British holidaymakers arriving in Ibiza.

Were holidaymakers nervous ... ?

22-08-2021Daniel Espinosa

The gaps between UK travel reviews result in there not being any meaningful UK government travel policy news. These gaps need filling somehow. Hence, there is no shortage of experts and commentators willing to hazard a guess as to the star or booby prizes to be handed out when Grant Shapps next presents his quiz show 'Play Your Traffic Lights Right'.

Nervous holidaymakers, we were told, were fretting over Mallorca and Spain turning red. This was based on what seem to have been regurgitated percentages of British holidaymakers returning from various destinations and testing positive. The incidence and case rates in the Balearics and elsewhere have meanwhile been tumbling. Still, the nerves were jangling ahead of the latest review, expected on Wednesday and when Grant can invite his audience to play the traffic lights right. "For Mallorca and Spain, is it green, amber or red?" "Green! Green!" "Oh dear, I'm afraid it's red. Rather than the star prize of a dream holiday, it's the booby prize of ten nights in a quarantine hotel at 2,250 quid a throw. Better luck next time!"

For the record, it's almost 100% certain to still be amber (say experts and commentators).

Covid certificate deal or no deal

The Balearic government was meanwhile coming up with a sort of 'Deal or No Deal' for the Digital Covid Certificate. Having started the week by making the certificate a requirement for mass events and going to see elderly relatives in care homes, the government then turned its attention to the likes of gyms and restaurants. In order to take one step through a portal of these establishments, the certificate would be needed.

Nothing firm was announced, and there was the slight matter of what our learned friends have to say about all this. The Supreme Court in Madrid ruled "no deal" for an Andalusian government regulation. High courts across the land were likewise rejecting proposals.

The Balearic government's proposals were all part of a plan for getting everyone vaccinated (as many as possible anyway). The deal was - be jabbed and you will be able to sit inside a warm bar when winter comes. No deal was a cold and damp terrace and being rushed to ICU with hypothermia.

"Irresponsible" not to be vaccinated

Another plan to boost the flagging vaccination campaign was to shorten the waiting time to be jabbed for those who have had Covid. Six months were slashed to one month. In addition, the vaccination "walk-in" scheme for anyone, which doesn't require an appointment, was deemed a success - 40% or so of first-time jabbees (4,146) didn't have an appointment.

Which still left an awful lot of people going nowhere near a vaccination centre. President Armengol said that not being vaccinated showed "a lack of respect", while those working with vulnerable people - care homes, hospitals - were "irresponsible" if they didn't get vaccinated. She was right in this regard, and the Spanish government is to be pressed for regulation to make vaccination obligatory.

1am or 2am?

The kind of a curfew that applies between 1am and 6am was extended, though the health minister said there would be an island-by-island review on Monday. Minorca and Formentera social gatherings are due to be allowed 2am because of an incidence rate below 450. Mallorca would remain 1am because of a rate above 450.

On Friday when Patricia Gómez made this announcement, she quoted Thursday's incidence figures. Mallorca was 477. By Friday, Mallorca was 456. Come Monday and it is almost certain to be below 450. The big anxiety behind the social gatherings ban is the botellón. Will the government accept 2am for Mallorca as well?

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