San Antonio Town Council have confirmed that two bars on carrer Santa Agnès, which is the main West End drag, have lost the use of their terraces with immediate effect.
We reported last week on the Town Council’s prohibition of music at four West End bars that were found to have been manipulating their sound measurement equipment. The bars had their music equipment sealed and face heavy fines.
The Town Hall says that the latest sanctions to another two West End businesses are a result of the same operation, however these two bars were also found to be breaching regulations regarding the use of the public space outside their bars.
They both had their music equipment sealed with immediate effect, and were told they had 24 hours to remove their terrace furniture, or the town hall would send in officers to clear it for them.
Both bars complied with the order, removing their furniture on Tuesday 17th of September, and in their report issued to the press on Thursday 19th, the Town Council noted that the two businesses had remained completely closed since.
No names of the businesses are stated, nor is there any information on the specific breach of terrace regulations that the businesses are charged with.
The Council go on to state that it is the first time they have used their powers to demand the closure of a terrace in this way.
For the interest of those who are unfamiliar with Ibiza’s ways and regulations ….
Many bars and restaurants across Ibiza have chairs and tables outside their businesses on what is technically public land.
The business will pay an annual terrace licence fee to use that public space.
Historically it was all a bit informal; how far a business spread outside was as much to do with common sense and not annoying the neighbours as it was rules and regulations.
As with many aspects of running a business in Ibiza, recent years have seen an ever increasing level of control. The different municipalities are all clamping down on their own prioritised regulations. Not all have the control of terraces as high on their list as San Antonio, and within this the businesses of the West End are subject to an even greater level of scrutiny and penalty.
I can recall standing on the paseo in Figueretes in 2009 with two owners of restaurants who were totally bemused as they watched workers from Ibiza Town Hall tape out their terrace boundaries. These two seasoned Ibicenco businessmen were laughing, they could not understand what on earth was going on, or why it was needed.
In the 10 years since, such detail in the direction of what is and is not allowed has become the norm.
Though the Council report does not state in what way these two terraces breached regulations, the most common reason island wide would be illegally using public space beyond the marked boundary. However the reality is that many of these boundaries are exceeded and most go unpunished. Businesses in the West End are not afforded the same discretion.
The West End also has a further stipulation that does not apply to the rest of Ibiza. As part of San Antonio’s zone of special acoustic protection, they are expected to take down their terraces by midnight. It may be this regulation they have breached.
It is most likely one of these two reasons, but whether these or something completely different, the reality for many hospitality businesses in Ibiza is that the terrace IS the business. The removal of the terrace is a punishment that far outweighs the proportion of floor space it occupies.
Were these two bars blatantly abusing the rules and deserved what they got?
Or were they the latest victims in a political campaign against the West End?
Only the opinions of their neighbouring businesses would give the real picture. However, quite understandably, they will prefer to keep a low profile.