Now what? Will you leave me?

I think that I have not talked about situations like the one I am going to present today to you before. In any case, since this is a blog about E.P., innovative and entrepreneurial projects, and giving visibility to all of them, here I am and here is this post.

Today I want to dedicate it to the more than 30 families in Biscay who own venues for events, many of which have teamed up because of the situation they’re living due to the pandemic. Besides, they’re feeling abandoned and ignored by the Administration. Their entrepreneurial businesses are closed, and they don’t have access to any type of support, neither municipal nor from the Basque Government.

Today I ask you to please keep reading. THANK YOU.

Some of you may remember a post I wrote a few months ago about Txokonordisk. Yes, I said a txoko, but not a traditional one. It launched officially at the end of 2017. You may not know that due to the pandemic, this space is one of those who is suffering the major consequences of it:

It’s been months since they haven’t opened, they have no income or, in other words, income = 0, but, of course, paying the bills for the utilities, telephone lines, rent, mortgages, etc. (some of them UNJUSTIFIED). And all of that without monetary help and without an answer from the competent authority during the pandemic.

It’s been months since they haven’t opened, they have no income or, in other words, income = 0, but, of course, they are paying the bills for the utilities, telephone lines, rent, mortgages, etc. (some of them UNJUSTIFIED). And all of that without monetary help and without an answer from the competent authority during the pandemic.

Both, during the state of alarm and after the Lehendakari’s October 26th 36/2020 Decree, and the subsequent changes, they are closed by law. It’s been confirmed by the Ertzaintza, the local police and the health department of the Basque Country.

It’s not only because they’re part of the area of catering, but because some mistakes and decisions taken by the Administration have led many families’ situation to get considerably worse. This was due to some people’s apathy who were equipped with those decrees filled with legal voids that play in favour of just a few. All of that together has managed to lead fathers, mothers, and children of different ages to be in a situation that, obviously, they wouldn’t have imagined months before when, with a lot of work, effort, perseverance, illusion, and desire, they started an adventure that, although rough, they were capable of carrying it forward. Because they have the E.P. gen.

What’s happening?

What’s happening is that these txokos are NOT gastronomic societies nor partners “places”, but they are considered that way. THAT’S ONE OF THE MAIN PROBLEMS, which I don’t think it’s difficult to understand, or, from a certain ignorance, to solve.

They are venues for celebrating events with different licenses, mainly catering (restaurants, daytime bars, etc.), yes, but also establishments for events.

And, of course, as they are business, they are subject to law, requirements, and catering hours in their vast majority, and they contribute to the city hall as such and they pay the taxes they generate. But where is the income now?

It’s obvious that they don’t have the strength big restaurants, “big” families or multinationals may have. They are suffering the misunderstanding from politicians just the same as other people because they think they’re just “one more”, without big names or famous businessmen who get, from other places, what these families can’t.

I still remember the enthusiasm with which Txokonordisk in particular opened their doors, or the news about these spaces, and how proud I felt then (and I still feel, of course) of having examples of E.P. in my family (because not all of us are made to take the plunge, right?).

But the thing is, and now what? Doesn’t the entrepreneurial culture some of us defend matter? Don’t the E.P. with names and surnames matter? Doesn’t the situation of apathy they are living matter? Is it necessary for the “big” ones to eat the “small” ones? How can we let these entrepreneurial initiatives die? Why does it feel easier for us to eliminate these familiar companies that we show off when necessary? Don’t they have a right to be helped for being under the same umbrella than other only gastronomical “spaces”? Where is now the Basque Government, the Provincial Government of Bizkaia, or the Bilbao City Council? Where are the people who must manage these situations? I was taught that the most productive or effective answer is not always the best, nor the easiest or quicker response is the most appropriate one.

Here you have a podcast of Radio Bilbao (cadena Ser). It is in Spanish.

I personally (maybe it’s because it’s too close to home) can’t stop thinking about what we can do to help them so they can get what everyone else is getting in their situation. And you, do you think you could help them in any way?

I wish you a wonderful last week of February.

Translated by María Ubierna Quintanilla and supervised by Arantza Arruti.

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