Phases towards new normality
Progress, everybody, progress indeed. It came in the form of Prime Minister Sánchez, who doubled his normal number of weekly announcements from one to two. He firstly teased us with the promise of letting us out of lockdown for some exercise (it required the health minister, Salvador Illa, to make his own appearance later in the week to explain this), and followed this up with the plan for de-escalation. There were to be four phases, one of which was mysteriously Phase 0. If all goes really well, we will able to look forward to Midsummer's Eve being celebrated in conditions of "new normality".
Hotels won't be bothering
Not everyone, it has to be said, was overly impressed by this plan. Take the hoteliers, for example. It's all very well being able to open establishments from the eleventh of this month, i.e. in Phase 1, unless the hotels are in Formentera, where Phase 1 starts tomorrow, but it's not viable from a business point of view. For starters, it's not as if anyone can travel with any ease. In fact, it was entirely unclear, given the conditions regarding the confinement and mobility, how anyone could travel and be permitted to stay in a hotel. The Majorca Hoteliers Federation thus supplied us with one of the words of the week - stupefaction.
The times of day
The children of Spain having been let out the previous week, it was now the turn of the adults. The Balearic government, which had probably already been tipped the wink that this was going to happen, was calling for times to be staggered. You can't have everyone taking to the streets at the same time. Francina Armengol and her ministers were therefore able to claim some credit for the announcement made by the health minister. The day was to be divided up according to ages. How would this work at a practical level? Was someone going to blow a whistle to mark the start and finish times in case there were those who were unaware that they had to be back inside bang on, for example, 10am?
Guarding the sea
Town halls were meanwhile reintroducing lifeguards to beaches. Not that it seemed as if there would be any lives that needed guarding. The lifeguards were to be added to the police cordons preventing access to the sea. Small children and now adults were asking the same question. If I go in the sea, will I get coronavirus? Baffled looks all round.
And they were even more baffled when, for example, Palma police turned round and announced that yes, you could go in the sea to do sport (e.g. swimming), they having been telling kids to get out of the sea last Sunday. This sport, it appeared, meant precisely that, so you couldn't have a paddle. What!? Meanwhile, there were the lifeguards in Palma, who - we had been expressly told - would be preventing people from going in the sea.
To add yet further to the confusion, it was said that it was up to individual town halls to decide if people could go in the sea to do sport.
Lounging around on the beach will be possible from Phase 3. Alcudia town hall was therefore preparing for the great day, which should be the eighth of June, when sunloungers will be back in demand and when moving more than one kilometre is likely to become a reality.
The return of the terraces
In Palma, the federation of residents associations has quite often given the impression of being like an additional political party at the town hall. Supporters of all things terrace reduction that the ruling administration has applied over recent years, the federation was thus aghast at the prospect of apparent allies abandoning reduction principles.
The town hall, Alberto Jarabo made clear, wasn't going back on policy. But there had clearly been a Eureka moment at the Cort when it was realised that terrace sizes will need increasing, not reducing.
The German advance guard?
While statements from German ministers were indicating that staycations may be the order of the summer, Tui were hard at it preparing to fly tourists again. The Balearics will be Tui's number one choice in Spain, the tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, was proud to announce. But when might flights resume? The second half of June was being talked about. The German government may well allow German citizens to fly abroad then. May allow. The German government had announced an extension to a ban on all non-essential and tourist travel until mid-June. This wasn't the same as saying that the ban will be lifted in the second half of the month.