Covid Test centres are everywhere

Covid Test centres are everywhere.

28-07-2021Vicki McLeod

Every year, (okay, not every year as 2020 was not your average year in Mallorca), there is a point in the season when we reach “peak tourist”. Now that all of the school holidays have started we are seeing thousands of visitors arriving every day. From mid July to mid August, if you are an experienced island dweller you know to keep your head down and stay out of the way as much as possible. That is if you don’t have to work in the tourism industry, in which case, strap in and get ready for the most exhausting month of the year.

Even though the island is not as packed as it has been in past years, I feel we are already at a saturation point, why? Because it seems to be so much more intense this year than ever before.

The “Majorca Mallorca.Together” Facebook group started last year in the lockdown is still going, originally it was intended for people who live here to support each other, but in the past month or so the membership has tilted wildly towards English speaking people who are looking to visit the island. We have grown from about 3,000 to almost 7000 in the last month!

Visitors are having to navigate confusing new COVID testing regulations, there is the Brexit passport queue (cheers for that Brexiteers), there is the language barrier, and the confusion about where a test centre might be located for the long journey home again.

That means there are A. LOT. of questions about the same subject over and over: travel, quarantine, PCR, antigen, where to go to get the test, what to expect to pay, and what to do if they test positive, what to do when they get back to the UK after their holiday.

There’s obviously information available on the UK Government and Balearic Government websites, but I suppose that the member cannot either fully understand the information, or the info is lacking a nuance about their specific situation. The most recent thread I have read has been about what would happen if a child tested positive whilst on holiday here, would they be forced to quarantine by the government, and would they be separated from their family. It’s certainly a thorny and difficult question as there are so many potential situations to consider, it depends on their hotel, if they are staying in a rental villa, with family etc.

You can find the guidance for testing and entry requirements here:

But to summarise it is (currently as of July 27 2021) this:

UK to Mallorca

1 Adults and children 12 and over present either proof of vaccination, the NHS app or certificate or a negative PCR test taken not more than 72 hours prior to arrival time.
2 Complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) available from www.spth.gob.es one for each passenger
3 Pre Order your day 2 test for your return from the gov.uk approved supplier list, if you are vaccinated or under 18. If you are unvaccinated then you must order day 2 and 8 tests.

Mallorca to UK (as a resident of the UK)

1 Take an antigen test for all adults and children over 10, in the last 3 days of holiday, these cost €30 and are available in every single resort around the island.
2 Complete your PLF which is available from gov.uk, and you need to enter the receipt number of your day 2 test for QR code.

In essence, don’t be concerned about finding your test centre for your return home, they are everywhere. You will see some of the test centres used to be bakeries, cafes, estate agencies… It’s a sign of the times that they are no longer operating and have been repurposed as test centre locations.

Dear (lovely) tourist,

Hi, and welcome to Mallorca, we really hope that you have a fantastic holiday here. We live in Majorca and we’ve lived through quite a lot in the last 18 months, just like you have as well.

It was quite tough here for us with so much uncertainty about what the future would hold for the island. To reopen our borders and doors to welcome in visitors is both exciting and terrifying at the same time.

We understand that you have spent a lot of money and time and energy in organising your holiday, and this year has been much harder to travel than ever before. The rules are continuously changing it seems, for you and for us, it is frustrating, confusing, time consuming and expensive as well!

Wear your mask in areas where you cannot safely socially distance, no one is going to think badly of you, in Mallorca we welcome people who are taking their health and OUR health seriously.

In the meantime, a few of my Facebook friends wanted to send you a message…

“Thank you for coming”
“Thank you for all the trouble you are going through to get here”.
Carolina Siles

“Welcome, don’t break anything
“Dear tourists, welcome to the Paradise called Majorca, respect the safety laws, respect and be kind to the residents, and feel blessed to be here. Respect the values ​​of the Majorcan people ... both cultural and religious.Enjoy and be happy and grateful for your time here.”
Bettina von Hohendorff

“The Mallorcan people welcome you”
“Dear tourist, Thank you for choosing Mallorca as your holiday destination. There are so many beautiful places on this island that we hope you treasure and enjoy. Us Mallorquines welcome you to our home with open arms and ask to treat this as you would if it was your home and family with your respect.”
Sofia Jaraba Mcgrath

“Not everyone is on holiday”
“Please do not walk the streets in your bikini or, for men, without your shirts. Respect that where you are staying also are homes of people that live here, so loud drunken singing late at night/early morning is a disturbance for those that have to get up for work. Enjoy your holiday and explore this wonderful island along with its food and culture.”
Angie Wallace

“Have a sense of humour”
“Come. But don’t come, at least not in the streets of Magaluf or Arenal. Enjoy. But not too loudly or raucously. Humming softly often beats singing. Drink. Enough to pay the bills but not so much as to cost us more in cleaning and in police or medical services. Eat. Plenty and well. But don’t complain or harangue the waiters and staff. Come. But don’t stay too long.”
Phil Rogan

“Thank you for supporting our local businesses”
“Dear Tourist, come to our beautiful island and enjoy it responsibly. Thank you for supporting our small businesses and being respectful of local laws. We’re sorry about the covid rules and regs, but hopefully you can still see a good amount of what the island has to offer; an abundance of beautiful scenery, beaches, shops, spectacular architecture and history. We welcome you.”
Erica Lay

“Just do it”
“Just travel. I flew to work in Italy and with all my paperwork in order I was free to move around. 35 euros for an antigen test. I then flew to visit my Dad in Turkey and got a free antigen test in Venice and arrived without problems. The traffic light system is, in my opinion, codswallop. Travel safely, follow the rules and enjoy the world. If vaccinated I see even less of an issue but my experience has been very easy and I hope people aren’t put off due to ridiculous, unfounded and frankly absurd restrictions. The world is there to be seen....go see it!”
Ben Mulvey

So relax, follow the rules. Pick up after yourselves, and smile!

The Presidential Race Begins

Meanwhile, somewhere in the future there will be an election for the next President of the Balearic Islands. I was invited along to the presentation of Marga Prohens who will be the candidate for the PP. I asked her what she would be doing for the expat community on the island and she told me that “Firstly, we want everyone to know how much we value tourism, we as Mallorcans need tourism and we will support it.” I asked her what she would be doing to support expat businesses on the island, and her response was “to cancel tourist tax”.

Marga Prohens (centre) surrounded by supporters outside of the Andratx ayuntamiento

A bit of a disappointing reply to be honest, not every business owned and run by a British person is connected to a hotel, so hopefully she will expand her understanding of what the international community does contribute to the island.

Meanwhile, somewhere on the coast

The Mallorca 360 Snorkel challenge is doing well. I went to visit them last weekend and found them on the beach in Sa Rapita, hunkered down from the hottest day of the year so far, under umbrellas and fantasising about fresh vegetables. I delivered some food donated by Elefante, who make yummy wraps and salads which the team devoured.

The camp at Sa Rapita.

They are about 2/3rds of their way through their challenge to snorkel around the coastline of the island which they are doing to raise money for Yachting Gives Back. You can find them on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Mallorca360Snorkel They should be finished by this Saturday.

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