Mallorca expat businesses under threat from new law

Published:  19 Feb at 6 PM
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Tagged: Citizenship, Jobs, Euro
Dozens of expat businesses located in Santa Catalina’s Palma district are threatened with closure due to a proposed new law.

The draconian measure would close down a good proportion of the terraces on which the businesses are located and is being mooted to create more pedestrianised spaces. Around 37 per cent of the terraces in the Pere Garau area and some 40 per cent of those in Es Jonquet will be affected if the proposed law is passed. Some 500 of the capital’s 1650 restaurant terraces are estimated to be affected by the enforced closures, with a large number of the eateries owned and run by British and European expats.

Changes expected to be made should the proposal become law would mean a 2.5 metre area of the pavements outside the restaurants would have to be free of all obstructions, leaving little or no room for tables and seats. The majority of the restaurants would find it hard to survive should tourists and local customers be forced to sit inside. The proposed change came as a reaction to a few complaints about rubbish and noise from the terraces during the tourist season. In addition, the Barri Civil group is claiming there are far too many terraces impinging on spaces popular with local people. The group states there is little or no access for old people, mothers with prams and those in wheelchairs, adding the entire area is beginning to resemble Magaluf.

In support of the restaurateurs are the local citizens’ defence organisation, the Palma neighbourhood association and the local restaurant association, all of which have united with the expat business owners to force a temporary stay on the new law. Last week saw a meeting of those involved at the local town hall, but the Santa Catalina groups were unable to make an agreement with the city. Another meeting will be scheduled early next month.

Restaurateurs with premises on the terraces believe the setting is unique and now supports many businesses which employ local labour as well as attracting visitors who benefit the entire area. One concerned expat business owner told local media the rise of the terrace restaurants had brought a huge number of jobs to an area where there’d been none. Another stated the local authority had allowed the terraces to become a vibrant, extremely popular ‘village within the city’, adding the proposed changes might make a few elderly locals happy, but would ruin the many expat-run businesses in the area.
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