The tourist summer is over, it was ‘fun’ while it lasted if a little stressful. Many are becrying that it only lasted for 2 months whereas others (including me) are thankful that we had anything at all. If you’d have offered me 2 months when locked inside my house in April I would have broken your arm off.
Some businesses took the easy route and stayed closed while others chanced their arm and took a punt. Well done to those who tried their best to make it work against a background of political shenanigans that made swimming against the tide in shark infested waters look relatively easy.
The business owners who did open soon realised that they weren’t in control bringing on a rollercoaster of emotions and just when we thought things were improving, some chinless wonder in a London office made decisions based on dubious science that affected everything. The UK quarantine guidelines at the end of July effectively ended the summer season for many. After everything the island had been thorough it was a bitter pill to swallow.
In recent weeks Ibiza has seen a spike in infections. It’s gone from low numbers to what on the face of it seems an alarming rise however when you scratch away at the surface a pattern is forming. A new PCR testing regime has seen a spate of new infections but well over 90% of these have been classed as ‘light’ or asymptomatic (where the person is showing no symptoms and doesn’t even realise they have the virus). This is a new era of Covid: infections up, death rates down.
Hospital admissions in Ibiza are up and down because many don’t have anywhere to safely isolate so stay in hospital until receiving the all clear – so these numbers can be misleading too. Like many countries the virus in Ibiza is now mainly being transmitted by the under 40’s who work or live together but who can also shake it off easily with a spell indoors and a box set for company. The focus is to protect the vulnerable but that has always been the case especially during winter and flu season.
So the reality of the situation is that on an island with an approximate population of 150,000 (135K official) we are talking about less than 30 ‘serious’ cases of Covid. Tragically there have been 14 deaths but again, when you scratch the surface, all but one had underlying health issues. In the 6 months since Covid started ruling our lives I wonder how many deaths the island has had from cancer, heart failure or even suicide? It’s an interesting debate.
Now the latest news/kick in the teeth is that the socialist Balearic government (based in Palma) has announced new measures for the urban centres of San Antonio and Ibiza Town. From this coming Friday at 10pm for a minimum of 15 days movement is restricted and groups meeting up cannot exceed 5. Bars and restaurants are to close at 10pm. While the bar terraces can stay open, public playgrounds remain closed. Kids are back to school wearing masks yet mingle freely before and after college.
So many mixed messages while businesses close down at a rate never seen before with no help from those implementing the same restrictive measures that are ruining their livelihoods, it’s hard not to be concerned for the future.
So talking of the future, what is the plan? The Balearic Government seem intent on shooting themselves in the foot taking a hammer to the situation with their reactionary behaviour, like the Keystone Cops stumbling from one crisis to another while offering little or no help to those most affected. This latest lockdown is a good example, being brought in when evidence suggests that the problem is starting to improve. Surely the message should be sanitary coupled with personal responsibility rather than more restrictions which can cause confusion, division and anger.
The hope now is that Ibiza can get through the next 6 months relatively unscathed, re-emerge from this situation and prepare for summer 2021. The corona rollercoaster is still very much in operation but the hope is that the ups and downs gradually become less and less so some normality can return to our lives.
Summer 2020 has been an ‘interesting’ ride but a tourist island needs tourism and those tourists need to feel safe. The mixed messages from the Balearic Government have to stop and some real leadership and hope needs to emerge.