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The Port Authority of the Balearic Islands (APB) has already begun talking to companies in the hospitality industry to terminate the licences authorising the occupancy of public port land with tables and chairs for their outdoor cafés and restaurants, by mutual agreement, so that fees no longer accrue. These occupancy licences were in force at the time the state of alarm was declared and the cafés and restaurants had to stop trading.
Businesses wishing to open and use these outdoor areas, once the Transition Plan to a New Normality (PTNN) authorises them to do so, will be granted new licences, with preferential terms and conditions, as the required charge will be reduced to the legal minimum. In addition, in establishments where there is enough room to do so, extending these outdoor seating areas will be looked into. This will make it easier to adapt these areas to the new constraints imposed by health and social distancing requirements.
The withdrawal of the licences as of the day the state of alarm came into effect is the only way to stop companies from continuing to accrue fees, even though they have not been able to open for business. Spanish Royal Decree-Law 15/2020, of 21st April, on additional urgent measures to support the economy and employment, does not provide for fee exemptions. Therefore, at its last meeting, the APB Board of Directors agreed to withdraw the current occupancy licences, if authorised companies request this.
These measures will have a significant impact on reducing the fees that companies will have to pay in the public ports of Palma, Alcudia, Mahon, Ibiza and La Savina in 2020. They are also the result of continuous talks between the APB, the business community, the State-owned Ports Body and local, island and regional governments in an attempt to mitigate the negative consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic as far as possible.
Other aid available to companies
In addition to this measure, the APB has temporarily suspended the issuing of invoices for occupancy and activity charges for all its concessionaires and authorised companies. Although these charges are normally paid in advance at the beginning of the year, to date no fees have been invoiced for 2020. This means that no concessionaire or authorised company has yet paid any amounts in this respect.
In addition, the APB is already approving interest-free payment plans, without the need for collateral, for concessionaires who are having difficulty making payments that were already due before the state of alarm was declared.
In addition to all these measures the APB is already implementing, such as the reduction of the activity charge, the temporary suspension of the payment of port charges, the approval of payment plans, the advance withdrawal of licences to use public port land for outdoor cafés and restaurants, other cuts in fees have been approved by the State-owned Ports Body to support the economy and bolster employment, which will mean savings of over €100 million for companies operating in Spanish state-owned ports.