Members of Spain’s hospitality sector protested Wednesday to draw attention to the precarious position it finds itself in during the second wave of the pandemic as the country reported another surge in COVID-19 infections.
Thousands who work at bars, restaurants, hotels and nightclubs protested on Madrid streets while others across the country took a coordinated 15-minute pause to highlight the struggle that directly affects 1.7 million Spanish workers.
Most bars and restaurants in Spain remain open, although nightclubs were closed last month. Yet, many are now having to deal with increasingly strict local restrictions and growing fear among customers as contagion snowballs in Spain.
Another 8,866 new infections were reported along with 34 more deaths since Tuesday. In the last 24-hours, more than 1,100 people were hospitalized because of the virus.
The Hospitality of Spain trade association demanded more government-backed measures to help establishments track outbreaks, a prolonged furlough scheme, more financial support for suffering businesses and measures to stimulate demand.
They say if their demands are not met, 85,000 establishments risk closing and as many as 1 million jobs could disappear. Hospitality, closely linked to tourism, makes up 6.5% of the country’s GDP.
Although Spain is avoiding another nationwide lockdown for now, the threat of hospital overloads triggering lockdowns looms heavy, particularly in Madrid.
Around 17% of all hospital beds in Madrid are now occupied by COVID-19 patients — more than double the national average.
Meanwhile, schools have been reopening this week and several classes and schools have had to temporarily close because of new cases.
The Mallorca region Wednesday also announced that four neighborhoods in its capital city will go into semi-lockdown beginning Friday.
No one will be allowed to leave or enter neighborhoods for non-essential business and tighter restrictions will be placed on bars and restaurants.
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