Spain:Devastation for winter holidays to Majorca – strict covid measures set to stay

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With the UK travel ban coming to an end, and the promise that quarantine will be reduced to just five days from December 15 thanks to the new “test to release” scheme, many Britons may be eyeing up an escape to the sun in December. However, for those hoping to visit Spain’s Balearic islands, authorities have warned that lockdown regulations in the country will be maintained.

Tourists heading for the Balearics have been advised to expect different levels of coronavirus regulations depending on which island they visit.

What’s more, unlike in the UK, Spanish authorities are adamant these rules will not be relaxed for Christmas, as the islands are put on a new system of alert.

Government officials this morning announced that Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera will now be on tiers which will affect how long pubs and restaurants can be open for, how many people can mix in public and the duration of night-time curfews.

President, Francina Armengol said this will come into effect on Saturday and will be reviewed every 14 days.

She warned that measures will differ not just from island to island but from municipalities and districts as well.

The announcement comes as the Balearic government confirmed that any local resident visiting any of the other islands for a Christmas break will get a PCR coronavirus test free of charge.

There is no news yet about whether this might be extended to international tourists, including British visitors, who are currently required to pay for their own test within 72 hours of travelling to Spain and must show their Covid-free certificate at the airport or port on arrival.

There will now be five alert tiers in the Balearics, with level zero indicating “normality”.

Health chiefs will look at the cumulative incidence of coronavirus cases at 14 days, in those over 65 years of age, the positivity rate, the degree of occupation of the hospitals, whether the outbreaks are controlled or not.

Currently, Formentera is at level one; Menorca, two; while Majorca and Ibiza are at level three.

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Francina Armengol said the curfew will remain in the Balearic Islands until there is no risk. Specifically, in levels one, two and three the curfew will be from midnight to 6am. At level four, the curfew is from 10pm to 6am.

She also highlighted the importance of ventilation and said catering establishments will have to install meters to see if they have good air quality. If not, air purifiers will have to be installed.

The president also encouraged as many activities as possible to be carried out outdoors. The government has additionally asked local councils to help catering establishments and shops to occupy street spaces.

“COVID-19 continues to infect and kill which is why we cannot relax,” said Francina Armengol.

The island of Ibiza, with 179.8 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, is now at level three, along with Majorca; Formentera at level one and Menorca, at level two.

The restrictions will also affect occupancy levels allowed in the common areas of hotels and in shops, cinemas, theatres and auditoriums.

Masks must still be worn in all public places and the ban on smoking on terraces continues although from Saturday, people can smoke on the streets with social distancing.

Francia Armengol stressed the levels of health alert are the ones that will govern the measures applied at Christmas time and that the restrictions “will not vary for a few specific days.”

“The virus infects the same whether there are parties or not,” she said.

Under level three, up to six people may meet both indoors and outdoors.

Currently, Spain and the Balearics remain off the travel corridor list meaning holidaymakers will have to quarantine on their return home.

However, the new “test to release” scheme will launch on December 15 allowing Britons to take a test five days into their quarantine.

If they provide a negative coronavirus test they will be free to go about their day-to-day lives.

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.

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