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Walking around Madrid today is like walking through a new city. The streets, especially in the center, are deserted; terraces and shops, half empty; traffic and public transportation no longer reflects data from other joules; and leisure walks slowly in this normality that the Covid-19 has left us . The champagne effect of June has disappeared and the absence of tourism, teleworking and the flight to the second homes have Madrid, and all its engines, at medium gas.
For starters, the hospitality industry, wounded after a three-month hiatus, continues to walk at low revolutions. The absence of customers and the slow movement of waiters is a reality that does not escape the naked eye and that the data confirm. Consumers, in general, are less than half of the previous year and that only 50% of bars and restaurants in the region have lifted the closure after confinement.
"Breakfast and menus of the day are no longer sold by teleworking," says Juanjo Blardony, president of Hospitality Madrid, who explains that some establishments are rationalizing hours to open only at the main hours of consumption and that sales inside the premises are even lower - barely 20% - because people are still "afraid" of closed spaces.
The terraces, present in one of every four premises in Madrid, are working more or less well, according to the businessman, especially in the capital's neighborhoods. The center of Madrid, however, is another story. «It is stopped with the absence of tourists. There are established stores that do not have a customer all day, "says Blardony.
This is like pandemic ground zero. There is no demand; we have a large capacity, "adds the president of the hoteliers in the Plaza Mayor, José Antonio Aparicio. Here, when other joules did not fit a pin, the terraces are at 30% from Monday to Friday and only in the good hours of the weekend that figure doubles. "The turnover has fallen by 70% compared to last year," says the hotelier, who asks administrations to activate the center with cultural activities that bring it back to life without generating crowds.
The same request is made by Begoña Perlines, representative of the shops of the Barrio de las Letras, who are in a situation similar to that of the hospitality industry. " It is dramatic. Although almost all the commerce has opened , the lack of affluence makes the sales laughable ", he maintains before assuring that" the center is depopulated "and that they need" an SOS so that people come ".
In general data, throughout Madrid, customers are less than half than last year at this time. And it does not matter if we look at small shops or large shopping centers. The start of the de-escalation increased the average ticket in June , but sales have now plummeted by 25%. "That's a lot. Last year it seemed a drama to lose 2% ", points out the president of the Business Association for Textile and Accessories Trade in Madrid (Acotex), Eduardo Zamácola, who details that" there is no typology of companies that is better or worse ".
Platform of the Argüelles station without travelers. M.
"People are uncomfortable with a mask on their faces, the economic situation is very complicated -with ERTE, the reduction of working hours or unemployment-, there is fear of a flare-up and the government's messages are not positive. It is the perfect storm for customers to say they are not going to buy, "adds Zamácola.
According to the Ministry of Economy of Madrid, with the new normal, 80% of employment affected by the crisis would have recovered and 400,000 people would have returned to work, although there are sectors, such as tourism or nightlife, that still maintain many employees at home. To this, we must add teleworking, which was carried out by 36% of Madrid residents in May, according to the calculations of the Bank of Spain, and continues to be carried out today, although to a lesser extent, despite the gradual return to offices.
Both reasons, together with the exit to second homes and the shortage of tourism, have led to the movements of citizens being reduced in the capital, influencing the sharp decline in hospitality and commerce, among other things.
According to the Regional Transport Consortium, which has mobile phone positioning data to map travel in the Community - including walking or cycling more than 500 meters away, mobility is 76% of other Joules, with 16.9 million daily trips. And around that percentage, traffic moves outside the M-30, which is 22% below the normal of a July day, according to data from the Madrid City Council.
Public transport, however, walks a little slower. Now, only five out of 10 people who used the Metro, EMT buses, suburban trains and commuter trains travel before the arrival of the coronavirus. The number of trips is two million less than usual on these dates and, taken together, all these media have lost 47% of travelers taking into account the 2019 data.
The lack of tourism, slowed by the pandemic, is reflected in the life and economy of the city in the broadest sense, although the main signs are left in the hotel sector, which is at 21% occupancy despite the fact that only about one out of four lodgings is active. A percentage that bears the name of national travelers, as the international has almost disappeared, says the Hotel Business Association of Madrid.
El Retiro, one of the most visited places in the city, is more empty than other summers for this reason, the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofía have lost between 85% and 90% of their visitors in June and the nightlife of The capital, which foreigners fill on these dates when Madrid residents flee from the heat, also suffers with the absence of tourism.
The discotheques and cocktail bars, the last to return to activity although without a dance floor, remain mostly closed. Barely a third has opened its doors and among them are not the large rooms, which have postponed their reopening to September due to the negative prospects. Those who have dared to take the step barely have 30% of the public they had a year ago - average throughout the region - and those of medium format, with reserved, are the ones that do better.
In this sector, the situation is also "sadder in the center of Madrid," says Vicente Pizcueta from Noche Madrid, the association of nightlife entrepreneurs, adding that " the operation is getting better in Galapagar, El Escorial or Villalba , where are the second residences ».
If we look at the cultural world, supply and users are also scarce. Most of the theaters, in view of the reduced capacity, have decided not to open until after the summer , leaving the Gran Vía orphaned by the color of the musicals. And for the few that are active, the sold out is almost a mirage, just like for the cinema, which also does not achieve the figures of other years.
Only the municipal swimming pools seem to escape from this slowed down march in Madrid, since, despite their 50% limitation, they receive 14% more users today than they did a year ago , according to the data offered by the City Council on the five that opened at the beginning of July.
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