Ibiza Covid-19 Update – Monday 16/03/20

The reality is starting to hit home that Ibiza and the rest of Spain is on lockdown and under a ‘state of alarm’ that gives the authorities special powers to curb freedom of movement. This will initially last until 31 March 2020.

There are some who are still trying to bend the rules however we all have a duty to politely persuade them that this isn’t acceptable and that only by staying at home and minimising contact with others can we combat the threat of spreading the virus.

The situation is evolving by the hour and the rules will get tighter as the week goes on, we are already seeing supermarkets, fast food delivery outlets and financial institutions come up with specific guidelines, many flights have been cancelled and police are highly visible on the street. We should all stay calm and follow the rules and help to get through this as quickly as possible.

Thanks to Mayor Marcos Serra for sending a video message to the English speaking community of San Antonio and even though he needlessly apologised for his English it was very welcome and greatly appreciated.

To recap, he asked us to stay inside unless there is an urgent and justificable need for any of the following

To buy food

Go to the pharmacy

Go to the medical centre

Go to work

Care for the elderly, young and those who need our help

Go to financial or insurance institutions

Go to Petrol stations

The establishments that can remain open are as follows.

Food, beverages, basic necessities, medical, optical, orthopaedics, press, tobacconists, technology, animal food stores and laundries.

There was some initial confusion over dog walking as it is forbidden to go out for sports, although it’s now been stated that pets are allowed to be walked individually within your neighbourhood.

Others and I will continue to post credible updates on social media but the message is crystal clear so please follow the guidelines and stay home wherever possible. With everyone’s help we will be able to return to normal as soon as possible.

Best Regards

Special thanks to Lesley Donald and Tricia Templeton


Ibiza Covid-19 Update for British & Ex-Pat Community – Sunday 15/03/20

Dear All

The Covid19 virus is spreading rapidly and Europe is now the epicentre. These are unprecedented times not just for Ibiza and Spain but for the world. Whatever we are going through many other millions have been, will be or are about to go through the same situation.

Following China and Italy, Spain has now gone into total lockdown with a ‘State of Alarm’ for a minimum of 15 days which means that we are all confined to our homes except for absolute necessities such as food, work and health. It’s also very important to stay away from mass gatherings.

We all need to follow these guidelines wherever possible as the experts believe this is the best way to stop the virus from spreading. Other countries are doing things differently but we live in Spain and must abide by their rules and regulations.

The measures have been put in place until at least 31 March so hopefully there will be a speedy resolution to the crisis and we should all hope for the best but also prepare for the worst. An early intervention hopefully means an early resolution.

Everybody now has a role to play whether it be self isolating at home, shopping for neighbours, helping others or sharing relevant information that could potentially help.

At this difficult time please keep an eye on the elderly or those who need more help than others. These members of our community should be the priority during these difficult times.

The situation is evolving on an hourly basis so I will try and share all credible information I receive from local government sources via Facebook and WhatsApp. Follow other credible pages on Facebook that give information especially from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and local authorities here in Ibiza. Please pass on relevant information to those that don’t use computers or social media.

This crisis won’t last forever, there will be an end and the end will come sooner if we all stay calm, keep a clear head and follow the guidelines. Let’s pull together as a community, get rid of this problem and get on with our lives.

Best Regards
Martin Makepeace
San Antonio British Association

The Gamechanger

Everything has changed within a few days. This time last week we were still going about our business albeit with Covid19 at the back of our minds but now it’s firmly right in front of our eyes.

Every country has their own way of dealing with things. The Spanish were in denial but are now facing up to reality and the country will shut down completely for a minimum of 2 weeks. The Italians were late to address the problem and have paid dearly. Denmark has taken drastic measures even though they haven’t had a major outbreak while other countries try to prevent rather than contain.

No one really knows the right or wrong way to do things, this is unprecedented territory especially in a world with 24-hour news channels showcasing ‘experts’ while millions tweet their uneducated and sometimes downright ridiculous views directly from their sofa (or the Oval Office). Everyone wants to be part of this debate.

The mainstream media, who have their own agenda, have been peddling their own project fear for weeks. It’s what they do, it sells copy and draws viewing figures and pushes up advertising revenues but also needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Unfortunately some viewers, many who still think that Love Island is the real world, take it all in verbatim.

Interestingly the United Kingdom has taken a different approach to the rest by trying to carry on as normal but with clear instructions to the many thousands that will contract the illness in the coming weeks, it’s called herding immunity. Their position is that if they take drastic measures now then when the virus is at its most dangerous the population will be fatigued. An ‘interesting’ gamble.

What’s clear is that this new strain of virus is very dangerous for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions and it’s this part of our community that need the most protection and care. Over 95% of people who contract the virus will shake it off in a natural way and carry on their lives normally, so although the virus needs to be taken very seriously, this isn’t the Black Death either. Another caveat is that so far children haven’t been greatly affected by the virus but can spread the disease. It’s like a giant game of chess with lives and livelihoods at stake.

Here in Ibiza the reality is just hitting home that this summer will be like no other. From denial to anger to a realisation that the early part of the season will be a write off. Many hotels won’t even open until there is a clear indication that the virus is on the downturn. Let’s hope we all need a holiday after this.

The UK experts calculate that the peak will come in 10-14 weeks which takes us into mid to late June but things could get better before then. The best case scenario is that the summer season that traditionally starts in earnest in early May gets put back 6-8 weeks but it’s an evolving situation.

It’s not about profit anymore. It’s about survival, not only in a human sense but in business. The knock-on effect for the Ibiza economy will be nothing short of disastrous, just think of all those hotel cleaners and maintenance staff who won’t have a job or whose contracts will be downsized to match demand.

This is a time to follow the experts advice but also help your neighbours wherever possible, it’s a true test of human nature. Common sense isn’t something in mass abundance nowadays but it’s exactly what’s required. The changing situation can go both ways but it’s time to cut your cloth accordingly, prepare for the worst but also hope for the best.

Hopefully we can all come out of it with nothing worse than experience and we can look back and say that 2020 was the year that changed everything but made us stronger and, in Ibiza’s case, be more appreciative of what we had in the first place.

Just another bump in the road for tourism

The world loves something to worry about. The markets are reactionary and react to everything.

For the last few years it’s all been about Brexit and it’s effect on the economy of those reliant on UK business. Spain has sometimes been more consumed by Brexit than the UK and when you look at the numbers you can see why.

In 2019, Spain was the second most visited country in the world, recording 83.7 million international tourists which marked the seventh consecutive year of record-beating numbers. Tourism contributes over 10% of Spain’s GDP.

Out of the 83.7 million international tourists visiting Spain in 2019, almost 20 million were from the UK. That’s a big chunk of Spain’s economy right there. Brits love Spain and Spain loves the British pound, so of course Brexit was and still is a big preoccupation for the Spanish.

Brexit is now happening whether you/we/them like it or not so the constant chatter has ceased by everyone apart from the online fanatics but now we have our next ‘big’ thing to worry about.

The Coronavirus is totally dominating the headlines, our eardrums and eyeballs. Although the numbers are relatively low compared to flu, malaria and other common diseases the world has gone into meltdown.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist but my spider senses are dramatically aware that project fear has taken over. Any virus needs to be taken seriously but covid-19 has a death rate of less than 2% coupled with the fact that the majority of deaths are happening to the elderly, infirm and those with pre-existing health conditions. Most who contract the disease experience flu like symptoms then make a full recovery. This is not the Black Death.

However the knock on effect of project fear is catastrophic. World events are being cancelled, airlines are cutting flights, the world markets are in meltdown and tourism now has its next major headache.

Travel agents are reporting widespread cancellations, I myself have just cancelled a holiday to northern Italy. I still desperately wanted to go but my kids were adamant that they didn’t want to go to North Italy after watching the story unfold. Project fear won them over unfortunately and as we were due to be flying into the most infected area in Europe I decided to change our plans, we still travelled (of course) but Italy’s loss was Andorra’s gain.

It remains to be seen exactly where the Coronavirus takes us and how serious it actually becomes however the ace in the pack as always is the British tourists who are not easily deterred from taking their hard earned holidays.

Brexit and now Coronavirus are just bumps in the road for tourism but through it all the British tourist will carry on travelling and carry on spending. It’s hard to explain the British psyche to my Spanish friends however the good old ‘work hard, play hard’ analogy probably covers it as well as anything else.

Let’s hope this latest problem can be solved as quickly as possible but let’s also keep a little perspective and that life needs to go on. Project fear is only as big as we make it.