The Balearic government has opted to apply a Phase 3 veto to the opening of nightlife establishments. The national guidelines had set a 30% capacity. At the same time, the government has decided to exceed national guidelines for bars, restaurants, shops and hotel communal areas. While Phase 3 doesn’t have implications for tourism, might this different treatment signal the approach post-state of alarm?
The government has pointed to the fact that new outbreaks have coincided with relaxation of nightlife restrictions. Most attention has been paid to what happened in Seoul, where the authorities’ response of a two-week closure and contact-tracing swiftly brought the situation back under control.
The nightlife environment is, on the face of it, less controllable than, for example, restaurants and hotels. The government is perhaps therefore right to be cautious, while it will also be aware that South Korea measures, such as requiring all people entering establishments to provide contact information for tracing, are probably beyond its capabilities - and even more so once tourism is reactivated.
But does the Phase 3 decision hint at a government attitude couched in terms of its fight against so-called tourism of excesses? Going forward, will there be stricter capacity rules for nightlife than for other sectors? Will Covid be an additional government tool for tackling excesses? Publicise limitations, and “this type of tourism” (to quote the tourism minister) might be further deterred. A problem would be apparent discrimination and all this would entail.