Smoker in Palma, Mallorca

Stand still! Smoking allowed in the street so long as the smoker isn't walking.

28-11-2020Jaume Morey

Smoker statues

"If it moves, it's rude." This was the golden rule of the Windmill Theatre. So long as women posed naked as "living statues", the theatre had found a legal loophole to permit stage nudity.

It's not as though smokers in Mallorca are about to be standing stock still in the streets with their kit off, but they would do well to familiarise themselves with the Windmill rule, because if it moves, it's liable to a fine. Living statues of smokers will now be observed on the island's streets. If they take one step, they could find the long arm of the law reaching out from behind nearby shrubbery.

Mallorca's own five tiers

The smoking ban was being relaxed. There could be smoking on the streets, so long as smokers weren't wandering along blowing smoke and aerosols into the air and were two metres distant from anyone else. The Balearic government was devising yet more regulations, and smoking non-mobility was one of them.

These regulations were framed within a five-tier system. The Spanish government's delegate in the Balearics, Aina Calvo, offered praise in a Bulletin interview last Sunday for Nicola Sturgeon, and it appeared as if the Balearic government was following the Sturgeon guidelines, if only in terms of having five tiers.

Free tests for residents

Following someone else's lead was the order of the week for the government. On Tuesday, members of the opposition had insisted that there be free tests for residents of the islands returning from the mainland for the holidays - just like the government in the Canaries was doing. Lo and behold, two days later President Armengol announced that there will be tests.

These tests will be for the Constitution holiday early next month. There was no mention of Christmas, but by then it may just be possible that the government will have had a rethink and use rapid antigen tests rather than PCRs. Let's face it, any cost saving must be worth it right now.

Antigens at the airport

For the time being, however, antigen tests for travellers are being reserved for miscreants who arrive at the airport without proof of a negative PCR, and so from Monday the might of the "foreign" health service was deployed at Son Sant Joan in ushering PCR-less passengers to the antigen waiting room and asking them very kindly for a 300 euros donation to Covid solidarity.

The end of the beginning

With hardly anyone having a good word to say about PCRs for travellers, other than the Balearic and Spanish governments, hopes continued for a time when tests might be less necessary. Pedro Sánchez became vaguely Churchillian in not quite saying that it was perhaps the end of the beginning. Instead, and with vaccines on the way, it was the beginning of the end for the pandemic. With the end in sight, the prime minister offered the tourism industry words of encouragement. If expectations for the vaccine are met, 2021 "will be one of the best years for tourism in Spain".

Tourism experts

Which wasn't necessarily how some experts saw things. The Mallorca Chamber of Commerce had invited a trio of experts to discuss the impact of Brexit on tourism, and these experts concluded that Brexit would be of minor consequence compared with the impact of the pandemic on holidaymakers' pockets.

Meanwhile, the Balearic government had amassed a greater collection of experts. They comprise a committee for advising on tourism reactivation, their brief to come up with measures and protocols - more measures and protocols - for positioning the Balearics as a safe destination.

The government was in fact already undertaking this positioning. The Aetib tourism strategy agency launched a promotional campaign for the Balearics as a safe destination. Under the slogan 'We hope to see you soon', digital screens will soon be flashing in major cities, such as Birmingham, Glasgow, London, Berlin and Munich.

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