New Year, Same Problems for Ibiza

It’s becoming hard to remember life before this pandemic. Dancing in hot sweaty clubs, hugging & kissing your friends, going to concerts, big thronging crowds.

At the start of 2020 we all had plans, objectives to achieve. It’s fair to say that many of us took life for granted, sailing along doing what was necessary to pay the bills and live our lives how we chose. Then in March everything changed.

All of a sudden it was like living in a horror movie, one of those movies that petrified you as a kid but was fun because it was never going to happen in real life. For us in Ibiza those first few weeks under virtual house arrest was a wake up call like no other, police roaming the streets looking for offenders who were doing nothing more then getting some fresh air, dogs had more rights than children.

While others around the world readjusted to the new normal, Ibiza’s only resource was taken away. Big cities have commerce and other industries but the White Isle is a one trick tourist pony and the stable door was well and truly bolted. All the things we previously took for granted gone in a Chinese heartbeat.

If nothing else it’s made us appreciate things, realise that we had it easy. Plane loads of willing summer tourists unloading every few minutes with pockets full of money, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. ‘Build it and they will come’ but take away your only true currency and there’s not a lot left to feed on.

Incredibly Ibiza had a summer of some sorts but it was very different with new protocols put in place. Many hotels decided to stay closed and by the end of August it was pretty much all over but an 8 week summer was more than we could ever have dreamed in March when we were locked up in our homes.

A short summer means a long winter but as we head into 2021 there’s a strange feeling of dejavú like we are all stuck in a perpetual Groundhog Day. This week Ibiza goes back in to level 3 (which looks suspiciously like level 4) and like many other places contagions are rising again.

It may be a new year but the same problems persist. Ibiza is an island where a minority are unwilling to play by the rules. Big parties at clandestine locations, an airport that is unable to control itself, families and friends continuing to meet up in large numbers behind closed doors, a general unwillingness to compromise on all levels. The list goes on.

The numbers don’t lie and the spike in contagions after the early December long holiday weekend will now be followed by an even bigger spike after Christmas because people are either unwilling to follow the guidelines or are too stupid to understand the potential fallout to their actions. It’s a dangerous game to play when you are reliant on the industry most affected by the ongoing problems.

The one bright spot is that the vaccine has now arrived on the island even though we had to wait 5 long days for it to be given out due to the festive holidays. While other places started immediately and worked round the clock nothing, it seems, gets in the way of an Ibiza Xmas party.

So we have some hard months ahead of us and the Easter restart for tourism looks optimistic but we must remain positive, things are evolving and Ibiza is a fighter. Even though there are some still unwilling to adhere to the rules the majority of the island are sticking to the script, ready and waiting for the resumption of relative normality, whenever that maybe.

Author: Martin Makepeace

Englishman living and working in Ibiza since 1991. Entrepreneur with a passion for villas, boats, sunsets and San Antonio. Read my blogs, listen to my podcasts and catch me on Radio One Mallorca every Tuesday morning.

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