The End of Lawless Leisure – by Andy McKay, Founder of Ibiza Rocks

L-R Andy McKay, Pepe Rosello, Abel Matutes Prats

After a financially paralyzed year for most of Ibiza’s hospitality and entertainment sector, the Covid vaccine is finally being implemented and the future is starting to look much brighter for the island’s tourist economy. A moment that should be positive and for the main leisure companies of the island to come together to create the most attractive vacation proposal with the aim of safeguarding tourism in 2021.

On the contrary, the ruthless internal battle continues between the opposing political parties and hotel and club owners on what kind of tourism and business are considered acceptable. There is a cure for Covid but there is still a debate and a desire to kill the tourism sector that feeds the economy of Ibiza. The irony of this situation is quite incredible, not to mention that it is enormously detrimental to securing a future.

Pepe Rosello, the founder of the Space nightclub is publicly pushing for the permanent closure of day clubs and beach clubs, as well as trying to deter the under-30 tourist market. I wonder if this reasoning may be really justified as he was the original pioneer of discos. Or is this damaging public tirade more about Roselló’s bitter feud with his former partner and fellow Ibiza leader Abel Matutes of the Palladium Group and Ushuaïa because he didn’t renew his Space nightclub rental?

To put the subject in perspective, back in the 1990s, the owners of big clubs like Space were the kings of the island: they had extreme influence both in terms of power and importance, they controlled the entertainment scene and promoted a large part of the ever-growing tourism economy. Pepe Roselló was one of those kings and nightclubs during the day were a big part of his business. In the 90s the ‘Carry On’ party at Space was the 2nd biggest party at their world-famous club. That changed in 2001 with the start of Carl Cox’s Tuesday night residency. Pepe decided to be both a day club and a night club and this was the beginning of a much more lucrative time for Space.

Later, Pepe worked with promoters to develop what became the hedonistic 22-hour Sunday party “We Love.” In 2007, Roselló had created a monstrous business where the clubbing season began and ended with giant festivals of 15000 people and his nightclub had grown to the point that bringing together 8000 people for each party was the norm. It was a smart move: the terrace outside was closed and the club increased enormously in size. Roselló and his business partner Abel Matutes were indeed a formidable partnership then, but it was Pepe and the Space team that really made the club work and Matutes received a percentage of the profits as owner of the Space building.

Pepe now refers to “lawless leisure”, but in fact he was one of the kings of that golden age. Even later, when nightclubs were forced to enclose, the sound level outside their buildings was well above what is acceptable today and the opening and closing times were largely the ones that club owners wanted them to be. There were laws, but they were largely ignored. Almost all companies violated the laws, but only the truly powerful could do so without fear of retaliation.

Pepe was and is at the top of the tree and few caused problems that he could not solve. But he knew that after hours couldn’t last forever and by 2008 when the local government prevented clubs from opening until 4.30pm, Pepe was generating almost all of his income after that time. The after hours legal parties ended in 2008, the government successfully stopped this trade and Pepe was smart enough not to suffer financially; he was an unbeatable and in many ways irreplaceable force in Ibiza’s entertainment industry. However, the main problem he faced was the same as Pacha icon Ricardo Urgell: the problem of succession.

Matutues owned the Space building and it was during his association with Pepe that he proposed to convert the hotel across the street into a branded Space hotel, but Pepe always refused. Roselló’s ability to adapt and grow his business into the future will go down in Ibiza’s history as unsurpassed. He was the man who had created an outdoor terrace that was the best place to continue the party and then moved on to the evening hours while having the unique skills to drive people to the disco at 8 o´clock, 5 or 6 hours earlier than less skilled competitors. His vision was truly inspired and yet as he got older he naturally chose to slow down, but the entertainment industry around him didn’t.

Pepe now attacks people who previously worked with him, such as José Luis Benítez, current manager of Ocio Ibiza. Benítez works for Matutes today, but in the glory days of Space he was one of Pepe’s most loyal employees. Roselló attacks the lack of legality of these new leisure venues yet all the laws required to police this scene already exist today. Instead of being in the era of “lawless entertainment” we are in the final transition to fully regulated and legal entertainment and this transition requires time and understanding, as well as the application of laws and the redrafting of some that are not of the law.

And in this intriguing story, I appear. A young Irishman co-founder of one of the most important parties that has taken place on the entire island of Ibiza: Manumission and also co-founder of the Ibiza Rocks Group.

In 2009 I invited Abel Matutes Jr. to a live concert in the courtyard of my hotel, Ibiza Rocks, to show him this innovative concept and to negotiate the launch of Mallorca Rocks at a hotel owned by Matutes in Magaluf. Matutes proved to be a very useful partner for me and, with the help of his army of lawyers and technicians, we were able to legalize the Mallorca Rocks Hotel’s open-air concert activity, which became an instant success. He then used the same legal process to obtain the permits for the Ibiza Rocks Hotel and then Matutes legally launched Ushuaïa; A hotel idea inspired by the same model of the Rocks Hotels but instead of live bands they hired world-class DJs and changed the entire panorama of the entertainment industry in Ibiza overnight. While the Matutes empire enjoyed this new success, I was dealt a very bitter blow, which has given me fascinating first-hand insight to not only deal with it, but to push myself to better myself.

At that time I had 3000 beds in the Mallorca Rocks project in Magaluf and after 5 years of continuous growth Matutues turned over the properties to the BCM empire and overnight I lost practically all my Mallorca business. He found another person who invested around 18 million euros in his properties and carried out the roadmap that he had suggested to expand the business. It was a very tough trick and it hurt as I had been the one who had shown the Matutes family the way forward and inspired the idea of ​​Ushuaïa and, as a direct result of my ideas and passion, they had transformed their entire business by increasing its value by hundreds of millions. However, this helped me to come back and improve myself and thus continue working. I also have to say that my business only exists today because Matutes helped me get all the necessary permits and licenses.

Exactly the same thing happened with Pepe at Space, so I really understand him but I also acknowledge that Matutes did nothing wrong other than making smart decisions for his own benefit without empathy for anyone else. He did the same to Pepe as he did to me, but I also fully recognise that without his skills and involvement, my own business would not exist today, because from that setback I had no choice but to recover and grow.

Being upset that Matutes acted as he has done many times before and being commercially astute and uncharitable towards his partner is no reason to launch a hate campaign against everything new on the island that arose out of these post 2011 changes. Matutes gave me exactly the same treatment that he gave Pepe, but next time I would be much smarter.

I admire and respect Pepe Roselló very much and I really feel that he has been fundamental in the evolution of the Ibiza entertainment industry. Pepe and his team were true innovators and he was the owner of the club with which it was easiest for me to do business. I respect him and I like him a lot. With that said, I am convinced that his current schedule is motivated by his bitterness towards Matutes and it is ridiculous and hugely damaging to the islands entertainment industry to try to disguise it as anything else.

Matutes took advantage of the enormous talents of Yann Pissenem and Ushuaia to go from strength to strength. His daytime concept became competition for Space and, while Ushuaïa’s revenues increased, Space’s began to decline. The Matutes team felt they could do a better job exploiting the building themselves and the fact that Hï is now the most successful club on the island is proof that they were right. Space was Pepe’s greatest achievement and at his peak he had something that many believe Hï will never achieve, so it’s easy to understand the anger and sadness over losing something that he had worked so hard to build.

As for my story with Pepe, when I arrived on the island in 1994, some 26 years ago, I was 23 and I launched the Manumission events in Ku (Privilege) and shortly after our ‘Carry On’ after hours parties at the Space day club . Back then, Space only had a daytime party on Sundays and our Manumission after party on Tuesday mornings. Most people left Privilege around eight in the morning for Playa d’en Bossa.

While some ventured into the dark interior of Space, most waited for the terrace to open at 10am to experience what really was a magical party. We all cheered as planes flew overhead. In my opinion, at the time, Space was the best run club in the world. Pepe was tough, controlling the use of illegal substances, but the reality is that people came from being up all night to continue the party.

This is the true story of Pepe Roselló but the truth is being distorted today to adapt to a completely different one to damage Matutes, which is understandable in the sense that he hurt him deeply.

It suggests that these hotels are illegal and yet I have all the permits and licenses to operate my “open air auditorium” at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel. We do not generate noise pollution and there has not been a single moment when Ibiza Rocks Hotel has violated the legal limits of sound in the last 3 years. I don’t think all indoor discos can say the same. Contrary to the claims that hotel establishments like mine only paid 10% VAT between 2013 and 2016, instead of the 21% that nightclubs paid, it is completely false. It is a fact in the public domain that Ibiza Rocks paid VAT at 21%

How can Pepe Rosello be the man to lead this movement against daytime leisure? He was the king of after-hours and tried to open his own Space Hotel in San Antonio to emulate Matutes’s business model. Together we turned Playa d’en Bossa into the biggest after hours the world has ever seen and we dominated the area acoustically, but I wasn’t responsible for Space, Pepe was. How can he now have credibility in trying to stop others who follow in his footsteps and evolve the tourism model by finding new ways of doing things, like we are, all inspired by the fantastic example he set?

Why should we get into a fight based on bitterness, anger and bad blood that is not ours? I simply won’t tolerate it or let my legitimate, hard-earned business suffer from it. Covid has set the world and Ibiza back, and we undoubtedly risk a drop in quality as a result. While the repositioning of the tourism proposal is essential, it is also essential to recognize how much repositioning has already been done. The skill is not about killing the things you don’t like, but about embracing and supporting the things you like. If you don’t have a better idea to replace something you are trying to eliminate, the resulting void invariably results in a reduction in quality and creates the opposite effect as desired.

Today, unlike in the 90s, Ibiza is not just parties and discos, there are other leisure offers that make the island a much more varied place and we must also not lose sight of the fact that beach clubs and hotels with music are not ‘after hours’.

Original Article published in The Periodico de Ibiza on 13 December 2020

Health Checks for (nearly) all Balearic Arrivals

From 20 December a negative PCR test is required to enter the Balearic Islands, not only for International visitors but now also for national travellers from the mainland. Balearic Island residents will also be given the option of undergoing a free antigen test on arrival or spending 10 days in quarantine.

The news was announced by Francina Armengol, president of the Balearic Government, after a virtual meeting with her Canary Islands counterpart, Ángel Víctor Torres, aimed at agreeing on a common health control strategy for both autonomous communities whilst also highlighting that the same geographical conditions that make the islands less competitive are now their biggest asset when it comes to sanitary control.

It’s important to remember that you will still need to have a valid negative PCR test (from max 72 hours before your arrival) if you are travelling from an international airport, the new control protocol establishes 3 different groups of ‘national’ visitors from non-Balearic ports and airports.

The 1st group is for arrivals (non-residents) from Spanish airports with a cumulative incidence of infections greater than 150 per 100,000 inhabitants (currently everywhere except Murcia, Canary Islands and Ceuta), who must present a negative PCR test certificate on arrival if asked, carried out no later than 72 hours before arrival with fines for those who don’t have one.

The 2nd group is for travellers with ‘justified’ reasons such as work, health, judicial duties, exams and other causes of force majeure. In this case it will be enough to present a responsible declaration and to have an antigen test on arrival or agree to undergo quarantine. All of this would be unnecessary if they have of a negative PCR test as above.

The 3rd group is for Balearic residents who will have 3 options. The 1st is to get a free PCR test at origin in one of the 67 health centres arranged by the Balearic Government in the other autonomous communities, this is the recommended option. The other 2 options are to have an antigen test at the port or airport or undergo a 10 day quarantine.

Balearic residents who have spent less than 72 hours outside the Islands (day trippers/weekend traffic) would be exempt from any of these controls plus there is also an exemption for federated sports people who travel due to competition obligations.

It should be noted that children from 0 to 6 years old are exempt as are residents who travel between islands.

The new regulations will come into force on 20 December and will last until at least 10 January 2021 although the government reserves the right to extend if necessary.

Original article published in El Mundo

San Antonio’s Ferry Dilemma

San Antonio’s Ferry Terminal

The debate over the return of passenger and cargo ferries to the port of San Antonio shows no sign of letting up with the topic splitting the local community while politicians get hot under the collar.

The passenger terminal was closed by the previous San Antonio council in February 2019 for environmental reasons although the closure caused a political stir as the mayor at the time was also the president of Es Nautic yacht club who were seen as the main beneficiary of the decision.

The existing ban on ferries ends in little over 3 weeks, on 31 December, and the current incumbents of San Antonio town hall have indicated that they wish it to reopen the route although it’s a decision that comes from central authorities in Mallorca so for now it’s all about lobbying and arguing the case for and against.

In October the sitting coalition council had a rare split in its ranks when PxE voted with the PSOE/Podemos opposition to try and block the return of passenger/cargo ferries to San Antonio. Yesterday the same 3 political parties held a press conference to reiterate their position, once again citing environmental issues and saying the return of polluting ferries to a picturesque port would fly in the face of the strategic plan for the town.

The ferry companies haven’t done themselves any favours in the past using the beautiful port as a racetrack, speeding in and out like a raging bull knocking everything out the way then unloading its cargo to congest the roads. The footfall is open to debate too so many believe that ferries are of little or no benefit to the town especially when there is a custom made port only 10 miles away in Ibiza town.

Ibiza Town Mayor Rafa Ruiz has also waded into the debate saying he is in favour of a return while Sant Josep’s Mayor has said he is against. It seems everyone has an opinion but not many are aligning.

Others say that a port brings much needed business to the area and is only open 6 months a year so something is better than nothing. Even Mayor Marcos Serra is conflicted on the subject holding public meetings to get a feeling from the town, hoping that a consensual decision can be made by the local population rather than putting his head above the parapet and risking the ire of a substantial block of voters.

The decision from Mallorca will soon be made but the debate rumbles on in the island’s press, in local bars and coffee shops and in many ways has been a welcome distraction but for now San Antonio’s striking glass passenger terminal stands alone and empty, a white elephant, a beacon of the town’s ambition but also a shining example of it’s divisions.

PCR tests a step in the right direction but…

From 23 November all international travellers arriving at Spanish airports and ports from high risk countries must have a negative PCR test certificate to gain entry into the country. This certificate is a prerequisite and is included in the online form that generates a QR code that’s scanned on arrival.

Ibiza doesn’t have any international flights until January so isn’t directly affected by the new regulations but Mallorca has daily flights from countries such as Germany and Switzerland who’s passengers will now have to abide by the new rules

Other countries such as Greece have had the PCR test requirement in place since the summer but Spain in their better wisdom have only brought in the regulation now as the winter is upon us. We can argue about the timing but let’s just say ‘better late than never’.

Although the negative PCR test isn’t an ideal safety net (you could catch the virus on the way to the airport for example) it concentrates the mind and stops people traveling who suspect they have the virus but for reasons only known to themselves are unwilling to give up their holiday.

But there is one big flaw in this new cunning plan. Many countries have a lower infection rate than Spain and national arrivals, such as Madrid and Barcelona, are still allowed to come and go to the Balearic gateways without the need to show any proof of health. Recent history has shown that it is Spanish families and groups of friends who are spreading the infections more than others.

As an Island community the Balearics is in a unique position where it’s able to control it’s borders (Ibiza only has 1 airport and 2 ports) so when will the Balearic government grow a spine, start using common sense and insist that ALL arrivals, no matter if they are national or international, must show a negative test before entry is granted?

A small controversial caveat should be that Balearic Island residents are exempt from the test so that day trips and connectivity to the mainland are an option but national tourists gaining entry from Spanish airports shouldn’t be exempt especially as the numbers in their regions are so high.

Also the Balearics should follow the lead of the Canaries and not just accept the overly expensive PCR test but also the rapid 30 min tests (RDT’s) that are much cheaper and up to 80% precise. No system is infallible but the right noises must be made to deter potential spreaders from entering the islands.

This might mean that in the short term we don’t have the mass tourism that we have been used to over the last 20 years but quality over quantity is better than a 3rd wave due to a lack of courage in policing our own borders in a rigorous and effective way.

The Balearic Government hasn’t covered itself in glory during this pandemic but they now have the chance to be the authors of an economic recovery by taking the tough decisions and leading the way until a tried and tested vaccine is readily available to the masses.

Nightclubs v Beach Clubs – Ibiza’s Battle Supreme

The vaccines trials are almost over and there’s a growing confidence that summer 2021 will get us back to some form of normality but there’s an interesting local debate rumbling in Ibiza about how tourism should return after the pandemic.

Some are using this crisis to suggest that Ibiza should reset itself and emerge as a more conscientious destination, questioning the need for so many hedonistic options rather than focusing on natural, cultural and gastronomic pursuits.

Some are also putting pressure on the local authorities to regulate ‘beach clubs’ who they say operate on licences that don’t genuinely reflect what’s happening insides their venues.

Pepe Rosello, the owner of Space, has been a high profile critic of beach clubs as he sees them as unfair competition against the highly regulated nightlife sector.

In his latest open letter to the local press Sr Rosello highlighted that in 2005 the Ibiza government forced nightclubs to cover all open areas then in 2008 forced them to close from 6am to 4.30pm. This coincided with the growth of beach clubs who filled the gap for those wanting adult fun in the sun which his club particularly catered for when opening at 6am.

Rosello has also been a constant critic of Ushuaia (which isn’t surprising as this is the company that evicted him from the legendary club that he built over 3 decades) but he does come up with some valid points including that Ushuaia and other hotel venues were allowed to initially pay less VAT than some of their direct competitors (but this has now been amended).

Rosello isn’t the only one having a chip, local journalist Xescu Prats from the Diario de Ibiza has also weighed in with a veiled attack on Ushuaia and other beachfront venues who’s loud music disturbs the wider population.

What is clear is that these and others are using the pandemic to put pressure on the authorities to further regulate the leisure market to make it a more level playing field in a highly complicated and competitive area where venues operate under different forms of licence.

This story will rumble on over winter but it will be interesting to see whether the Ibiza authorities have the desire to challenge the existing order and regulate further especially as they know that devaluing your core product after the biggest crisis tourism has ever faced is a very dangerous game to play but they may also see it an ideal time to strike while the iron is hot. Watch this space.

A Ray of Hope for Summer 2021

The news has been tough reading for us here in the Balearic Islands over the last few weeks but finally we have had a couple of items of good news.

Firstly, business and government leaders in the Balearics made an announcement that went under the radar. Not only did they say that they are pushing for the Islands to get back to business at the end of March 2021 to prepare for an early easter but they also explained that they will recommend that tourists do a PCR test at origin but if they don’t then a quick test will be given at ports and at airports on arrival.

This is a very significant development as for the first time we are seeing a specific strategy put in place. There will be some logistical details to iron out but the right noises are being made about the need to get the Balearic tourist economy back up and running by working with the virus rather than waiting for a miracle cure which brings me nicely to the next piece of positive news.

A vaccine trial from Pfizer and German company BioNTech has produced very positive results with a 90% success rate. This is only 1 of 11 vaccines currently in the final stages of testing and its early days but is another glint of hope that some form of solution to the global pandemic is not a million miles away. Governments and scientists are urging caution so we shouldn’t celebrate too soon but it’s clearly a step in the right direction.

Many Ibiza residents are already in financial difficulties after the stop-start summer and it’s unimaginable what would happen if we had another one similar so these 2 pieces of news gives us hope that summer 2021 will happen on some level. As we tip toe back it might not be the mass tourism model that we have previously seen but we have to start somewhere and something is better than nothing.

There’s a long way to go but theres’s also 5 months until the start of the summer so plenty of time for these 2 things to solidify and form into definite propositions to regain customer confidence and to get the Balearic economy back into action. It will be a long road to recovery but any significant morsel of positivity is always more than welcome.

New State of Alarm but with a Difference

It wasn’t entirely unexpected but it was still a blow when Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez announced on Sunday of a new national state of alarm (SOA) to start immediately.

This one is different. Unlike the last nationwide lockdown when families were unable to leave their homes for 7 weeks this version allows movement, shops and restaurants to stay open and, importantly, the measures will vary from region to region depending on the severity of the situation in specific geographical areas.

The only common feature is a national curfew from 11pm to 6am although regions have the power to change this by 1 hour either way. Cataluña for instance have imposed a 10pm-6am curfew whereas the Balearic Islands have now opted for 12am-6am after an appeal from business owners. The Canary Islands are exempt from the new regulations due to low contagions.

The SOA has been introduced for an initial period of 15 days however the Spanish government has said that it intends to keep it in place for up to 6 months in an effort to flatten the curve of the virus that has seen a 2nd wave take hold of large swathes of Europe and beyond.

Even though this is a political tool to give local governments the power needed I would have preferred an extension for an initial 3 month period. 6 months strays into May 2021 which is the traditional start of the summer season in Ibiza and any encroachment into this month sends out the wrong message so far in advance especially when things can change quickly, as we saw last summer.

Spanish regional governments now have the legal powers to bring in any new measures necessary to zones and neighbourhoods within their region such as what we have already seen in Ibiza when the urban areas of Ibiza Town and San Antonio were put into lockdown for 2 weeks.

Regions also have the power to close their borders to neighbours with higher virus numbers (something the Balearics haven’t done). Spain will now fight the virus on a local level. level overseen from Madrid.

For us here in Ibiza all eyes will be on Francina Armengol and her Balearic coalition government to see if they can get the numbers down and Ibiza back to business. As the Canary Islands have shown, the new local rules can be used for our benefit due to the unique geography of the islands.

The Balearics now have autonomous control over who comes in and out of the islands so can bring in rules to suit any situation. The big question is whether our regional and local government have the will and understanding to take the big decisions that can get us out of this mess?

Ibiza’s Winter of Discontent

It’s now over 6 weeks since the end of the shortest Ibiza summer on record. The fact that we had any summer at all was a bonus but that doesn’t make it easier, as the temperature gets cooler we are now staring a long anxious winter squarely in the face.

Many on the Island haven’t worked since October 2019, almost a year. How are people managing? Is it savings, is it handouts, is it a black economy? I can’t help thinking this is an island in denial, carrying on regardless faced with the biggest crisis of a generation while posting old photos through misty eyes. But what else can we do but soldier on and hope for the best?

The Balearic Islands (along with the Canaries) are unique within the economy of Spain in that they rely almost entirely on tourism and for that market this is the perfect storm. European governments’ strategy of ruling by fear means that many are now petrified of setting foot in an airport even though the stats show it’s virtually impossible (27 million to 1) to contract the virus while flying.

Press reports say that a vaccine is ready now but won’t be rolled out until Christmas or the new year at the earliest. This is a thorny issue as there are plenty of anti-vaxers out there especially as it’s been rushed through but it’s probably the best bet to get back to relative normality.

As always it’s the not knowing that’s the most damaging and it’s especially difficult when the mainstream media has it’s own agenda of shock and awe whilst armchair experts on social media are ready to troll anybody who doesn’t see it their way. Faced with exactly the same problem, worldwide governments have been doing things completely differently, making it up as they go along as there is no precedent. This tells us that nobody really knows what the best course of action is.

For now it’s time to batten down the hatches, cut our cloth accordingly and get through this winter of discontent as best we can – something that many are already accustomed to doing on an island with seasonal work.

Patience is a virtue and as history has shown it’s only a matter of time before we will get back to normal. Not even a virus can take away Ibiza’s natural beauty, location or work ethic and before we know it, it will be time for the White Isle to rise once again and show the world what it’s made of.

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

Just when we thought the situation in Ibiza couldn’t get any worse. After not being allowed out of our homes for more than 2 months and after dubious political decisions curtailed the summer we now have an ‘urban lockdown’ for a minimum of 15 days in San Antonio and Ibiza Town.

As the old proverb says ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ and this latest measure is a step too far for many as the Balearic Government stumble from one crisis to another seemingly making decisions on the hoof without transparency. Not only does it create confusion, division and anger it also means that 2 neighbours on the same street have to live in completely different ways, how can this be right?

The Balearic Government in Palma has introduced these new restrictions before producing the data to back up the decisions. Today the local press is full of hastily arranged numbers trying to justify the actions but it’s too little too late. Take away liberty only after you have justified through genuine data and explained in detail why it’s the ONLY way forward.

For certain areas to be left out doesn’t make sense, either San An has a problem or it doesn’t. If it does then show us the details and bring in sanitary measures that address the problems, restricting liberty and using the population as lab rats in a social experiment whilst creating a ghetto mentality in the process is a very dangerous route to take.

This virus (like many others) isn’t going away so it’s about educating and encouraging people to avoid certain situations and to live in a different way that minimises risk although in life there’s risk every time you step outside your front door. Peddling the myth that we have to live in constant fear will have major repercussions for future generations.

Most new cases are from mixing in groups so if you take personal responsibility and avoid large groups especially with people you don’t know then the risk of catching Covid is negligible. Then again if you like to socialise and hug and kiss everyone you meet along the way including strangers then you have a fair chance of catching the virus but seeing as the death rate is 0.7% here in Ibiza then the chances are that you will make a full recovery. In fact if you don’t have underlying health issues then the chance of dying from Covid is almost zero.

Draconian measures that take away liberty have no place in modern society, the vulnerable need to be shielded but this has always been the case. For our sanity we need to get on with our lives but in the knowledge that we are responsible for our own actions.

That’s All Folks…..now what’s the plan?

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.