"You won't believe it: I found a restaurant!"

The beaches of Calella de Palafrugell are full of visitors again and most of the establishments don't even have a free table

3 min
Visitors have filled the beaches of Calella de Palafrugell this Friday morning

Calella de Palafrugell"You won't believe it: I've found a restaurant!" shouts a boy to three other young people who, when they hear it, celebrate as if their team had just scored a goal. One of the big challenges for the visitors who chose Calella de Palafrugell yesterday was to find an establishment with a free table. If it were not for the face masks, the images of the town's streets and beaches was very similar to that of the pre-covid period: families and couples spread out on the sand - with some brave people taking their first bath of the year - and shops that welcomed with open arms the hundreds of people who took the opportunity to stroll among the white houses and the promenades facing the sea that characterize Calella.

"The problem is that with the restrictions we have gone from being like a cemetery (with everything empty) to being overcrowded", describes Karin Hartner Gelpí, from the restaurant Can Gelpí, which, located in front of the beach of Port-Bo, is one of the oldest in the municipality: since 1912 she and her ancestors have been serving typical dishes of the Empordà cuisine. "It's very stressful because with these hours you have to do the same work but with everything is more compressed and measures need to be maintained to avoid contagion. It's quite nerve-wracking", admits the owner, who looks ahead to this year's summer season with uncertainty. "I don't know whether to take on more staff or wait and risk not finding the usual workers because they have taken on another job. Every week we have to wait for Procicat and the weather: now it depends on both of us whether we work or not".

Their situation is almost the same as the rest of the restaurants on the seafront. "I'm sorry, I have nothing for today". It is the sentence that the manager of Les Voltes has repeated the most throughout the morning, whilst he organizes the distribution of the tables for the noon service. "Since Wednesday both shifts are full. There are few restaurants in the village and a lot of people who want to eat".

However, neither he nor Karin understand why there are no civic agents to prevent the crowds on the different beaches of the municipality, which from early in the morning do not stop adding bathers to the sand. Most of them try to keep their distance, but they don't always succeed. "They don't control anything, neither the capacity, nor whether they are wearing their masks properly. And it is incomprehensible that the parking zone agents are working but no one is here on the beach to control", complain the restaurateurs, who are worried that the incidence of the virus will increase.

Fear of restrictions

The vast majority of visitors come from Barcelona and surrounding towns, and most stay in one of the hundreds of apartments of the municipality. "I read that from April 10 we will be closed again and we have taken the opportunity to go away for a few days, before they forbid us to leave the city", admits Eduard, who is a resident of Barcelona and who, together with his partner and two children, have rented a house on the outskirts: "We had not seen nature for months, we needed it!"

The family is leaving a souvenir shop, the Anana, where the shop assistant, Isabel, is just finishing placing the earrings and necklaces in the right place. It reopened 24 hours ago and she doesn't know if next week she'll have to pull the shutters down again or if she'll be able to extend it until after the summer, as she does every year. "There are too many people... If they had let them out earlier, it wouldn't be so crowded now. And with the amount of contagions that there will be after Easter, we will have to close again for sure", she says, shaking her head from side to side.

In fact, hers is the fear that resonates most in the village: that the increase in visitors will increase the number of contagions and that, in order to stop them, restrictions will have to be applied once again. "They spend the day saying that now they have to save Christmas, now they have to save Easter... And who saves us from those who govern us?" asks Purita, 73, who turns towards home. "I wanted to go for a walk along the promenade, but there are too many people and I don't like it", she confesses quietly.