Playa de Palma, Mallorca

Autumn was coming. But will it prove to be an Indian summer?

18-09-2021Pere Bota

Here comes autumn. We'll go swimmin' every day. Oh let the sun shine bright on my happy autumn home. Yes, autumn was just five days away and the UK government decided that the time had come to unplug the summer green and amber lights and just keep red on standby.

Happy days indeed for Mallorca's tourism industry - happier anyway. As summer was drawing to a close and Jerry Keller's Here Comes Summer was wistfully accompanying its departure, an Indian summer of non-testing for returning double-vaxxed British (English at least) holidaymakers promised previously unknown October tourism riches. And who knows, maybe November as well.

Better late than never

Celebrating not joining Gavin Williamson in the ministerial dole queue, Grant Shapps relayed the joyous and simplified news. This was a simplification of the previous simplification of early August. You'll remember that one, it was when plus became detached from amber. Now there was no amber at all. "Better late than never," Maria José Aguiló, the vice-president of the Mallorca Hoteliers Federation, noted ruefully.

Magalluf ghost town

The Shapps simplification duly stated, would hoteliers in Magalluf and Palmanova now be having a rethink? Earlier in the week, a reworking of the Keller 1959 hit had not been on the Punta Ballena playlist. Instead, The Specials haunted the strip and the corridors of Calvia town hall, where there were fears of Magalluf becoming a ghost town.

All the hotels will have been closed down by the end of the month. Some at any rate, as hoteliers were said to be planning the closure of certain establishments and grouping holidaymakers in those hotels remaining open. The town hall's dramatic ghost town reference did rather overlook the fact that hoteliers have a habit of doing this anyway as the season draws to a close.

European winter

For the government, this was not the best of news. Determined to extend the season for as long as possible, so-called European winter activities are essential. These include the non-winter activity of the Magalluf literature festival at the start of October, an event that will surely have British (English) holidaymakers scrambling for every available remaining hotel bed.

A court lifeline for nightlife?

Meanwhile, autumn can't come soon enough for the beleaguered nightlife sector. Maybe clubs will open in October; maybe they won't. Representatives met Iago Negueruela, who kept to the line about wanting all sectors to open in the safest way possible. But had the Supreme Court thrown nightlife a lifeline? The court ruled in favour of an appeal by the government in Galicia against a high court rejection of the Digital Covid Certificate being a requirement for entering premises such as clubs.

Precedent set, and other regional governments will have been taking note, including the Balearics, which has been amenable to the idea of the certificate facilitating the opening of clubs (and to it being a requirement for eating and drinking inside bars and restaurants).

Bar capacities

The government was now coming under pressure to relax capacity restrictions for bar and restaurant interiors, and not only because Palma town hall had confirmed that temporary terraces on parking spaces will have to go by the end of this month. It didn't make sense, noted restaurant associations, to get rid of these terraces while indoor capacity was still just 50%. Will the certificate as a requirement therefore be revived? There is much opposition to this, not least because of an apparent impracticality of its application.

The hottest night

With the Indian summer beckoning, the met agency informed us that Tuesday night was the hottest of the summer. Minimum temperatures stayed above 25C in most of Mallorca, with a whopping 27.4C in Puerto Soller. Will it last? Did it last? Not exactly, as typically stormy September weather sparked off met agency yellow alerts. Here comes autumn.

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