Cuenca High Life logo

Cuenca News

A third of Cuenca’s restaurants and more than half the bars and night clubs will not reopen

The association representing local restaurant and bar owners say many of its members have either closed their businesses permanently or are planning to. “The coronavirus has been a killer to our establishments and the government is making things worse with its curfew decisions,” says Luis Sanmartín, Cuenca Association of Bars & Restaurants board member.

Cafe del Museo on the Barranco is one of the restaurants protesting the proposed curfew hours.

Sanmartín is particularly concerned by Friday’s decision by the Cuenca Emergency Operations Committee to request that the national COE allow Cuenca to begin its nightly curfew at 7 p.m. and ban the sale of liquor after dark. Nationwide, the curfew for cities under yellow light restrictions, including Cuenca, is 11 p.m. with no restriction on the sale of alcohol.

“We have many members who are just reopening, who are beginning to hire back their employees, and these rules will shut them down again and force them to fire the staff,” Sanmartín says. “Many of these businesses are on the brink of bankruptcy already and extending the curfew will put many of them on the list of permanent closures.”

He says that beginning the curfew at 7 p.m. will eliminate nighttime meal service which was allowing some restaurants to reopen and rehire employees.

Restaurants were allowed to reopen table service at the beginning of June but bars and night clubs remain closed. Restaurants are restricted to 30 percent seating capacity under yellow light rules.

The Cuenca COE claims that the new curfew hours and alcohol ban are needed to control nighttime gatherings it says are spreading Covid-19. On Monday, the restaurant and bar association announced it is petitioning the national COE to reject the Cuenca request for additional restrictions.

César Pacheco, owner of a historic district restaurant, criticized the local COE for ignoring the economic crisis facing the city. “They say they are concerned about unemployment and people going hungry but they are focusing entirely on hospital rooms and ignoring the businesses and the workers,” he says.

Pacheco says the city’s estimate that 11,000 workers are out of work due to the coronavirus is “absurd.” “In the hospitality industry alone — restaurants, bars, hotels and hostels — there are 12,000 or 13,000 who have lost their jobs. If you want an accurate unemployment number for the city, multiply that by five or six.”

Sanmartín says the local COE should develop a plan that allows the city to live with Covid-19. “We have to adjust to the new reality and understand that the virus will be with us, probably for years. We need to recognize that it is much less dangerous than we originally thought. Businesses must be allowed to reopen and people must be allowed to work or the damage will be much worse than the virus.”

Sanmartín said that one third of the restaurants in the association say they are closed for good while more than half of the bar and lounge owners have closed operations.



40 thoughts on “A third of Cuenca’s restaurants and more than half the bars and night clubs will not reopen

    1. I agree, just keep that Ed idiot out of here, overall very happy with CHL. As for the curfew, agree with Sara, awful idea. Enforce the rules, they keep making so many new ones that everyone is confused. Please do not kill our restaurants any further

        1. There is a certain amount of name calling that is justified. Would you not call out a racist pig when you see one?

          “The failure to condemn an activity is indeed, an offer of tacit approval. All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

      1. less Ray Horsey and John Kibble would be good too … do we really need 2 vegans preaching ?

        1. This is the ‘Age of the Individual’ but the thing that individuals have to learn is how to respect ‘the other’…Which is what they themselves wanted all along.

    2. I think Wally’s talking about the Gringo Post / Facebook lynch mob — all 10 of them — that went after this website a few weeks ago. So yeah, stay away from the brown shirts no matter what color they’re wearing. I agree, chl is doing a good job, especially reporting stuff about the virus. And I like it that they tell both sides of the story.

      1. Yes CHL needs to keep printing input from all people keeping freedom of the press. They should never let anyone bullie or threaten them with what they print. People reading an article that offends them need to move on.

  1. I agree with the restaurant people that it’s a terrible idea to extend the curfew. What is needed is better enforcement of all the restrictions that are already on the books, especially the gatherings at night where people are drinking. It’s happening near apartment in Puertas del Sol and I never see the police. The restaurants I’ve been to, seem to be doing a good job with social distancing, etc.

    1. You haven’t seen the police? Have you actually taken the time and bother to call them?

      1. I find it useless to call the police. Just deal with it yourself. If people are hell bent to infect their circle of friends and others, just stay away from them and complain loudly here on good ole CHL.

  2. Finally, a lone voice of truth crying out in a sea of inept decision makers!

    “Sanmartín says the local COE should develop a plan that allows the city to live with Covid-19. “We have to adjust to the new reality and understand that the virus will be with us, probably for years. We need to recognize that it is much less dangerous than we originally thought. Businesses must be allowed to reopen and people must be allowed to work or the damage will be much worse than the virus.”

    1. I agree with you that we need to live with this and businesses need to reopen but this isn’t a virus to be taken lightly, it has a death rate of somewhere around 4.6% at the moment, before you start panicking, that rate has a lot of variables, the biggest is the number of asymptomatic cases, there isn’t enough data to get a solid number on this. If you take the high estimate of 80% the death rate drops to 2.8% but if you take the low rate of 50% it rises to 6.5%… either way it’s higher than the flu and definitely something to avoid. It’s been proven in Europe that opening safely can be done, if procedures are followed. The alternative of changing the curfew will crush the new economy… let’s not downplay the severity, but let’s not live in a cocoon either. Following the guidelines and practicing all the protocols will save this cities businesses. A big increase in cases will bring tighter restrictions, it’s obvious they won’t be sacrificing lives for business here.

    1. I helped the city food bank once or twice but if the city are the cause of the hunger I don’t feel like giving them ducats to throw out the window of their carriage. Maybe I will help people directly, maybe through the archdiocese

    2. Ray, every time you write “here, here” (and there have been several) you show your ignorance. Properly, it is “hear, hear” as unto “now hear this”.

    3. 😀 Ray is closest. He has the spelling wrong but the sense right. “Hear, hear” is an expression popularized in the 1600s in the British Parliament from which it spread into every anglophone lexicon. The closest modern American equivalent would be “Right on!” though it loses a lot of elegance in that. It is still used frequently in all parliaments. In the US you can run across it in film and theater about the early days of that country.

      1. Joe Biden always says “Listen here” or is he saying “listen hear,” you know, just before he forgets where he is or what he is talking about.

        1. Or, “c’mon man.”

          Remember the speech, “China’s a threat? C’mon man. China’s not a threat.”

  3. Such difficult decisions these are. Such is a pandemic: public health versus economics. Why do you think US healthcare has been in such an expensive mess for years? We do applaud the biosecurity measures of the restaurants, especially the tourism initiatives, and feel that they are trying to live with COVID-19 and make it safe to reopen. A 7 PM curfew makes no sense, and it should have been 9:00 from the start.

  4. I would like to see a campaign to improve immunity by, for example, making and distributing good quality and affordable dietary supplements like vitamins C and D and zinc. What can it hurt to try that? More research into formulations and dosages, too.

  5. It bears repeating that the most vulnerable people are retired and have the option of isolating to whatever degree they are comfortable with.

    The prohibition on the sale of alcohol after dark is another dumb idea. The scofflaws who are partying now will continue to party, while some people will not eat out if they can’t have a glass of wine or a beer with their meal.

    1. Gee, I have done without a glass of wine or beer for 79 years. I wonder how I ever did it? I can see the intense hardship that would be inflicted on people unable to get their booze for a period of time, but I’m sure you and I will pray for them.

    2. Yes. My wife and I are 63 and 69. We go out whenever we like. But I know of someone else who hasn’t left her domicile since February.

  6. Personally I like the curfew at 11 (I’d rather not have one at all) and I don’t think there are many that would like to go back to 9 or 7, but if you look at what’s happened in the states and how the bars have played a huge role in the boom in cases, something needs to be improved in the implementation of the protocol. A little alcohol and all common sense goes right out the window. If the options are closed bars or 7 pm curfew, close them all… It would be best if patrons could show common sense and help protect their favourite establishment by participating in the proper social distancing and doing their best to follow guidelines. It would be wise for bar owners to enforce all the rules, and remind patrons of what those rules are, perhaps even make examples out of extreme rule breakers. If something like that is established then maybe the two out of three bars that are left won’t have to shutter their establishments too.

  7. It appears that decisions made by the COE and the mayors office are being made do to the fear factor associated with the virus. Cuenca is slowly but surely losing economically with decisions that are being made and may never recover, although I hope not. Open the city inforce only what is truly necessary and allow the city to begin to recover. Those who are fearful then take the appropriate precautions but let the rest live and work and survive.We can not recover if we hide when ever we are afraid. Use common sense not fear to make decisions.T he decisions now being made may prove worse than the virus.

Comments are closed.