Owner of a bar in Manacor, Mallorca

Bar and restaurant owners weren't happy about the latest restrictions in Manacor. (Tom Riera, Bar Karma in Manacor.)

31-10-2020Maria Nadal

Fooling around

"Don't call me a fool." Tourism (economic model and employment) minister Iago Negueruela looked set to invite the leader of the PP outside, as tensions rose in parliament and the PP knew full well that Negueruela has a short fuse. Mild-mannered speaker, Vicenç Thomàs, was forced to intervene and note that "gestures" coming from the PP benches were inappropriate for the chamber. What were these gestures precisely? We can probably guess.

No corridors as such

The opposition had marched into Tuesday's parliamentary session firing on all cylinders. The Canaries had corridors with the UK and Germany. The minister observed that these were "not safe corridors as such". Not that the opposition were satisfied with this odd explanation. Negueruela had done nothing and had instead banked on "hibernation", while the Canary Islands had managed to avoid the state of alarm and to obtain corridors, to boot.

ASAP

There was also still the presidential early-morning bar affair. Francina Armengol had turned the Balearics into a "laughing stock" and had "wished to take the citizens of the Balearics for fools", opined Biel Company of the PP. The president once more apologised profusely and removed any possibility of there being a 1am (or later) repeat by signing up to the state of alarm curfew.

As for the corridors, everyone was getting on-message. Armengol, Negueruela, Catalina Cladera at the Council of Mallorca; the government was working to ensure there will be corridors "as soon as possible". ASAP had thus become a euphemism for, in all likelihood, some months down the line.

The moveable curfew

Company was as confused as many citizens. The president had at one point ruled out asking for a curfew to be applied, "but a couple of days later, she signs up to it ... this only confuses the public and creates uncertainty." Indeed it did, as one minute there was an 11pm curfew and the next minute it had been put back an hour to midnight.

Representatives for the bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, etc. all howled their disapproval of 11pm, so the government swiftly agreed to a modification. This would bring some relief to already hammered businesses, but in Manacor there was worse to come. With infections out of control, the city was placed in confinement for fifteen days. In Ibiza, meanwhile, the curfew's start time, having briefly been put back to midnight, was then advanced by two hours to 10pm.

Closing the Balearics borders?

The citizens were further confused when it emerged that regional governments might be able to take their own decisions in abandoning the curfew. Then it was said that this wasn't the case. Another aspect of the new state of alarm was that the regions could decide to close their borders. Some did, but President Armengol announced that this wasn't being considered for the Balearics, only for the government's scientific advisor, Margalida Frontera, to suggest that it was being considered, meaning no non-essential flights or sailings between the Balearics and the mainland.

Testing and a plan

With cheery soul Dr. Javier Arranz suggesting that the cumulative incidence of cases per 100,000 could reach 500 (rather than an at-present 205) in three to four weeks time, a move such as closing the ports and airports increasingly looked like a no-brainer. But this didn't of course prevent consideration being given to tourism and so therefore to testing of tourists as well as the seemingly distant safe corridors.

The Balearics were considering a testing regime like that in the Canaries, and all talk was now of testing and of a unified plan for travel and testing in the EU. Jet2's Steve Heapy made a plea for such a plan, which was nothing new, as the travel and tourism industry as well as politicians (including Spanish) have been crying out for one for ages.

Tour operators also made the case for the tourist tax being used to pay for tests. Would such a use satisfy the "purposes" of the sustainable tourism tax, as set out in law? Possibly not, but there is sustainable and there is survival.

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Rich / Hace 4 months

All this talk of the numbers of infections. Surely we should focus on the ratio of numbers of deaths and the number hospital beds taken up by covid sufferers with relation to the known infections. I'm sure many thousands of people get colds/flu each year but do we publish these numbers? It's almost like the authorities enjoy publishing increased numbers of covid infections....not to mention the excuse it gives them to behave in an autocratic manner free of restriction.

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