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Spain’s Canary Islands are popular year-round destinations with many tourists flocking to hotspots including Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. The Canary Islands general director of Public Health has now said restrictions will be scrapped “before long”.
Juan Alemán said to COPE Radio: “The probability of a new variant of the coronavirus causing the same problems as before is very low, and it is perfectly feasible that there will be street parties and dancing, probably without masks, at the Santa Cruz carnival in June.”
Tenerife’s Santa Cruz festival is usually held in February but was postponed until March in 2022.
Residents and tourists usually celebrate the festival with a carnival, parade and many street parties.
Some people consider it as the world’s second most important carnival, following the legendary celebrations in Rio de Janeiro.
Alemán added: “Before long the traffic light of alert levels in the Canary Islands is going to disappear.
“We must be prudent in the de-escalation, but at the same time realistic to the evolution of the virus and the epidemiological situation, especially if people continue to get their booster jabs to protect the most vulnerable in society.”
The Canary Islands traffic light system is used to set the level of restrictions in place on each island.
Currently Gran Canaria is under the highest level of restrictions while most of the islands are at a lower level.
Restrictions include curfews on bar and restaurant opening times and limits to maximum capacity.
Alemán cautioned: “It is evident that we have not yet finished the sixth wave, which is why this type of mass event (Santa Cruz) in which the measures are not preserved, makes me sad.
“The virus is still circulating at high levels and spreading, so it’s not time yet to drop our guard completely.”
Tourism officials in the Canary Islands have complained that the destinations have lost out to competitors in recent months.
Spain’s tough rules on British teenagers led many British families to holiday elsewhere in Europe.
Although the rule has been lifted and British teenagers can now enter Spain with a negative test, the Canary Islands still suffered.
Winter is normally peak season for the holiday islands as they are warm all year due to their proximity to the Equator.
It follows a difficult year for the Canaries after the dramatic volcanic eruption in La Palma destroyed many homes.
The eruption lasted for months and destroyed 3,000 buildings as well as vital infrastructure including roads.
However, some tourism officials have encouraged visitors to return to La Palma to take part in volcano tourism.
The practice can be controversial as some locals feel that it is insensitive when people have lost so much.
Tourists should only visit a volcano with a certified tour guide as it can be very dangerous.
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