Thursday, May 23, 2024

Business owners against change in Lisbon night time hours

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Following a proposal from the Lisbon City Council (CML) at the beginning of February, new measures are under public consultation until April 1 to “guarantee a balance between the right to rest and night-time economic activity”, including the prohibition sale of alcoholic beverages outside from 01:00 in Bairro Alto, Bica, Cais do Sodré and Santos.

The creation of a time restriction zone for 11pm on Rua de São Paulo, applied only to establishments that do not comply with the urban requirements required for their economic activity, is another proposal.

Another of the proposals is the amendment to the Regulation on Opening Hours of Establishments for Sale to the Public and Provision of Services in the Municipality of Lisbon so that establishments treated as convenience stores and that sell alcoholic beverages close at 10:00 pm and that the opening hours of the terraces will be different from those of the establishments, with a limit of midnight.

Speaking to Lusa agency, the president of the Portuguese Association of Restaurants, Bars and Nightlife, Ricardo Tavares, said that if the council’s proposals go ahead there will be a lot of people who will become unemployed in the city.

“We want to believe that this will not progress along these lines because if it does, we will have an increase in unemployment in the city, and there will be many mass bankruptcies. I don’t foresee anything good if the measures move forward, but we want to believe that common sense and justice will reign,” he said.

Ricardo Tavares recalled that the sector had already been greatly harmed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There are a lot of people renting houses for parties and then there is no supervision, there are no taxes, there are no rules, there is nothing, nobody monitors them,” he said.

The businessman said that the association, with around 400 members nationwide, 200 of which are in Lisbon, sent an “informal opinion” on the proposals to the Lisbon City Council.

“We don’t agree at all with what’s happening. (…) Anyone who has always lived in these neighbourhoods has always had to deal with the noise, which was much higher a few years ago. From what we understand, it is a problem largely created by the parish council and the real estate sector. There are real estate interests there to destroy what exists there through the construction of hotels and luxury housing,” he said.

Ricardo Tavares explained that what the association intends to make is a positive contribution to reaching a consensus.

“What we informally proposed is that there be a reduction in outdoor hours during the week and an increase in indoor hours, that the opening of nightclubs be analysed at 02:00 and not at 22:00. There are nightclubs that are operating as bars open until 2am,” he highlighted.

The businessman said that another of the proposals will undergo more inspection by the Public Security Police from 2 am.

“Ninety-nine percent of problems occur outside establishments when people are leaving at the end of the night. We want them to effectively and once and for all start fining people who go there with portable speakers and for convenience stores to stop selling glass alcohol bottles, which are a danger to all of us”, he highlighted.

In Ricardo Tavares’ understanding, from the moment convenience stores stop selling alcohol and loudspeakers cease to exist “there will certainly be no complaints on Lisbon’s nightlife”.

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