Masks will remain obligatory (especially indoors) for the foreseeable future. | Efe


There we were, one moment being given the impression that Covid was over and that restrictions had been consigned to the bin of government decrees to await collection by the dust cart, assuming the workers weren't on strike again, only for there to be a qualification. No, only some restrictions were disappearing - like capacities in bars and restaurants. The comparatively non-restrictive new normality should still require masks until consumption time and not a hint of tobacco smoke on the terraces - except for the smoke blown over those doing some mask-less consumption by smokers who nip off the terrace for a cheeky gasper.

The president of one of the restaurants associations wanted smoking to return to the terraces. People can't quite understand, Alfonso Robledo observed, why they can't sit a table for a fag but can light up a few feet away. There are only two regions in Spain where the terrace no-smoking rule still applies, and the Balearics is one of them.

Covid passport for clubs

At least Robledo has no need to voice concerns about certain other measures, such as the Covid passport being a requirement for getting into bars. The government seemed to have knocked that idea on the head (or had done until it was raised again on Saturday), but it was still wanting it for discos. Our learned friends at the high court have been asked to authorise an extension for another month until the day of the Immaculate Conception, by which time another one will no doubt have been sought for up to two days after Epiphany.

Here comes another wave?

It was as well that not all restrictions were being cast aside. President Armengol felt it necessary to reassure us that if there is a sixth wave, the Balearics will be prepared. Sixth wave? Maybe it would be. Waves have come and gone, and everyone has lost track as to how many there have supposedly been, except for the president. If this wave does indeed wash over us, it will not be comparable to others, she continued.

The president was therefore certainly allaying our fears on a day when "a big rise" in cases manifested itself. This big rise may have had something to do with there having been hardly any testing on the other islands on Sunday, but rise there nevertheless was. Then there was a decrease.

Winter bums on seats

The season, the official season that is, had all but expired. However, it still had some life left. Palma was looking forward to a bumper weekend for All Saints, though as the holiday only entails a long weekend, things will be less bumper come Tuesday. Still, there was good news about winter flights. Or at least the seats on winter flights - 6.6 million for Son Sant Joan between now and the end of March.

These seats include those departing as well as arriving, and - as we pointed out - they don't of course mean bums on all seats. More than half of those which do arrive will be from Spain. The winter season for foreign tourism was therefore forecast to be much as it has been in the pre-Covid past.

No trams, but strikes anyway

The bin men decided to call off the threat of more strikes, and negotiations were proceeding. Meanwhile, rail workers were carrying out industrial action in protest at plans for the tram. At best, it will be 2026 before the tram starts rolling along to the airport from the centre of Palma, but the workers want to ensure that the government's own rail operator, SFM, gets to manage the trams and not some other outfit.

Workers with the Palma town hall-run EMT company had their say. EMT should operate the trams. Mayor Hila explained that the town hall hasn't give the matter much thought and pointed out that the funding has yet to be approved.

"Unstoppable" plans

The mayor respected the views of the EMT workers, but businesses and residents were once more complaining about a lack of respect shown to them with regard to the town hall's mobility plans. They are "unstoppable", stated Hila. His critics warned that they will cause "economic ruin", while the lack of participation in the 'Palma Walks' plan that associations have been particularly critical of was also a complaint of Santa Catalina residents. Town hall traffic plans for the district include trees to supposedly act as an "acoustic screen". Residents described this as "ridiculous".