Monday, May 29

Madrid approves its law to order the terraces that arose from the Covid: there will be more flexibility and higher fines

Nine years after Ana Botella expanded the possibilities of bars and restaurants to occupy the streets with their tables and chairs, the Madrid City Council approves the regulations that will regulate the use of public space in the hotel industry. In 2013 it went ahead as a municipal response to the Anti-Tobacco Law and in 2022 it arrives to order all the nightstands that emerged with the pandemic in multiple formats, to help the sector survive.

The person responsible for having shaped the Ordinance of Kiosks and Hospitality Restoration, Councilor Silvia Saavedra, explained in the municipal plenary session of its approval the virtues compared to the Bottle standard, which she considers “outdated and outdated.” The main one is that it regulates new ways of arranging tables and chairs on the street that have been experienced during the health crisis: it maintains the majority of terraces located in car parks for two more years (except in neighborhoods with noise protection) and establishes the rules for that are placed in corners, on narrow sidewalks with high tables or next to municipal markets, among other new places.

In exchange for allowing more flexibility when it comes to allowing hospitality deployment on the streets, the sanctioning regime is stricter, as will their schedules. The sanctions will have a greater economic amount and may even cancel the permit for at least one year if two serious sanctions are accumulated. There will also be a person in charge of the terrace in each place, who will act as a mediator with the administration and the neighbors.

To control the abundance of terraces in certain areas of Madrid where there are conflicts with neighborhood rest, Saavedra stressed that they will work on a map of saturation of nightstands already published and that brings together up to 256 potentially problematic points, on which limits can be set such as shorten operating hours, remove elements of its furniture or even that the districts decree a moratorium.

The Terraces Ordinance goes ahead thanks to the agreement between the Madrid City Council and the Mixed Group, with which they have validated the main points of the regulations -Saavedra has come to affirm that it has been “a real honor to work together with Mr. Calvo”- and added some of his proposals such as the abolition of gas stoves. The rest of the opposition parties have harshly criticized the measure, in addition to announcing their intention to change the regulations when they have the opportunity.

The debate on the ordinance has been intense and angry at times. It began with the expulsion of a group of neighbors who, from the guest gallery, displayed banners and replicated the explanations of the government team. The president of the plenary, Borja Fanjul, expelled them without prior notice.

The deputy mayor, Begoña Villacís, was proud that the regulations came out after months of debate and negotiations. “I’m not going to apologize for saving 6,000 jobs,” she said, referring to her support of the hospitality sector. The spokeswoman for the PSOE, Mar Espinar, however, made him ugly that in the memory of the ordinance only “between 65 and 85” were collected. “This ordinance should never have been approved, it is a rule full of traps, regulatory holes, it returns to give away the public space of Madrid in exchange for nothing,” added the socialist.

Once approved, the ordinance that regulates terraces in Madrid will come into force on February 1, after its publication in the Official Gazette of the City Council. That day, 23 parking terraces in the Gaztambide area will disappear, but what will happen in the rest of the city is still unknown. From that moment on, it will be the districts that have to decide on the future of most of the saturated areas on the map.