Playa de Palma on Thursday night. | Europa Press


We all knew, as it didn't take much figuring out, that the Balearic government's curfew and limits on social gatherings had in mind what happened on Thursday night into Friday morning in Playa de Palma - the botellón, and not a minor one at that either. Lifting the curfew was always going to be somewhat problematic in preventing street drinking parties, but the government still had its fallback position - the social gathering limits.

The Supreme Court's spanner in the works

But along came our learned friends in the Supreme Court, who threw a mighty great spanner in the Balearic restrictions works. Annulling the curfew was neither nor there, given that it was ending anyway, but declaring that limits on social gatherings were invalid ... that was a different matter.

The government will say, has said, that the botellón is illegal. In Playa de Palma, as a specific case in point, there are the town hall's "special tourist zones", ones with particular ordinance to clamp down on the likes of the botellón. The tourism of excesses decree also applies to part of the resort. Yet for all this, and it could have been predicted, the botellón took place.

Ten is just a number - a recommended number

Palma is reasonably well resourced when it comes to police. So is Calvia. But who were back out on the prowl in Magalluf once the curfew was annulled? You've guessed it - the so-called prostitutes. There are, nevertheless, only so many police, and not everywhere is reasonably well blessed with them.

Such was the curveball that the Supreme Court had thrown that it was left to the government to say pretty please, don't gather in greater number than that which we had contemplated would be the case - ten outdoors. The recommendation is ten, but recommendations aren't much good if youthful elements are determined to gather in rather greater number. And because, let's not forget, regular bars are closed gone midnight and the clubs are closed completely.

So, as sure as night followed Supreme Court ruling day, the party had started. Predictable it was, but after all the time under restriction, you could understand that they wanted to be out.

Tourism season deflation

The UK government didn't so much throw a curveball as a deflated beach ball. For the Balearic government, it was Black Thursday, the UK's amber confirmation coinciding with the Supreme Court's decision. The safe start to the tourism season, which the government had said was the objective all along, looked to be in tatters. But, as we were told, some 60% of all German holidaymakers are bound for the Balearics, and there are also the Dutch, the Italians ... . Not everything was lost, even if it felt like it.

Still, we can look forward to another three-week spell of green list speculation and of hoping to God that - vaccination or no vaccination - the incidence rates don't spike and make the season disappear in a puff of amber turning red smoke.

Masks - for how much longer?

Some-time purveyors of epidemiological doom, Fernando Simón and Javier Arranz, formed a double act with a degree of joy last week. The director of the Centre for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies suggested that, by the end of July, masks outdoors may not be necessary. Simón's sort of Balearic counterpart, the spokesperson for the regional infectious diseases committee, felt that it would be "reasonable" to dispense with masks outdoors this summer. Arranz didn't offer a date, but Francina Armengol remarked that "the Balearic Islands are not yet considering doing away with the use of masks outdoors".

Despite what any of them had to say, general observation on the streets suggested that many are under the impression that the mask obligation has already been abandoned.