Naked man in Palma, Mallorca

"Now then, sir, would you mind telling us why you're not wearing any clothes?"

28-08-2021

And so Mallorca ended the week just as it had started the week - A for Amber and for August. As autumn nears, will an autumnal amber continue, or will there be a spring-like green to guide the Island of Calm towards deep midwinter and a season of truly exceptional extension? Travel experts will be opining until the next review, the media will faithfully be reporting their every oracular prophecy, and President Armengol will be sticking to the hope that the shutters in the resorts won't be pulled down until gone Christmas.

Scheduled seats for winter flights were looked upon favourably - if one accepts that 70% of pre-pandemic scheduled seats are favourable. These didn't, however, suggest that there is likely to be an extension to the season that will be any longer than in the past. And nor did discount offers being made by the hoteliers. Into early November, and that'll be your lot.

60% of 2019 tourism

In the here and now, as in what is still summer, the tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, observed that it was "great news" that the islands were turning out 60% of 2019 tourism figures. He trusted that this positive situation "will continue for as many months as possible" and so was also clinging to the hope of exceptional extension, especially if this means that employees can work long enough for the contributions to mount up so that they can claim benefit.

The strategy of having been the first region of Spain to have opened to tourism had been "working". The season was in fact better than had been anticipated, and there wasn't much doubt - given figures reported last week - that Mallorca and the Balearics have been outstripping other regions by some distance. In July, 42.5% of all overnight stays by foreign tourists in Spain were in the Balearics.

The courts say no

The Balearic government got itself into a right old pickle over what the European Union insists we should call the Digital Covid Certificate but which everyone refers to as the Covid passport. Having not bothered to consult the courts before making the passport a requirement for attending large events, the government realised that it probably ought to. Rulings in other regions were not in favour of the passport, and so authorisation was sought. The Balearic High Court said no.

For most of us, this decision was of greater relevance to future attendance inside bars and restaurants. The government's plan for the passport to be needed to get into a bar was now dead in the water. Having said no to large events, the court won't be about to say yes to bars. The statement from the court was unequivocal. More than a preventative health measure, use of the certificate would have sought to "force citizens to be vaccinated".

Vaccination frustration

Everything was being done in an attempt to reboot the flagging vaccination campaign. The government was wanting Madrid to legislate so that court decisions don't continue to put the kibosh on measures such as the passport for bars. But in the absence of such regulation, the government was left with "recommending" double vaccination for large events and calling people who haven't booked vaccination appointments. Half of them haven't been answering the phone.

There was obvious frustration, as existing stocks of vaccine and ongoing deliveries would allow enough jabbing for the population to reach the new, Delta variant-adapted target of around 90% herd immunity some time next month.

Naked in Palma

When the weather is hot, public health issues standard advice. Wear light clothing, for instance. The advice doesn't stretch to wearing no clothing, even if this might be more comfortable. A naked man in Palma, it appeared, had decided that he wanted such comfort. Wandering around the centre of the city kit-off, he didn't seem to cause much of a fuss. Nevertheless, the long arm of the Palma law needed to have a word.

We never did find out what this word was. Technically, he wasn't breaking any law, but there are always Palma bylaws to consider.

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