Bar owners celebrate Brits returning to Spain with £1.20 pints from MONDAY as businesses set to boom

THRILLED bar owners are celebrating Brit holidaymakers returning to Spain with £1.20 pints from MONDAY as businesses are set to boom.

Thousands of lockdown-weary Brits are expected to fly next week to Spain, despite it being on the government's amber travel list.

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Costa Del Sol bar owner Toni Smith told Sun readers today after Spain announced it was lifting its UK tourist ban: “We’ve got the best beer in town at the cheapest price so come and join us.”

The 61-year-old expat from Rochdale, Lancs, who owns a bar called Ibensa with husband Brian in the holiday resort of Benalmadena, is selling pints of Mahou lager for just 1.40 Euros (£1.20).

She said: “The fact Spain is letting British tourists back in again from Monday is fantastic news. It’s brilliant for us.

“We’ll be open for business as always and very happy to see anyone who wants to come in for a drink."

Spain’s veto on British tourists had been extended till May 31 before today’s surprise announcement.

Spanish Ministry of Tourism sources said that British tourists would be let into the country without having to show a negative coronavirus test or proof they have been vaccinated.

Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez also announced that UK holidaymakers would be allowed to enter the country from Monday, May 24.

He said in English at Friday's international trade fair Fitur: “I am pleased to inform you that the ministerial order will be officially published today exempting citizens from the UK and other 'safe' countries like New Zealand, South Korea and China from temporary restrictions on non-essential trips to Spain.

“I can therefore announce that from next Monday the 24th of May we will be delighted to welcome all UK tourists.

“They are welcome to enter our country without restrictions and without health requirements.”

Toni Smith told the Sun: “It’s been a tough time for us and there’s been days when it’s cost us money to open our doors because we have a lot of overheads.

“We’ve got ten staff and only four are working at the moment. The rest are on temporary lay-off called Erte but you’ve still got social security to pay.

“We’ve been hanging on and hanging on for the better times and I can see light at the end of the tunnel now.”

Spain's move comes days after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the full list of green destinations which mean UK travellers don't have to quarantine on their return.

But Spain was left off that list – meaning it is on the amber list, which requires a 10-day home quarantine back in the UK – and won't be added until June at the earliest.

Toni admitted: “I don’t understand the traffic light system because to me amber makes no sense so hopefully the UK will put Spain on its green list soon and things will get even better for us.

“We’re in a bit of a crystal ball situation but fingers crossed Brit tourists will be told by the end of the month they don’t have to quarantine when they go back home."

Their pub is one of the "cheapest in the area and the price we’ve got of 1.40 Euros for a pint of Mahou is an all-day price that doesn’t change.

“Anyone who comes here is going to have a fantastic time. It’s sunny and the temperatures are in the mid-seventies today so it’s shorts and T-shirt weather.

“We open at 9am and can serve the last drink at 11.30pm and stay open till midnight.

“We’ve been averaging around 40 customers a day with things the way they've been but I’m hoping that with this latest announcement on British holidaymakers it’s going to get a lot busier," Toni added.

Jackie Quick-Rice, who owns Jackie’s Bar in Fuengirola with husband Paul, 61, said: “Today’s news about British tourists being able to come back to Spain is brilliant.

“It actually brought me to tears when I heard the announcement.

“We’ve had a tough time of it. I ran a food bank during the first lockdown for people who had lost income because the bars had to close suddenly, and when the bars reopened people were scared to come out.

“We’ve been struggling for the past year with a handful of locals who have been wonderful with their support."

Jackie, 60, added: “Brexit has also caused us problems because of people not having residency.

"In the last month alone we’ve lost about 20 customers who had to return to the UK and that’s meant a further drop in income.

“We’re working on about 10 per cent of the income we had before Covid so an injection of tourists is exactly what we need right now.

“I’m just hoping that the UK puts Spain on its green list soon."

She also said: “At the moment we’re anticipating that from Monday the Brits coming out here will be those who have holiday homes.

"Although there may be people who just decide they want to get some sunshine and are prepared to do the quarantine when they get back if Spain is not off the amber list.”

Jackie, who comes from Helensburgh near Loch Lomond, added: “Holiday home owners are a massive part of our normal customers and we’ve got hotels nearby that we’re hoping are soon going to fill up.

“The bar is below apartments that are mostly holiday homes. We’re a family bar and serve drinks and food and organise games and quizzes and dressing-up.

“We like to entertain people so they can relax, have a bit of fun and go away with a smile on their face.”

In April, the Sun reported that Spanish bar owners have promised the "best ever" summer for British holidaymakers in 2021.

Pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels and tour operators in the country’s most popular beachside resorts told The Sun Online they are preparing for a summer of fun following news they can welcome "loyal" Brits back for long-awaited holidays.  

In the sun-soaked Costa Blanca resort of Benidorm, The Corner Bar owner Ashley Price said he was “elated and ecstatic to hear the news of the borders reopening”.

“Benidorm was so vibrant before the pandemic and local bar owners have held on because they know when things return, this town will be better than it's ever been before,” he told The Sun Online.

“We are two hours on a flight from the UK, you get a pint for 1.50 euros, there's the beautiful weather.

“When the holidaymakers return this metropolis will be back with a bang.”

Around an hour along the sun-drenched coastline, Jane Naughton co-owns The Captain's Table in Torrevieja with husband Dave and cousin Tony.

“Like a lot of businesses, we have kept things going and it will be lovely to see everyone enjoying themselves, as long as it's done in a safe way,” she said.

Diane Charlesworth, owner of Winnies Cafe Bar, told The Sun Online: “It has been nearly 18 months of the pandemic so any bit of positivity is good and we will be welcoming British holidaymakers with open arms"

There's been a mixed reaction on social media, with some praising the Spanish leader for reopening the borders to locked-down Brits.

But in the UK, one man fumed on Facebook: "Too late. I already wasted a ticket on a flight I wasn't allowed to board last week.

"I am not heading to Spain anytime soon – good luck with that."

Another Brit posted: "Queues, muzzles, testing on return, quarantine! No thanks. Not sure how the travel industry will survive."

And one man said on Facebook that it was "irrelevant" what Spain had announced as "it's an amber country" for those in the UK.

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