Spanish news today
Publication date: 6/4/2020
Today it’s a bit like a pantomime except that it’s not funny
Frustrating indecision continues to hurt the chances that Spain will “capture” foreign tourists this summer, conflicting reports from government ministers continuing to generate frustration as decisions about opening borders and the type controls will be in place for those who wish. visiting Spain this summer is still pending.
Tourism representing 12% of GDP and the country welcoming 80 million visitors per year is an important subject.
It is understandable that there should be the fear of reopening the borders and possibly undoing all the good work that has been done, and the fear is visible every time we go out on the street, as if we put on all our masks and trying to live life as usual, fear is visible when passersby quickly pass the side to avoid physical contact, avoid their eyes when carts accidentally scratch in a supermarket and rub our hands with gel if we accidentally touched a doorknob, a handrail or a payment button when leaving the parking lot.
No one wants a second wave and there is real concern in many circles that the arrival of tourists from other cities in Spain and certainly from abroad could bring new cases to regions that have sacrificed a lot for fight the pandemic, starting the whole cycle. again. What will happen in the fall if there is a second wave is one of the most commonly expressed concerns among companies that are just beginning to recover from the latest brutal lockout that left many between us suspended by a thin financial net that could easily break if a second lock was necessary this fall.
But the pressure from companies in the hotel sector is overwhelming, restaurants, bars, hotels, those working in the leisure tourism sector in all areas of activity demanding the reopening of borders and foreign tourists who come to Spain this summer and “save the summer campaign.” “
The decisions taken by the “competing countries” for summer tourists such as Italy which opened its borders yesterday, or Greece and Croatia which intend to open on June 15 have sparked a certain panic in Spain, the hospitality industry terrified that vacationers are leaving Spain for other destinations, but government seems unable to choose and stick to one path, minister contradicting another, often within minutes of ad.
Thursday morning is a clear example.
This morning, the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Reyes Maroto, gave a press breakfast to foreign correspondents during which she declared that the borders with neighboring France and Portugal would be reopened on June 22 when the state of emergency is lifted, giving free movement between the three countries. This is something for which the regions of Galicia and Extremadura are pressing, anxious to revive their tourist activities. She said there would be “probably no mandatory quarantine for travelers from these countries”, while admitting that the measure “had not yet been officially approved”.
The quarantine restrictions would be gradually lifted, she said, on the basis of a reciprocal agreement with other countries and taking into account the epidemiological situation of these nations, that is to say if they find themselves in a “position similar to that of Spain in terms of virus control”.
However, she was unable to give details on how this exchange worked and how French and Portuguese tourists could enter and move around, as flights to the mainland are limited until July 1 . It was also unclear whether this would allow tourists from the United Kingdom, for example, to cross France and enter via the road network. Would they be allowed to enter via France for “non-essential reasons” such as tourism?
Borders are currently closed for all non-commercial or essential traffic, a control that has been in place since March 17. The permanent extension of the state of emergency will now end on June 21, after which a new decree will have to be published if the borders must remain closed or if controls remain in place, because once the state of emergency is over , the powers of the government to control movements, also concludes. For this, a new document is in preparation and will be presented to Cabinet on Tuesday.
Foreign correspondents did their job and in a few minutes the headlines went around the world announcing the “good news” that Spain would reopen its borders with France and Portugal from June 22.
However, soon after, the government issued a “clarification note” stating that the outside movement “could be extended beyond the conclusion of the state of emergency.” The June 22 date was “tentative,” the statement said.
But “provisional” was not the word chosen by the Portuguese government which quickly made its own clarification of the situation by saying that any decision to open the border with Portugal was within their competence and would be taken by them, not by Spain. Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva expressed his “surprise” during the announcement, “Portugal will decide whether or not to open its borders,” he said.
We were told that clarifications would follow to define the limits and clarify the procedures for admitting foreign tourists, that is, they should undergo any form of testing, would their movements be recorded in any way whether for contact tracing, etc., etc. most importantly, would restrictions be imposed on countries from which travelers could come. As of yet, that clarification has yet to be released, although on Monday we had further indications of what “might” happen at airports, including Covid tests
Transport Minister José Luis Ábalos announced yesterday that legislation establishing the protocols to be followed by airlines carrying tourists will be released “soon”.
But we still don’t know exactly when or what. So those who try to book still can’t do it with absolute certainty.
Probably, maybe, maybe not… ..… .. take your pick.
To confuse matters, the ministers of transport and tourism have now declared that regions leaving phase 3 before July 1 can welcome foreign tourists from June 22 “if they can in hygienic conditions”, flights are now offered to the regions most likely to meet these conditions, namely the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, which are both already in phase 3.
Presumably, their statement that “any” region could do so means that technically any region could open its doors to foreign tourism before July 1… ..the official reopening date of Spain for tourists , but quarantine controls are still in place? Would there be tourist flights before July 1? Would a family crossing France be allowed to enter Spain and cross the country to a coastal area like Murcia through several regions?
We have been told that quarantine checks end when the state of emergency ends on June 21. What will happen for the period from June 22 to July 1?
And British second home owners are naturally troubled by all of this. Social media this week has been filled with confused potential vacationers trying to clarify what’s going on; can we drive in Spain via France before July 1st? Is there any guarantee that we can enter Spain if we book a flight now? If we book a flight now and then Spain says we can’t enter, will we be entitled to a refund? Now that the UK has imposed a 14-day quarantine, will we have to quarantine after coming to Spain for a vacation? If we fail a Covid test at a Spanish airport, will we be sent home without a vacation? Will we have to test before flying?
Prime minister a lot of help
The British public is quite used to questioning the dodge of politicians. Asked at the Downing Street briefing about new quarantine restrictions in the UK, whether he would recommend people booking overseas vacations to the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the public to “Follow the directives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs” (which advises against travel other than for essential reasons). the reasons). “We have to hit this virus on the head,” he said. Okay, so no. ????
“A position similar to that of Spain in terms of virus control.”
It’s the killing sentence that leaves everything in the air. On Tuesday, the Minister of Tourism unleashed a wave of headlines in the British media that British tourists could not travel to Spain in the early summer when she said: “We are studying the implementation of safe roads with other countries that are on the same epidemiological level as us “, following the reflection processes suggested by the EU, countries should seek to establish” green corridors “or to secure” travel bubbles “thanks to reciprocal agreements with other countries to open trips.
“As far as the UK is concerned, there have been discussions with the tour operators but the British data still needs to improve, as it is important to make sure that the person is well and then comes back well. “
The Minister of Tourism said that as soon as conditions improved in the United Kingdom, Spain would be ready to welcome British citizens “with the same hospitality as ever”.
But at the moment, although the EU has issued recommendations, there is little coordination, so although the Spanish Minister of Tourism said again this week, “We must avoid that each Member State unilaterally decides that it this is a safe destination, “There is NO body doing it on behalf of the world, so for now, every nation has to make this decision for itself, including Spain.
Let’s be honest, the UK is knocking on the door of 40,000 people with the constantly increasing death rate and Spain has reported only one death in the past 3 days so chances are Spain will treat countries on an equal footing ?.
So we are now in June, Spain is supposed to open its continent to foreign tourists from July 1, but we still do not know under what conditions, who will be allowed to enter, whether they will have to undergo a test or not and if they will be monitored in any way.
So far, we are told that there will be no quarantine, but as the days go by and reservations are made for other countries, pressure from the hospitality sector continues so that firm decisions can be made.
And the only certainty is that, AT THE MOMENT, British tourists cannot enter mainland Spain until July 1.