The ability of bars, from Sunday, to operate under the same rules as restaurants in the scope of the Covid-19 pandemic, will have little impact on business, as Friday considered the president of the Southern and Algarve Discos Association.
Liberto Melha told Lusa News Agency that the possibility of extending working hours until 2:00 am is “positive”, but stressed that the remaining rules now announced to allow their opening, such as capacity limits and space occupancy, do not change what has already been practiced so far.
The president of the Southern Discotheque and the Algarve Association (ADSA) noted that many pubs have already taken advantage of the possibility of catering so they can operate and the only thing that changes now – with new rules on dismantling announced on Thursday by the government – is that this need no longer exists.
The businessman, who owns several nightlife venues, said, “Bars started serving as snacks, and they only had to eat. Now, the situation is the same, the only thing is that we no longer have to serve.” It is located mostly in Albufeira.
The same source confirmed that the rules would remain the same regarding the need for bar customers to remain seated and to adhere to the limits on the number of people at each table.
“Furthermore, there are still restrictions on tables, with seating, all the same. Now, we no longer have an obligation, especially from 9pm onwards, when an alcoholic drink is served, it has to be accompanied by food.”
Asked about the potential impact of the measures on sector companies, Liberto Mealha replied: “Nothing.”
Bars can open from Sunday, but according to the rules applicable to restaurants in the scope of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government, which decided to exclude discos, which were allowed to open only in October, explained.
On Thursday, after the government’s announcement, the ADSA chief considered the October opening to be “late” for the Algarve’s nightlife spaces, which had seen “another lost summer”.
Liberto Mealha welcomed, however, that bars and clubs in other areas of the country could resume activity on that occasion, albeit at a later date.
“Better late than never, but the fact is that, in fact, when the clubs are declared open in October, for us, the Algarve, it has no effect, it is another lost summer, because, being seasonal, in October of the season is practically over. The decision is very harmful.”
At the time, the same source considered that allowing the opening until 2:00 a.m. “was a wise decision,” because there were already “many tourists saying it was not worth coming to Portugal or the Algarve with schedules until 10:30 p.m.” They include visitors from the UK who “chose Spain” because of the schedule.
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