Coffee and Fines

ALM El Cafe de InésThe Almuñécar Policía Local handed out 42 fines between the 4th and 16th of this month, or better said they sent in 42 fining-reports to the Junta to approve.

Of the number 21 were for individuals failing to wear a mask and 19 were businesses that hadn’t obeyed the closing hours or – and this is the important part – were trading at the door instead of using a home-delivery service.

This morning I had a chance to talk to one cafeteria owner that had been informed that they were being fined for letting people come and pick up a coffee to consume elsewhere.

I also had the opportunity to speak with the Councillor for Citizen Safety, Francisco Robles, under whom the Policía Local operate, to ask him about this and other things.

There is no doubt that the constant chopping and changing coming out of the Junta has left a lot of businesses in doubt about what they can and cannot do. Top that with the observation that some of the limitations imposed are illogical.

Take the case of Cafetería, El Café de Inés in the Plaza de los Magnolios. The proprietor, Inés, had been visited by the Policía Local and told that a report was going to be sent to the Junta, which would set Ines back 600 euros.

Why? Because people would turn up to ask for a take-way coffee. The cafetería is closed to the public so the coffee was passed out through a half opened door. Instead of taking the coffee in its polystyrene cup back home, however, some of them stuck around outside to drink it.

As Inés pointed out, the tobacconist across the square has a constant queue formed outside because only one person can enter at a time… and that is permitted, but if somebody stands outside her premises drinking their coffee, she gets fined. Where is the logic, she asked – many will ask the same question.

The fact is that the modified regulations – they were corrected on the 9th –  say that restaurants and bars can sell their food, etc until 22.30h by using home deliveries. What such establishments cannot do is sell take-ways at the door.

How many coffees do you have to sell to pay for somebody to take them across town and deliver them, before they get cold. It is completely and utterly impractical. It might work where food is concerned but for cafeterías selling coffee it is unviable.

Cafeteria owners are struggling to pay the rent, their social security, their suppliers, the electricity… and local taxes – and in the case of Café de Inés, they will also have to find 600 euros.

Councillor Robles agreed that the situation was chaotic, thanks to both the Central and Regional Governments inconsistencies and contradictions, but he pointed out that they can only make the reports and the Junta will decide who they are going to fine.

Finally, this morning on the P-4 junction on N-340, the Policía Local were stopping traffic and asking for papers. They even had a police dog with them.

(News: Almuñécar. Costa Tropical, Granada Andalucia)

  2 comments for “Coffee and Fines

  1. Tomm sanford
    November 20, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    the rule# and regulations for cafes change so often on a daily basis or depending which officer’s understanding of the law is. People traveling to work or simply picking up a coffee and sandwich or cake seems safer than people sitting inside. Officials have stated its better to eat and drink with people outside. The spread is coming from the mentality that the virus is not serious or simply not real. The markets sell food and drinks with no gloves, possibly hand sanitizer and everyone wearing masks. There are people who take their goods and sit on benches with no mask to consume food or drink or smoke so why is this different than simply picking up a coffee, well it’s not. Whether your one infected person in a line for whatever you have the possibility of infecting others so if the government isn’t going to give monies to these small business owners to help get them this than they should place officers outside cafes to enforce social distancing but allow for selling of their wares.

  2. Charlotte
    November 18, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    As much as I deeply miss my daily coffees, I can think of various situations, like a group of four going there, one buying the four coffees and then distributing them to others, maybe with a little covid on the side…
    The same doesn’t happen at the tobacco shop… you don’t buy a carton of cigarettes and then distribute the packets to the others in the line…
    It has been said very straight from both the mayor and Moreno: Don’t go out unless it’s absolutely necessary, and as much as I love it, coffee isn’t that necessary.
    Does it seem stupid, unfair and a lot of other things, yes! Is it infuriating and frustrating the Junta changes their law 3 or 4 times within one day, after it comes out? Absolutely.
    (But it does say very clearly, that they can only be open, if they deliver food!)

    But we should be trying to limit the spread of a virus.
    To avoid drinking coffee and eating Ines’ lovely cakes for two weeks, does seem like a small price to pay to avoid ending up in a respirator in our overcrowded hospital!
    We’re still around 400/100.000 inhabitants in Almuñécar. That number still need to go down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *