Bars and restaurants in Spain could be forced to close earlier: Plans suggested by the deputy PM spark outrage

A POTENTIAL plan to force bars and restaurants to close earlier across Spain have sparked a fierce backlash.

It comes after the deputy PM and jobs minister Yolanda Diaz this week said it is ‘crazy’ that such businesses remain open until 1am.

Diaz is pushing for a 35-hour week for all workers and believes that Spain should reflect other European nations, where restaurants and bars typically close by 11pm or midnight.

During a meeting in Congress on Monday, the leader of the Sumar party said a 35-hour week could give a ‘backbone’ to the Spanish economy, and said it is unacceptable that businesses have meetings at 8pm, or that hospitality businesses remain open until 1am.

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The comments have sparked fear in the tourism industry, which brings in tens of billions of euros each year – thanks in part to visitors who enjoy eating and drinking in tapas bars late into the night.

The Nighttime Leisure and Entertainment Association of Spain (España de Noche) immediately rejected the idea of closing such establishments earlier.

In a statement, the body said: “Taking into account that nightlife is one of our main tourist attractions, the proposal would be a shot in the foot that would only benefit our competitors in the tourism market by questioning one of our most unique and particular values of the Spanish lifestyle.

“Spain has the best hospitality, leisure and nightlife in the world… The offer and activity is one of the pillars of Spain being the first country in the world in vacation tourism, so any experiment that endangers our lifestyle, our tourist attraction and the activity of companies in the sector, will simply be rejected by the industry.”

Diaz said she is consulting with 60 experts on the issue of work time management before making any policy announcements.

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