The Orihuela councillor for the coast, Luisa Boné, has confirmed that the contract for the Chiringuito bars, which provide the catering service and other seasonal activities on the beaches (food, drink, sunbeds, umbrellas, leisure, entertainment, etc.), have been suspended.

This decision has been based solely on a conclusion of the Prosecutor’s Office, that the original award of the contract in June 2014 by the previous council, could have been fraudulently made. Little regard seems to have been paid to the fact that, during the tenure of the contract, the services afforded have always been first class, or that the many hundreds of people who still use the Orihuela Costa beaches now have no refreshment facilities, no first aid and no toilets.

So much for the councillor’s ‘Winter Beach’ initiative introduced by the Ayuntamiento on La Caleta beach two weeks ago, where on Sunday afternoon, there would have been no medical assistance available for yet another heart attack victim but for the chance appearance of a Chiringuito employee who was able to break down the bar door and gain access to the defibrillator.

He was able to treat the 50 year old Spanish man, with the assistance of a holidaying doctor, until the surprisingly prompt arrival of a SAMU ambulance, which subsequently moved the victim to Torrevieja Hospital.

At this stage I understand there has been no judgement from the Prosecutor’s Office to proceed with any charges so I find it strange that the council has made the decision to close the Chirunguitos down, a result that will affect many hundreds of local beachgoers, with even he councillor herself saying that there have been no complaints about the service provided by the current contractor.

Council suspend Orihuela Costa Chiringuito contract

Surely it would have been much better to have the new contract in place, and allow the natural transfer of services, prior to the termination of the old one! Although a new tender document is currently being drawn up, knowing from previous experience of the difficulties that such procedures often face, there is now no guarantee that the new service will be in place before the start of the main holiday and tourist season.

In a statement made on their website by Chiringuitos del Sol, the company say that they were told to close down the Beach bars on 12 April at Aguamarina, Mil Palmeras, La Caleta, Punta Prima, La Glea, La Mosca, Playa Flamenca, Cala Cerrada, Cala Bosque, Cala Capitán and Barranco Rubio with no prior notice.

There statement continues “It is our desire to return this service to the thousands of people who come every day to the Orihuela Coast. But given the dates, if this decision is prolonged in time, the beaches of Orihuela could be left without care or services throughout the summer.”

“We deeply regret the inconvenience that this circumstance, which has occurred against our will, to our clients, whom we thank for their loyalty and affection. Chiringuitos del Sol reserves the possibility to take legal action by the prejudice that this measure, against which we have lodged an appeal at the Town Hall, for the company, which has already made the assembly and recruitment investment for the 2018 season.”

A notice board by Cabo Roig beach with dozens of personal messages criticising the council decision to close down the bars

On the notice board adjacent to Cabo Roig beach dozens of messages appeared at the weekend, all critical of the councillor’s decision to close down the beach bars, underlining the absence of toilets, first aid and the many other services that they would routinely provide.