The European Super League was unveiled, and to believe certain club presidents and owners it was to be the saviour of football. European big-hitter clubs were to be saved. Alas for them, the plan collapsed in the face of universal recrimination, especially from fans. Meanwhile, holiday fans would have been offering no such dissent as the European Tourism Super League set about saving the summer. No breakaway was intended. Quite the contrary, as the tourism equivalent of UEFA, i.e. the European Union, was being invited to put its hands into its pockets and pay for travellers' PCRs. Leading this initiative were the tourism big-hitters of the Balearics and Valencia - the star resorts of Magalluf and Benidorm were to be saved.
Green lights flashing
As the season edges ever closer, everything was being geared towards saving it. Mallorca, constantly vying for top spot in the Tourism Super League, sensed that its leadership was going to be sustained by millions of British holidaymakers. A place in the UK green light super league beckoned. When will the light be switched on by the Johnson government? The first of May, it was being suggested, and so from May 17, these holidaymakers will not be required to quarantine on return. That's the theory, anyway.
If only, and as ever, there was a bit more certainty. The EU's digital green certificate (aka vaccine passport) will help in ensuring some certainty, and Mallorca was on the super league list of destinations to be part of the pilot scheme in June. But the certificate may not be fully operational until the start of July - a month too late, argued business associations on the island. And there was also the matter of compatibility. The EU will be having discussions with non-EU countries, e.g. the UK, about guaranteeing compatibility with its certificate.
Tourism vaccine priority
The certificate clearly depends on getting vaccines into arms, while green or other lights may also be switched on according to destinations' vaccination status. The Balearics, fighting against relegation in the Spanish vaccination league, were urging a hurry-up. The health minister argued that a greater percentage of doses should now be delivered to the Balearics because the islands have a younger population than other regions.
This was as close as the minister could get to what she and the government really meant. The Balearics are dependent on tourism, and priority should be given for this reason. Other members of the super league were doing this, such as Turkey prioritising tourism industry workers, but the Spanish government has stuck to its non-discriminatory and ethical guns.
The new shift system
The saving of the season, the government has consistently told us, requires a slow and cautious "de-escalation" of restrictions. Bars and restaurants might have been hoping for interiors' reopening from tomorrow, but they would have known that this was highly unlikely. The health minister went early in signalling what the government intended. Interiors are "high risk", she announced. And as expected, there was to be no reopening from April 26. Instead, the government conjured up a new way of working for bars and restaurant by introducing a terraces shift system.
After May 9
The social dialogue table, frequently characterised by the business associations as a one-way monologue table, approved the latest measures whether business liked them or not. There was, however, some hint of a move on interiors. Meetings involving government and business are to be held from Monday about a reopening, the Confederation of Balearic Business Associations having floated the idea of there being a reservations' system from May 10.
That will be the day after the state of alarm comes to an end. We were still no nearer knowing whether the curfew will continue, the minister for the economic model, tourism and employment, Iago Negueruela, explaining that the government is waiting for a legal report so that it will know what can be done. If the curfew does continue, it will be an hour later - 11pm was the new start time.
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