Coronavirus: Could this be the future of dining in Spain?

What will post-coronavirus lockdown life look like in Spain?

Coronavirus: Could this be the future of dining in Spain?
Manuel Gil (L), owner of the LLenatubar company, makes a mock toast at a table with methacrylate partition walls built and installed by his company in a small restaurant in Leganes near Madrid. Photo:

A waiter wearing a mask and surgical gloves welcomes you at the door and, while maintaining a safe distance of two metres guides you carefully along a wide route through the restaurant, to a table where you take a seat behind a plastic screen.

This is the possible future being outlined by restaurant owners in Madrid keen to come up with solutions that would allow them to reopen once lockdown is lifted.

One restaurant in Leganes has already had the prototype screens installed to test the design of the hygiene petitions that have been built by the Llenatubar company.

The partition screens are made of methacrylate and are the sort that have already been installed at supermarket tills to protect both workers and shoppers from infection.

They would enclose each diner in their own protective box where they could enjoy the food and the atmosphere of the restaurant without fear of contagion.

“The price of a personal protection system for individual diners is around €600-700 per table” explained Manuel Gil, the owner of, as he presented the system on TeleMadrid this week.

The restaurant has also been fitted with thermal cameras which detect the temperature of diners as part of pilot test that could influence the “new normal” of dining out in Spain.

Pedro Zamorano, manager of the Camarascovid company, speaks during an interview next to a thermal camera to detect the temperature of customers in a small restaurant in Leganes. Photo; AFP

This week Madrid city authorities said they were considering a proposal to increase the area given over to outside tables – or terrazas as they are known in Spain – to allow wider spacing to maintain social distancing between tables.

Other measures under consideration include a proposal by the Noche Madrid, an association of nightlife venues in Madrid to reduce the capacity of establishments by 60 to 65 percent and to distribute masks and gloves at the door after taking temperatures of those wishing to enter.

Hotels are already coming up with plans that  they hope could allow them to open at the earliest opportunity which include issuing “welcome packs” of face mask, gloves and hand sanitizer to guests on arrival and replacing breakfast buffets with individual hampers.

It is too early to say when such establishments might reopen for business as lockdown as been extended for a third time until May 9th and “de-escalation will be slow” according to statements made by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez this week.



Member comments

  1. I am still amazed by the (lack of) precautions being taken in Spain and most of Europe. I live in Thailand where not wearing a mask can result in many people glaring at you in the local 7-11 or where ever you are. Every DIY store, every 7-11 (over 10000 outlets in Thailand)in fact any store still trading. (those are mainly food-based stores with a few exceptions) My point is that you will be greeted by a temperature scanner, the use of a hand gell in every store.
    I also find it hard to believe that we are being told of huge shortages in masks. I can import up to millions of face masks of varying qualities directly from China. I am offered masks every day. Only the other day I was offered Intensive care Ventilators over 200 in stock and available for immediate despatch. Our total confirmed cases in Thailand 2584 and total deaths 50 yes 50. Our population is just shy of 70,000,000 people. I agree we have a country which is very hot and therefore the virus cannot live long outside of a host. But look at the recovery rate nearly 2,500 people fully recovered. My point is you and Europe are not doing enough to control the virus and its spread. I watched a TV programme last night about how the UK food supply chain was coping with Covid 19 I could have counted the number of masks being worn on the fingers of one hand. True they do not prevent you from catching the disease, but if you are asymptomatic it can prevent your droplets of bodily fluid from being sprayed over everyone else.
    The reaction to this pandemic has been to slow, as for the UK’s herd immunity idea it is truly unbelievable. Let’s kill a few hundred thousand people then the rest of them who recover will gain immunity. Here we have a curfew on the roads now, whole cities are being shut down only residents in or out and only then with good reason.
    So take more care with the transmission of the virus.
    I am reading the Local because I am planning to move to Spain but moving is more difficult because of the Virus, the house is unlikely to be sold as no buyers want o come out. Ah well

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Spain rules out EU’s advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 

Spain’s Health Ministry said Thursday there will be no mandatory vaccination in the country following the European Commission’s advice to Member States to “think about it” and Germany’s announcement that it will make vaccines compulsory in February.

Spain rules out EU's advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 
A Spanish man being vaccinated poses with a custom-made T-shirt showing Spain's chief epidimiologist Fernando Simón striking a 'Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood' pose over the words "What part of keep a two-metre distance don't you understand?' Photo: José Jordan

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday told journalists Covid-19 vaccines will continue to be voluntary in Spain given the “very high awareness of the population” with regard to the benefits of vaccination.

This follows the words of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, urging Member States to “think about mandatory vaccination” as more cases of the Omicron variant are detected across Europe. 

READ ALSO: Is Spain proving facts rather than force can convince the unvaccinated?

“I can understand that countries with low vaccine coverage are contemplating this and that Von der Leyen is considering opening up a debate, but in our country the situation is absolutely different,” Darias said at the press conference following her meeting with Spain’s Interterritorial Health Council.

According to the national health minister,  this was also “the general belief” of regional health leaders of each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities she had just been in discussion with over Christmas Covid measures. 

READ MORE: Spain rules out new restrictions against Omicron variant

Almost 80 percent of Spain’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a figure which is around 10 percent higher if looking at those who are eligible for the vaccine (over 12s). 

It has the highest vaccination rate among Europe’s most populous countries.

Germany announced tough new restrictions on Thursday in a bid to contain its fourth wave of Covid-19 aimed largely at the country’s unvaccinated people, with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which the German parliament is due to vote on soon.

Austria has also already said it will make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory next February, Belgium is also considering it and Greece on Tuesday said it will make vaccination obligatory for those over 60.

But for Spain, strict Covid-19 vaccination rules have never been on the table, having said from the start that getting the Covid-19 jabs was voluntary. 

There’s also a huge legal implication to imposing such a rule which Spanish courts are unlikely to look on favourably. 

Stricter Covid restrictions and the country’s two states of alarm, the first resulting in a full national lockdown from March to May 2020, have both been deemed unconstitutional by Spain’s Constitutional Court. 

READ ALSO: Could Spain lock down its unvaccinated or make Covid vaccines compulsory?

The Covid-19 health pass to access indoor public spaces was also until recently consistently rejected by regional high courts for breaching fundamental rights, although judges have changed their stance favouring this Covid certificate over old Covid-19 restrictions that affect the whole population.

MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?

“In Spain what we have to do is to continue vaccinating as we have done until now” Darias added. 

“Spaniards understand that vaccines are not only a right, they are an obligation because we protect others with them”.

What Spanish health authorities are still considering is whether to vaccinate their 5 to 11 year olds after the go-ahead from the European Medicines Agency, with regions such as Madrid claiming they will start vaccinating their young children in December despite there being no official confirmation from Spain’s Vaccine Committee yet.

READ MORE: Will Spain soon vaccinate its children under 12?

Spain’s infection rate continues to rise day by day, jumping 17 points up to 234 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday. There are now also five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the country, one through community transmission.

Hospital bed occupancy with Covid patients has also risen slightly nationwide to 3.3 percent, as has ICU Covid occupancy which now stands at 8.4 percent, but the Spanish government insists these figures are “almost three times lower” than during previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic.