“The worst is behind us,” Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya tweeted with emojis of bikini, sunglasses and a suitcase.
“In July, we will gradually open Spain to international tourists, lift quarantine, ensure the highest standards of health security. We look forward to welcoming you! “
Spain normally attracts 80 million people a year, with tourism accounting for more than 12% of gross domestic product and an even larger share of jobs, so the summer season is crucial to the possibilities of alleviating an impending recession.
Bars and restaurants in Madrid and Barcelona were allowed to open outdoor spaces at half capacity from Monday, but many remained closed because the owners weighed only the value of the food.
Some of those who opened after the gloved and masked staff cleaned the terraces and placed the tables away from each other were pessimistic.
” It is complicated. We are not going to be able to save the tourist season, unless [enough] foreigners are coming, “said Alfonso Gomez, owner of a restaurant in Barcelona.
On the streets, passers-by enjoying new freedoms were more optimistic. “It’s nice to feel a little bit normal again after so long,” said Barcelona writer and resident Rosie.
Madrilenos was delighted to be allowed to return to the main Retiro park.
” It’s awesome. I was really looking forward to doing it, just like my dog! “Said interior designer Anna Pardo, walking her pet in the sun. Others jogged and chatted in the shaded alleys of the Retiro or stopped for a moment to enjoy its lake, still devoid of the usual rowing boats.
While most students in Spain have yet to study online, some schools have reopened in the north of the Basque Country. The students’ temperature was recorded when they entered with masks.
Spain has recorded 28,752 deaths from coronavirus and 235,772 cases, but has seen daily deaths drop to less than 100 in the past week.
The prospect of foreign tourism from July lifted shares of tourism-related stocks, including hotel operator Melia Hotels, which rose 14% at the start of the session.
The tourism and recreation sector dominates the regions that benefit most from support from state-supported credit lines to help businesses. It has received 6.4 billion of the 38 billion euros (57.9 billion Canadian dollars) granted in recent weeks, according to data from the state credit agency ICO.
Jose Carlos Ramon, head of the Madrid restaurants association AMER, said that only one in four bars and restaurants in the capital had a terrace and that reopening was expensive. In Spain as a whole, only 15% have reopened, he said.
The government was due to discuss on Tuesday how to proceed with the phasing out of the foreclosure amid growing tensions between the regions and the central government.
The current system could be relaxed to allow a more tailored approach to each area. The Cabinet was also to announce 10 days of mourning to honor the dead of the pandemic.