Normally this process would have been completed by now and the first beach bars open for Easter
This year Cartagena council has faced severe criticism from the hostelry sector for its failure to finalise new specifications for the concession of beach bars on the coast of the municipality, the result being that no beach bars have been able to open for the Easter period, normally a good financial start to the year for those who have invested into the concession.
The Hostecar association, which represents the hotelry sector in Cartagena says that the loss in takings from this period is around three and a half million euros, and that nearly 300 jobs have not been created for the spring period as would normally be the case, causing unnecessary loss for a sector already devastated by the pandemic.
Cartagena City Council maintains that the conditions of the four year concession have had to be modified in order to meet new criteria relating to the coronavirus safety measures now required by law and that the council has tried without success, to persuade the Demarcation of Coasts to amplify the area around the chiringuitos to permit the wider distribution of tables and chairs out onto the beaches in order to help the bars service more clients and meet social distancing restrictions.
Costas has now approved the conditions put forward to install 61 beach bars on the Cartagena coast, and for the bidding process to adjudicate the concessions to begin.
In order to try and speed-up the adjudication of the available beach bars, the bidding process will be carried out electronically through the State Procurement Platform.
Although the period for submitting offers will be reduced to 15 days, the period will not begin until after Easter, so there will still be a delay in installing the chiringuitos.
For the first time, the quality of hospitality projects will be taken into account; environmental sustainability and the reduction of the impact on the landscape impact will be evaluated, in addition to the provision of electronic means for payment or electronic methods for consulting menus, all of which contributes to minimising the environmental impact and risk of spreading coronavirus.
As it turns out, Easter isn´t offering particularly good beach weather this weekend, but it won´t be long before the weather warms up and the prospect of enjoying a cooling drink out on the sands in a chiringuito becomes sufficiently enticing to lure punters down to the beach; hopefully the bidding will be over and the chiringuitos ready and waiting!