New San Antonio Noise Laws Starting to Hurt Local Business

On an island not used to rational thinking it takes a certain kind of ‘skill’ to come up with a law that not only dumbfounds but also achieves the exact opposite of what it set out to do.

When San Antonio’s left wing coalition council first proposed earlier closing times for bars in the ‘West End’ it cited noise issues as the main reason. After much debate and lobbying they decided to enforce a 3am closing curfew on only a small area meaning that some bars close at 3am while others bars only metres away can stay open until 5am.

The 3am closing means that the party has to stop just as it’s getting going and as numerous videos on social media clearly show it also means that thousands of young holidaymakers are being ushered into the street at the same time increasing the noise levels substantially. The partygoers then find the new bars or go to the beach or carry on back at their hotels.

Contrary to many residents’ opinion the majority of these young holidaymakers aren’t drunken hooligans on a nightly rampage but normal people trying to enjoy the famous Ibiza ambience and wanting to have a little fun with money in their pockets.

San Antonio’s West End, world famous for its nightlife now has stricter opening hours than in the UK and the new laws have increased the potential for noise rather than decreased it. I’m voting this as the most ridiculous law ever (and that’s saying something).

Meanwhile over in San Antonio Bay the local authorities are busy installing sound limiters in all music venues. The limits they are enforcing are proving unworkable for some bars such as the family friendly ‘Old Tavern’ famous for its live entertainment and karaoke. It has had a sound limiter fitted with an inside limit of 74 decibels before 11pm and 64db after. To put this into perspective an average dishwasher makes 75db of sound.

The strict policy is starting to affect local livelihoods and some bars will inevitably close, staff will become unemployed and suppliers will lose contracts. One local bar owner is even suffering from serious health issues due to the prejudicial new laws. The list goes on but the main people affected are the tourists who will be sat in lifeless bars and wish they had gone somewhere else…..and they eventually might.

The new noise laws are an example of residents taking back control of ‘their’ town but without tourists there won’t be any residents and the new noise laws are simply unworkable to many. It appears that Ibiza has forgotten how it got into it’s popular position in the first place: offering good old fashioned fun in a laid back manner for 4 months of the year and then living in tranquility for 8 months, compromise is a dirty word these days.

Author: Martin Makepeace

Englishman living and working in Ibiza since 1991. Entrepreneur with a passion for villas, boats, sunsets and San Antonio. Read my blogs, listen to my podcasts and catch me on Radio One Mallorca every Tuesday morning.

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