Spain holidays: Balearic Islands ramp up stricter measures to tackle holiday hotspots

Though the Balearic Islands, along with the Canaries and the rest of mainland Spain, are currently omitted from the UK travel corridor list, many Britons have still decided to go ahead with holiday plans and accept the need for quarantine. Yet new strict rules being enforced in popular Balearic holiday hotspots could restrict the typical vacation experience for those still in the country.

New measures, including localised 15-day lockdowns if needed, are to be introduced in the Islands to try and stop the spread of coronavirus in popular areas.

President Francina Armengol announced that from Monday the Balearic government will be able to impose special measures in any areas of Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca or Formentera.

These could include limiting people’s movements by telling them to keep off the streets at night and also reducing capacity.

The Balearic president said the Ministry of Health could decree special measures in the “hottest areas” or those with the highest incidence of coronavirus and they could last for 15 days.

She said it was absolutely vital to get the second wave of Covid-19 under control, with new cases now being reported once again in old people’s homes and care centres.

There are currently six active outbreaks in Mallorca alone.

The Balearic president appeared at a press conference this morning with Minister of Health, Patricia Gómez to announce new security measures in the face of the increase in coronavirus infections in the Balearic Islands in recent weeks.

Patricia Gómez said the Balearic Islands would now have very demanding measures, very similar to those that existed during phase one of Spain’s de-escalation period which started with the lifting of the State of Alarm on June 21.

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Fifteen municipalities will be most affected: Palma, Valldemossa, Santa Maria, Inca, Deià, Esporles, Marratxí, Alaró, Binissalem , Banyalbufar, Llucmajor, Ibiza, Sant Antòni, Ciutadella and Sant Lluís.

Just a week ago, the Executive imposed the mandatory use of masks in the workplaces, the closure of beaches at night, the reduction of capacity of bars or restaurants to 50 percent, the prohibition of smoking in public unless social distancing could be guaranteed and limits on social or family gatherings to a maximum of ten people, among other measures to try to stop infections.

The islands are the European region most affected by COVID, according to the classification of 173 sub-state entities on the continent updated periodically by The Economist.

Since the pandemic began, a total of 8,770 cases have been detected, of which 2,237 remain active and 244 people have with coronavirus have died in the Balearic Islands, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

Francina Armengol said health officials would be able to step in to any municipality, town, village or district to impose whatever measures they felt were needed, depending on the severity of the coronavirus outbreaks.

The new measures are “to try to stop transmission within the community and protect the population”, she said.

It is planned to cut the number of people meeting up together socially to five, whether in public or private, and to increase coronavirus testing in any of the areas where special intervention is needed.

Around 100 soldiers are additionally set to be drafted in to help tracking teams find contacts of all those people who test positive, bringing the team to 340. This is a ratio of one tracker for every 3,500 inhabitants.

Similarly, mainland Spain has also ramped up measures in tourist hotspots to tackle the spread of the virus.

In the Costa del Sol, tourists are being banned from beaches after 9pm at night.

Beaches will remain closed until 7am in order to stop late night gatherings.

Other new regulations also impact entertainment in hotels, as well as large events.

Children’s entertainment in hotels is being restricted and any large gatherings, including weddings, will have their capacity slashed.

Active tourism and nature activities will also have to follow new guidelines.

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot

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