BRITS flocking back to Spanish resorts have been stunned by a “Covid tax” charged by bar owners.
UK holidaymakers were furious at having to find extra cash to help pay for the personal protective equipment being worn by staff.
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A Spanish consumer rights group has declared the charge illegal but the first Brits arriving after lockdown are still being stung.
Bars across Spain are charging a “servicio Covid”, sometimes €1 per table and sometimes €1 per drink.
Customers have complained on Twitter but owners justify the cost by the amount of extra money they are having to spend on gloves, masks and cleaning products.
Nightspots have raised drinks prices and entrance charges.
Meanwhile, the first Brits to arrive in Majorca today since the restrictions were lifted also found nightclubs shut and bars closing early.
In Mijas, near Malaga, Bar 97 has put its prices up from €3.50 to €4 a pint since reopening.
And at Ke-Bar, a trendy spot in upmarket Sotogrande, near Gibraltar, bosses have also upped prices.
A barmaid admitted “drinks are up” but said food prices have not changed.
Brit Jack Burgess, 21, said: “I was a little shocked to have to pay €5 a pint.”
It was also being reported in Spain that the first happy hours of the season had already led to brawls among UK revellers.
The hundreds arriving in Majorca today were greeted by beautiful blue skies and 34C (93.2F) temperatures — but many of the party island’s attractions have vanished thanks to the global pandemic.
All of the nightclubs in Magaluf remain shut.
Many bars have been ordered to close at 10pm, last orders in other nightspots is now 2am instead of the traditional 4am and the island’s popular booze-soaked party boats have been scrapped.
Yet the Brits who arrived today on four flights operated by Wizz Air and easyJet from Luton, Gatwick and Manchester were just overjoyed to be on holiday.
Paul Griffiths, 59, and his wife Heather, 64, of Stretford, Greater Manchester, landed for a two-week break in Santa Ponsa.
Paul, who has been holidaying in Majorca for half a century, said: “It’s brilliant to be here because it’s cold and rainy back in Manchester.
“Our plane from Manchester wasn’t full but there were about 140 passengers on it.
“The first thing I’m looking forward to is drinking a pint of lager in the sun.
“We’ve been shielding at home because we’ve both got underlying health conditions.
"We haven’t been out anywhere, just staying in watching repeats on the telly, it’s been absolutely terrible.
“A lot of our friends said they wouldn’t be going on holiday until next year — but we were determined to come out once the flights started again.”
Heather, who celebrates her 65th birthday tomorrow, added: “I was so looking forward to our holiday.
"I can’t wait to sit outside and eat breakfast and to be able to go to the beach and enjoy the sun.”
The flights were the first from the UK since Spain lifted its ban on foreign visitors earlier this month.
Francesca Armour, 24, and Joe Leonard, 27, of Buckinghamshire, travelled with Wizz Air from Luton for a ten-day holiday in Pollensa.
Francesca said: “We’re looking forward to being on the beach, in bars and restaurants, in that order.
“We only booked our flights a week ago and wanted to get away as soon as we could. We had no hesitation in travelling.”
Students Luca Carballeiro, 19, and Ben Horton, 18, both from Weybridge, Surrey, arrived for a four-week break and plan to get bar work to help pay their way.
They were heading to party town Magaluf and were determined to still have a wild time despite all of the night-time restrictions.
We wanted to get away as soon as we could, we had no hesitation in travelling.
Ben said: “Magaluf might not be as wild as before because of the restrictions but we’re determined to still have a good time.”
Luca added: “We booked in February and were a little bit worried about flying, but it didn’t stop us.”
Georgia Field and friend Domi Nicholson, of Guildford, Surrey, flew in on easyJet.
Domi, who has a holiday home in Molinar, said: “It’s so nice to leave Britain. It feels quite liberating to be able to get out.”
RELIANT ON TOURISM
More than 2.3 million British tourists visit Majorca each year, making it one of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations.
Numbers are expected to be significantly down this summer but owners of hotels, bars and restaurants are hopeful that plenty will still make the trip.
Reinhold Klinglmar, owner of Café Mozart in Santa Ponsa, was delighted Brits had landed.
He said: “Most of the restaurants rely on tourism so when British people aren’t here they cannot open.
“Some restaurants opened but there were no people, so they only open at the weekends.”
Holidaymakers are expected to wear masks inside hotels and hand sanitiser dispensers have been placed at receptions and in lifts, bars and restaurants.
Tourists also have their temperatures taken when they arrive at their hotels and they must wear masks on entering shops.
Restaurants provide QR codes on tables to be scanned by phones for the menu so customers avoid handling physical ones. And tourism chiefs have ordered people to socially distance on the beach.
The Balearic government has brought in a blanket ban on all party boats in Majorca and Ibiza.
But nightspot owners in Majorca have accused regional politicians of using the virus as an excuse to change tourism — getting rid of its boozy image to attract more families.
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