With the arrival of good weather, many citizens opt for picnics as a good alternative to meet for lunch or a drink with family and friends in outdoor spaces such as parks, safer to avoid coronavirus infections.
“Before the coronavirus we did not use to have picnics because we would meet in terraces and bars, but now it is the safest way to get together with friends because you avoid contact with other people and crowds“, comments Carmen, who meets every Saturday with several friends in a park in the municipality of Boadilla del Monte.
There are usually more than six, since most have children and take them to the park, so they are organized by groups so as not to exceed the maximum allowed. “We take the food, the drink, the chairs and whatever is needed and, the truth is, with the children it is the plan that best suits us,” he says.
Picnics have proliferated during the pandemic and have gained momentum again now, with the arrival of spring and the reopening of most of the capital’s parks after the damage caused by the storm Filomena, like El Retiro de Madrid, which did it completely last Thursday. They are an alternative plan to bars and restaurants and a good option before the prohibition of social gatherings in homes.
However, the trend of picnics it does not have to harm the hospitality industry, since many Madrilenians instead of choosing to take their food from home, they order it in places through mobile applications so that they can take it to the outdoor meeting place.
Regarding this possibility, the general director of Hostelería Madrid, Juan Jose Blardony, tells Efe that as a result of the pandemic, the sector has specialized and has progressively increased the opening of take-out food outlets to any destination, be it a house or a park.
The association has not detected a specific sale of food in outdoor places, but its director stresses that if it is done with “responsibility” and with all the security measures “There is no limitation, beyond the number of people.”
Before the pandemic, Pedro used to go to the west park of Madrid With his friends to have “beers and pipes”, but now they order takeout and consume it there in the open air. “Getting a table on the terrace in our area (Chamberí) is an impossible mission. We prefer to come to the park and order food and drink and be quiet “, explains the young man.
In the capital there are companies specialized in picnics such as Picnic-Madrid, by Carlos and Cristian, who acknowledge that this modality is “hitting pretty hard” in recent weeks.
Cristian tells Efe that compared to the billing data for 2019, which was “a normal year”, they notice a considerable increase due to the pandemic and specifically since March 1 “It has been a madness of requests, even requests for the summer”, especially by groups of six to celebrate birthdays.
Customers ask a lot about whether “may or may not” have a picnic and how many people at most can meet.
“We organize the order and we have two options: either we take it to them to assemble it or we assemble it with the blanket and the kitchenware. The delivery service is free for the Retreat but we take it to any park“, clarifies Cristian.
Beyond El Retiro, the “most requested” parks to have picnics with this company are the temple of Debod and that of Juan Carlos I.
Picnics preserve their rituals in pandemic, such as the use of a large tablecloth or cloth to deposit food and a basket or bag to transport them.
Customs to which we must now add the safety regulations against the coronavirus: limitations on the number of people in outdoor gatherings, use of a mask while not consuming and curfew.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.