Very, very tough measures
On Tuesday, President Armengol observed that "very tough" restrictive measures had already been adopted in Mallorca and that their effect needed to be assessed.
There was little assessment to be made. It was all pretty clear. The number of cases continued to climb, "social relaxation" (the president's words) having placed the island at epidemiological "extreme risk" (the health minister's words). The little assessment was there for all to make, including the government. Very, very tough measures were thus needed, and they were duly announced on Friday - bars and restaurants will have to close.
Waiting until Tuesday
Having already been reduced to just ice-cold terraces on the wrong end of the influence of Storm Filomena, closing the terraces might not make much difference, if January's weather continues to be as rotten as it has been - starting from this coming Tuesday. Yes, the extreme risk was such that the very, very tough measures could wait until then, meaning that there were a few days of social relaxation to pack in before a fortnight of bar life moratorium.
Closing the stores
At the same time as the terraces will fall silent, so also will non-supermarket stores larger than 700 square metres; those of 699 square metres will be exempt. Because of this, there will doubtless be more heavy traffic heading to the likes of FAN Mallorca Shopping on Monday in order to beat the Tuesday shutdown and grab bargains in the sales that were denied by stores of 700 square metres or more having been ordered to close over this weekend.
Everyone was off to the shops last Monday. As they had been unable to go last weekend, they all headed for the mountains instead. There was snow and there were was no shortage of vehicles parked all over the place. "Colapso," complained the mayor of Escorca on at least two occasions. Escorca was collapsing, while the huge influx threatened the municipality's record of being the only one in Mallorca never to have registered a case of coronavirus.
The citizens of Escorca, all 208 of them, were no doubt barricading themselves inside in case Palma social relaxation ventured too close. Meanwhile, the mayor might have felt inclined to ask for a primary care Covid flying team to go and give any snowmen an antigen test, just in case.
An excessive amount of Palma social relaxation might have been avoided had Palma been subject to a perimeter lockdown. But then, only very tough measures were in place last weekend. The very, very tough ones - it was being speculated - could indeed see barricades being erected on motorways and other roads to prevent anyone getting in or out of Palma, other than the thousands with justified reasons for getting in or out.
As things turned out, it was just speculation. Traffic will continue to flow freely, even if it won't be going in the direction of FAN, El Corte Inglés, Ikea and other outlets - as from Tuesday. Mobility will in any event be restricted because of this, the government spokesperson Pilar Costa appeared to suggest.
The very, very tough measures - save for perimeter lockdowns or home confinement, that is - would have met with the approval of regional infectious diseases committee spokesperson, Javier Arranz. Now was the time, he declared, for there to be a tightening of restrictions.
Part of his reasoning was that the "stability" in the incidence rate of infections was only temporary. "Precisely because there is stability, restrictive measures would help to improve the number of infections," Dr. Arranz said, adding that we have yet to see the impact of Three Kings. Perhaps so, but the stability was such that yet further records for daily numbers of cases were being recorded.