Mora. .
In the midst of such a situation, protests have risen in recent days in one of the sectors hardest hit in recent months by the management of the pandemic, that of nightlife. The ‘lock’ has been the straw that has filled the glass in an area whose premises have seen their activity restricted, with limitations in the form of a maximum capacity of 300 people and a closing time before 2.00 am. Many of the establishments have chosen not to open their doors this season. “They have taken away our business space”, reproaches the president of the Balearic Association of Night Leisure and Entertainment (Abone), Jesús Sánchez.
Regarding the closure of Punta Ballena and the streets ‘del Jamón’ and ‘la Cerveza’, Sánchez is blunt: he considers that this is a measure “without legal reserve” that must be brought to court. “We are talking about the prohibition of developing an activity that has a valid license. You cannot close shops, restaurants and cafes simply because there is an interest in carrying out a change in the tourism model under the cover of a sanitary problem that has nothing to see “, sentence.
The conditions in which the nightlife venues are submerged this season have, in fact, led hundreds of those affected to stand up to the regional government: this week they have concentrated before the headquarters of the Balearic presidency in protest at the restrictive measures that they have to face and that they regret will mean the final closure of numerous businesses as well as the loss of numerous jobs.