Spain: Coronavirus threat from tourists discussed by expert
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Police in Mallorca are reportedly planning to use drones when carrying out checks on tourist beaches. The checks are in place to ensure visitors are not breaking coronavirus regulations.
Furthermore, police are set to carry out spot checks in hotels.
Minister of the Presidency of the Balearic Government, Mercedes Garrido confirmed checks are being stepped up in the main areas of tourist influx, with inspectors launching a “special device” with the police.
Open-air terraces will be one of the main targets as this is where restriction numbers are being regularly breached.
They will also concentrate on hotels and restaurants.
Mercedes Garrido made it clear that tourists were not being picked upon as the checks would also be carried out in areas frequented by local people too.
However, there will be checks in hotels to make sure members of different families were not sharing the same rooms.
Further reinforcement will come from drones in the busiest areas such as beaches and recreational areas which might be more difficult to control on the ground.
If the drones detect crowds, the police are notified.
Urban beaches will also be subject to special surveillance.
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A number of families have already been warned about breaching rules dictating how many people can be seated at tables in bars and restaurants.
Anyone caught breaking the rules may face a fine.
Government inspectors have already joined the police in Calvia, which used to be Majorca’s party hotspot before the coronavirus crisis, to carry out a “thorough inspection” of a popular hotel.
They have warned the spot checks will continue, particularly over the Easter period.
Spot checks could also become the norm during the region’s busy tourist season if Britons are given the green light to travel again this summer.
Huge parts of Spain are currently experiencing a new surge in Covid rates, with fears that a fourth wave will cause devastating effects on the tourism industry.
However, in the Balearics, there has been a slight fall in the incidence rate.
The Balearic government has urged people to continue to stick to the rules in order to prevent further spread.
There are still extensive coronavirus regulations in force across all the islands, including in Majorca, Ibiza and Menorca.
These include social distancing restrictions in hotel common areas, bars and restaurants.
The Balearic government says that since sanctions were introduced, around 33,000 penalty cases have been drawn up and complaints are coming in at a rate of around 600 to 800 a week.
Most of the “light” penalties are for not wearing masks.
There has been controversy over the last few days in Spain when government officials said everyone on a beach should wear a mask, regardless of social distancing and even when sunbathing.
The Balearics and the Canary Islands have both ruled tourists and locals won’t be fined for not wearing a mask whilst swimming or sunbathing provided they observe social distancing.
In Tenerife, hoteliers are set to enforce a blanket regulation of mask-wearing in all circumstances on the beach would be detrimental to the island’s tourist image.
“Making the use of masks compulsory now in areas where the few tourists we have, such as the beaches of the Canary Islands, seems to us something untimely, which makes no sense unless it is shown that it is in these places where the greatest infections occur,” said president of the hotel association, Jorge Marichal.
“This measure is a disincentive for the next few months, in which the tourism sector has placed its hopes for the comeback, once all of Europe is leaving little by little vaccinating.”
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.
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