Late night drinking will be banned in pubs in Benidorm after they opened up for business today as part of Spain's coronavirus strategy.

Mayor Toni Pérez has ordered all drinking establishments to close by 11pm and they will have to stick to stringent health and safety regulations, including social distancing and keeping tables apart.

He said the decision was taken following talks with Benidorm's Association of Bars, Restaurants and Cafeterias and the association of entertainment venues, Ociobal.

More than half of the nation is taking part in phase zero of Spain's de-escalation plan to phase one.

Cafes, pubs and restaurants, which have all been closed for two months, can open their terraces outside but with a limit of 50 per cent.

Pubs, bars and restaurants have been allowed to reopen but with strict rules to stick to
Pubs, bars and restaurants have been allowed to reopen but with strict rules to stick to

They are not allowed to open for customers inside until a later date, which could be in June.

There are more than 1,100 establishments in this sector and all could stay open until 11pm but no later.

Mayor Pérez said the sector had collaborated well and, like the city, would continue on a "path of prudence".

He said: "This will guarantee us the passage to the next phase and to be closer every day to the full and normal development of the activity."

Pubs have reopened in Benidorm but there are strict rules
Pubs, bars and restaurants have been allowed to reopen but with strict rules to stick to

The maximum occupation on terraces will be 10 people per table or group of tables.

Menus should be avoided, with customers using electronic devices, blackboards, posters or other similar means to decide what they want.

There are also regulations for cleaning and disinfecting tables and chairs, as well as any other surface that may be occupied by various clients.

Toilets, they can only be used by one person at a time, unless an assistant is needed, and they must be cleaned with a specified frequency a minimum of six times daily.

The news comes as concerns have been raised that Brits may keep away from Benidorm if they have to isolate for 14 days on their return to the UK.

Toni Mayor, president of the Benidorm and Costa Blanca hotel association Hosbec, said this could result in a economical blow to the popular tourist hotspot.

He said: “That is going to be a body blow for UK aviation and for tourism. I don’t see international holiday flights to Spain resuming till July at the earliest.

"If the quarantine were brought in and was still in place by July and August, we can wave goodbye to any hopes of British tourists returning to the Costa Blanca this summer.

"For places like Benidorm that depend so heavily on UK tourists, it would be a disaster.”