A bar employee wears a protective face mask

A bar employee wears a protective face mask

10-07-2020FLAVIO LO SCALZO

Making face masks mandatory everywhere is likely to chase off tourists when Spain badly needs them, the Balearic Islands' business association said on Friday.

Tourism all but shut down in Spain in March because of the coronavirus pandemic and is only slowly resuming.

Spain goes further than other top tourist destinations in the region by making masks mandatory if maintaining distance of 1.5 metres is impossible.

The Balearic Islands and Catalonia - Spain's top foreign tourist destinations - have made the rule even stricter imposing them everywhere in public regardless of distances.

"We are against imposing more restrictive measures on tourists than the ones they have to abide by back home as it will dissuade them from choosing our islands," the Balearics' business lobby CAEB said, adding it was easier for authorities to decide on such coercive measures than act to protect jobs and businesses.

The constant rule changes were also a problem, said Marta Gonzalez, a representative for a tourism industry group in Catalonia.

"When you say one thing one day, the opposite the next, and the following day the opposite of the opposite - that's a problem," she said.

Spanish authorities changed their minds several times over when and how to open borders to foreign tourists.

Mask wearing is not compulsory except on public transport in Greece or Cyprus, with whom Spain competes for summer tourism.

In Italy, strict mask-wearing rules are in effect until July 14 in regional COVID-19 epicentre Lombardy, and elsewhere wearing masks is not obligatory outside for those who can keep a safe distance from others.

There will be exceptions in Catalonia and the Balearic archipelago - masks will not be mandatory when exercising, swimming or sunbathing on the beach. Flouting the rules will result in a 100-euro fine.

The smaller, southern region of Extremadura also announced on Friday that it would make masks mandatory everywhere.

Spain has curbed one of Europe's worst coronavirus outbreaks - with more than 28,000 deaths - but several small clusters have been detected in recent days, prompting local lockdowns in Catalonia and the Galicia region.

Catalonia recorded the country's second-highest death toll, while the Balearic Islands have been largely spared.

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Andy / Hace 27 days

There are so many people unemployed and with no benefits, It's imperative to get the economy moving again or the Balearics are doomed. The compulsory wearing of masks in all areas is a death sentence for the economy recovery. It's fine for those who can afford to live on their wealth pontificating but have a thought for those in real financial distress.

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Pollensa1946 / Hace 27 days

"Jimbo / Hace about 21 hours ...have no respect for anyone, no-one is wearing a mask, safe distancing seems to be unheard of to them and they bump into you whilst walking...."

Walk down any high street in the UK and find the same. Sad but true, so don't be surprised when they bring that behavior to Mallorca.

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Stan / Hace 28 days

Absoloutly correct to make compulsory use of masks a priority ruling. Anyone coming on holiday will feel safe and secure in the knowledge that Mallorca is acting 100% responsibly to protect their health and wellbeing. Tourists will be assured they are safe whilst on Holiday.

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steven s / Hace 28 days

So if I take my daily walk as my exercising ? crazy I can eat in drink with no mask in some places that are confined even though outside but can walk in a street that is empty ? No Mallorca for me , Cyprus or Portugal

+7-

John / Hace 28 days

This should have been “the start” of the season. But this is the official end! We are all ready to go and enjoy Mallorca. But not like a ninja turtle....

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Jimbo / Hace 28 days

The main problem is people seem to think the COVID-19 has disappeared, which sadly is totally wrong, most people are fearing a resurgence shortly. Sadly whilst we desperately need tourism, the tourists I have come across have no respect for anyone, no-one is wearing a mask, safe distancing seems to be unheard of to them and they bump into you whilst walking etc. This is how contagions spread. Without clamping down we will all be back in lockdown, more deaths etc. Prevention is better than cure.

+10-