Masks no longer mandatory outdoors in Mallorca

Mask-free Saturday, but not for everyone.

26-06-2021Laura Becerra

It was like election night when there's a delay because of a recount. What were they all doing on Thursday evening? Double-checking, treble-checking the data? But eventually the results of the data recount were known. Cheers rang out from British bars, or did from those which were open; president, ministers, leaders of business groups prepared their acceptance speeches; and airlines frantically scheduled planes and let the algorithms rip with the prices.

It was coming home. British tourism was coming home, and the Brit bars were desperately hoping that England and Wales could delay their exit from Euro 2020 (aka 2021) beyond June 30. Everyone should have been wearing an Irish green in recognition of UK-wide travel beneficence, but what was this? Did green actually mean green?

It did, but it wasn't a lush verdant green of assured summer travel. There was a hint of amber, more than a hint, as Grant Shapps had come up with something known as the green watchlist, and Mallorca and the Balearics will, from 4am (BST) on June 30, be being watched. Step out of line, and the light will promptly switch back to amber.

Quarantine or tests?

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel seemed intent on putting the mockers on Mallorca's Brit euphoria. But Spain's foreign affairs minister, Arancha González Laya, made clear that Spain wasn't about to be imposing quarantine on British travellers, insisting that the policy will remain as it has been since the last week of May - no test required.

However, President Armengol, the tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, and the Mallorca Hoteliers Federation were as one in calling on the Spanish government to require travellers from the UK to present a test to enter the Balearics (this request appeared to apply to all foreign travellers and not just Brits).

The rising incidence

The amber light had in fact started to flash on Wednesday, when the highest number of new positive cases since the first of May was reported - 60. On Tuesday there were 51, and on Friday - for a two-day period because the ministry took the day off for the Sant Joan fiesta - there were either 162 or 164, depending on which source one took. The 14-day incidence for the Balearics had climbed above 50.

The Spanish student "positives"

The regional health ministry was calling for screening of workers at hotels where Spanish students had been staying, but was otherwise relaxed about all the cases of positives among students once they had returned to the mainland - getting on for 500 on Friday. Regional infectious diseases committee spokesperson, Javier Arranz, said that these cases hadn't been "bad for the situation" in the Balearics.

Even so, questions were being asked, not least how the student end-of-course trips had happened (and continue to happen) in the first place. There has been some anger in Mallorca that there have been any trips, resorts where they are based fully aware of what they're like. Iago Negueruela added to this sense of anger by saying that they hadn't been authorised and that the Spanish government is being called on to take legal action against organisers.

Mask free

And everyone was gearing up for the great day - masks removed and left to litter the streets. All available authorities - the national minister of health, President Armengol and so on - were reminding us all that masks will still have to be at the ready the moment it appears that we will be within 1.5 metres of someone outdoors.

A cursory glance on the streets provided sufficient evidence to indicate that many had pre-empted Masks-off Saturday. As to ongoing enforcement in situations where masks should be worn outdoors, who can say.

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