Scenarios. We were learning that there are scenarios without being any the wiser as to what these might be in reality. So much will depend on how the pandemic pans out.
There were some mixed scenario messages. Health experts, the Spanish finance minister told us, will decide on the different scenarios, while adding that there will be some return to normal life after the latest extension to the state of alarm ends in two weeks' time. These were "de-escalation" scenarios, which was another way of referring to "staggered reactivation", which was how the transport minister put it.
María Jesús Montero, the finance minister, had seemingly jumped the gun. The health minister, Salvador Illa, insisted that his ministry's experts still needed information in order to draw up scenarios (for de-escalation). The transport minister, José Luis Ábalos, stressed that there was "no date for a return to normality". In Congress, Prime Minister Sánchez made clear that he expects to be returning in a fortnight's time for ratification of a further extension to the state of alarm. Perhaps by then some scenarios will have become clearer; or there will be more scenarios.
Relaxation or not?
In the Balearics, the spokesperson for the coronavirus management committee, Dr. Javier Arranz, suggested that there might be a relaxation of measures in the Balearics (and the Canaries) before other regions. This would be because "the island regions are in a better position to act as a laboratory". "It would be a good option to start lowering the measures, as the rest of the country could see how this works and what the results are." There was some talk from the Spanish government that there might be different approaches in different regions, then there was talk that there wouldn't necessarily be. The scenarios will determine everything.
Tourism? What tourism?
The tourism ministry had its own scenarios, even if these weren't far removed - if at all - from those of the health and transport ministries. The minister, Reyes Maroto, said little of any consequence. National tourism will be the first to recover, she observed. Yes, we have heard this before, and we have also heard that the Balearics will benefit the least because of the need to fly.
It was left to "sources" to set out the scenarios rather more clearly. Total or partial closure of ports and airports through the summer. No foreign tourism, or not until the autumn maybe. Meanwhile, and as if we hadn't heard this before either, Majorca's hoteliers were talking about the number of hotels that will stay closed all season - at least a half. There were yet more scenarios. Some hotel groups will opt to keep all their establishments closed. Others will have some open and allocate tourists accordingly. But when? July possibly. Or September.
Tax help for hotels
Hoteliers in Playa de Palma were pleading with Palma and Llucmajor town halls to exempt them from all manner of taxes and charges. "It doesn't make sense to tax us when all our hotels are closed". The town halls "are pushing us towards an unprecedented financial collapse". Palma, at any rate, paid little heed, but it was pointed out that hotels with terraces on the public way would not have to pay the terrace tax. This was not quite what the hoteliers had in mind, and nor did the restaurant and bar owners. Yes, they were grateful to the town hall for waiving the terrace tax, but they - like the hoteliers - had wanted a heck of a lot more.
Speeding up permissions
Palma town hall was otherwise explaining, with some pride, that it had approved sixty-nine building licences. Neus Truyol, councillor for the model of the city, decent housing and sustainability, said that this showed that the planning department was functioning with "normality", a situation that builders and developers have frequently suggested (and nothing to do with crisis) isn't the case.
In a different report it was observed that town halls are doing their best to speed up the permissions' processes. The reason for this is that the granting of licences provides town halls with revenue, and right now they can do with getting hold of every euro they possibly can.