Being Spain, it was like the Goyas rather than the Oscars or the Baftas. Also being Spain, it was the Spanish health minister who opened the envelopes. "And the winners of De-escalation Phase 1 are ... ." If there had been anyone available to hug, there would have been a great deal of hugging going on in the winning provinces/regions. For the losers, they had to drown their sorrows and look to better days ahead. Two more weeks; one, if they were lucky. For forty-nine per cent of the Spanish population, it will still be Phase 0.
Majorca sailed through to Phase 1, as we knew that Majorca would. If we had been unsure, there was always the health minister to reassure us with figures for infection, hospitalisation, ICU admissions, recovery and available beds per head of population. Bars were making preparations for the great day - terraces will be rammed tomorrow, as rammed as it is possible for them to be at 50% capacity and with appropriate distancing measures.
Preparing to fly
Hotels on the other hand were not making preparations. Certain chains, such as Barceló, were making clear that they won't be restarting operations until Phase 3 has ended, let alone getting going in Phase 1. With, among other things, communal areas having to be closed during Phase 1 and mobility severely restricted, there is very little point in their opening.
The Majorca Hoteliers Federation was pointing to July being the starting time, while Lufthansa was announcing that it will be ready to go to specific destinations - Majorca being one of them - even as early as the first of June. Jet2 was preparing to fly at the end of June, the German tour operator FTI was saying that packages for Majorca will go on sale from this coming Thursday.
The missing crucial information
We were being inundated with news of what airlines and tour operators were planning without there being one crucial piece of information - when airports will reopen for international tourist travel. The EU, we learned, is due to make a pronouncement on Wednesday. This may provide some clarification; there again, it may not. As to an announcement being made regarding a date for Son Sant Joan, there was some scepticism, not least because the Spanish government has avoided giving specific dates for anything, save the timetable for Phases 1 to 3, none of which contemplate international travel.
Protocols were being presented for hotel and tourist establishment safety and for beaches. These protocols contained little that we hadn't previously been aware of, such as limiting capacities on beaches and the installation of screens between sunloungers if adequate social distancing is not possible. For hotels, we were introduced to the concept of the assisted buffet and to the need to limit client "manipulation and intervention".
The Spanish National Research Council was meanwhile letting us know that the risk of coronavirus infection from sand and from sea and pool water was negligible - there is "very little probability".
State of alarm extension
Prime Minister Sánchez managed to gain Congress approval for a further extension to the state of alarm, but he faced far greater opposition than he had previously. The Partido Popular accused him of operating a "constitutional dictatorship", while Vox said that the prime minister was "trying to blackmail" Congress into renewing a power that he had abused. If Sánchez seeks yet another extension, the politics will be testier than they already are.