Last week a Mallorcan restaurateur shook his head sadly and pointed to empty tables in his restaurant. He told me that the latest regional government edict, forcing restaurants with 50 seats or more to scan Covid-19 customers’ passports, just before the Christmas season, was the last straw.
He said it was sheer madness and downright unfair. He’d had cancellations. Another café proprietor was keen to tell which of his establishments catered for fewer than 50. Don’t pass us by, tell all your friends they’re welcome, he pleaded. He admitted that some of the scans didn’t appear to work so customers were being dismissed and felt humiliated. One of the Bulletin’s own columnists was unceremoniously evicted from a restaurant for this very reason.
Americans and Canadians appear not to have compatible Covid documents so they too are barred from such premises. Most locals have been vaccinated but I know few who’ll take the risk of booking and being turfed out on a technical error. There are also those who can’t download the passport and haven’t got time to queue for the paper version at Son Espases. A local restaurateur laughed bitterly and told me that if there were 49 seats in a restaurant you couldn’t catch Covid but with 50, that all changed.
A group of London chums have just cancelled their Christmas holiday here. They said that Mallorca was evidently becoming a Covid police state like other parts of Europe and where was the fun in that? Who wants to see police roaming cafés demanding documents?
Instead they’ve got cheap flights to Eastern Europe where rules are hugely relaxed and the Christmas markets and festivals are in full swing. Having spoken at length with my son this week, I can verify this is true. He told me that the last time he wore a mask or discussed Covid was in June when he left Majorca to work in Romania.
He is now in Poland setting up a new hostel and said that no one wore masks anywhere or mentioned Covid-19, and life was completely normal. He was amazed at the news coming from the UK and said it was like living in a parallel universe. Tourism is booming and they are preparing for the return of the Australian market. Hordes of young Aussies are planning to descend on cheap and welcoming Eastern Europe this summer after so much time incarcerated at home. And they have bulging pockets having had nowhere to go for a long while.
It’s curious how different parts of the world are responding to the elastic pandemic but one thing’s for certain, if Mallorca wants to survive economically, it’s got to think long and hard about knee-jerk decisions and how it will affect future tourism.
Divide and Rule
The news from Westminster this week was quite extraordinary. Boris Johnson, surely on his last legs (if he has one left), desperately tried to cover up the scandal of Partygate2020 by enforcing new and mean-spirited Covid-19 restrictions on a jaundiced and furious public.
Omicron has come along as an early Christmas gift for the UK prime minister and has proven the perfect way to deflect from the scandals, lies and turmoil engulfing his government. Keep the populace in a state of terror, lie, lie, lie and all will go swimmingly well. So far so good but at last the electorate is growing restless and timorously starting to voice concerns and even display rage.
Were cheery Christmas bashes being held throughout Number 10 last year when the entire country was ordered to lockdown and spend miserable time apart from loved ones? People died alone in hospital beds and many elderly expired in spartan care homes, all separated from their families due to harsh and uncompromising Covid-19 regulations. Meanwhile, UK politicians, spin doctors, civil servants and hangers-on, were seemingly raving it up and treating the public with complete disdain and derision.
So, was it all a con, Omicron? I ask you, as the new boy on the block. Are you for real or just a mild version of the old guard, hyped up to keep the rabble truly in check? Time will tell but this time, maybe the fearful, bowed and depleted public won’t be so easily duped by a feckless government.
I found out recently that a lot of cheap honey in supermarkets hails from China and is often bulked out with sugar syrup. Luckily, here in Soller we have fabulous local honey and we know its provenance but I feel for those who in all good faith buy honey in cities and think it’s the real deal. There is very good honey in China but a lot of inferior stuff reaches our shelves. If in doubt, look at the price tag. If it’s dirt cheap, you know why.
A wrist for Christmas
I’m now able to type properly following my fractured wrist, and it feels so good. My traumatologist gave me a big smile this week and told me that I’d healed in record time and sent me away.
Meanwhile, lovely Nuria, my physio in Soller at the Quiron Clinic has been an angel and puts me through my paces every day. We have an impressive public health service here but an excellent private one too. How lucky we are to live here.