News: Spring in Spain, the latest news from La Zenia and the Costa Blanca area
Written by Inmo Investments - 25 Mar 2021
When will the summer 2021 tourist season in Spain start?
IF THERE´S ONE THING that the current global pandemic has taught us, it´s that predicting what might happen in the future is almost impossible. But with the recent arrival of spring, we can be assured that summer in Spain is an inevitability that´s just around the corner. So what´s happening on the Costa Blanca right now, and what´s likely to happen this summer?
A cursory glance at recent headlines in the mainstream media can provide clues to what might be expected in the not too distant future - and when. This is what we know so far.
Hoteliers, government authorities, and local venues across the Costa Blanca are actively investing in initiatives today to ensure Spain remains attractive to tourists as a safe holiday destination, including physical distancing on beaches and limiting capacity over the high season.
Locally, our neighbouring coastal city of Torrevieja announced a budget of 1.8 million Euros to recruit 117 beach attendants for the next two summers. The safety teams will be responsible for managing access, cleanliness, and controls on-site to ensure that the beaches and their users remain safe at all times.
The city went without the popular chiringuito beach bars last summer, but ten environmentally certified kiosks have been approved for summer 2021. They will provide a refreshments service throughout the season with the first beach bar installed last week in Torre de La Mata, and the annual summer lifeguard service will operate during peak times from this coming Saturday.
Getting ready for a COVID-safe summer 2021 in La Zenia, Spain
The prominent Servigroup Hotel on La Zenia beach closed last year with a promised reopening date of 15th March. That moment may have passed, but now the Servigroup website is accepting reservations from Tuesday 1st June 2021 onwards.
British airline, Jet2, has advised hotels in the Alicante Province that it intends to resume flights between regional airports in the United Kingdom and Alicante-Elche airport with effect from Monday 17th May.
And just yesterday, the Spanish Government announced that it is lifting a ban on air and sea arrivals from the United Kingdom that had been in place since December 2020 in a bid to contain the spread of a new coronavirus variant first detected in the country.
Restrictions on flights from Brazil and South Africa, originally introduced for similar reasons, will remain in place until mid-April after the current period expires at 6:00 pm next Tuesday 30th March. However, the additional restrictions on UK travel will not be renewed on that date.
This doesn´t mean that Spain is open for tourism from 30th March, and the existing entry restrictions and testing requirements remain in place for passenger arrivals from the UK, with a prohibition on non-essential travel.
For now, all eyes in Spain are set upon the forthcoming Easter holidays, and Spanish authorities have placed additional public health measures in place to assure safety during the coming weeks. So what´s going on right now in the country, and what restrictions are in place in the Alicante Province?
Public safety measures and COVID-19 restrictions on the Costa Blanca
New measures were introduced for the Valencian Community on 15th March allowing greater capacity in some establishments. These new restrictions are intended to preserve public health and reduce unnecessary mobility over the Easter period, and remain in force until Monday 12th April 2021.
- Bars and restaurants are open until 6:00 pm with 100% of their licenced capacity on the terrace and 30% inside.
- No more than 4 people may meet in any public space at any time, including in a bar or restaurant.
- Social meetings in private homes are limited to people who live within the same household or family nucleus.
- Masks must be worn by all persons over 6-years old in any public space, including beaches, bars and restaurants.
- Smoking is prohibited in any public space where it is not possible to maintain a safety distance of 2 metres or more.
- Gyms, indoor pools, sports and recreation centres are open with a capacity limited to 30%.
- Shops are open but all non-essential shops (except supermarkets, pharmacies, etc), must close at 8:00 pm latest.
- All beaches are open with safety measures in place including wearing a mask unless seated or in the water.
- A nightly curfew operates throughout the Valencian Community between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am the following morning.
- The land borders of the Valencian Community are closed for non-essential travel between neighbouring communities.
The continued closure of Valencia´s land borders has been particularly contentious as it impedes the mobility of the citizens who live here, but not European arrivals by air. The result is that international visitors can continue to travel to the Costa Blanca whilst many Spanish nationals are effectively excluded from travel outside of the regional community in which they live.
COVID-19 in Spain, low rates of infection on the Orihuela Costa
According to the latest available data from the Spanish Ministry of Health, levels of detected COVID-19 infection within the Valencian Community stand at 30.2 cases per 100,000 population over the past 14-days (Crude Cumulative Incidence). For comparison, at the time of writing the national median CCI stands at 132.2.
It´s the lowest level of detected infection in the entire country, with the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Menorca, and Ibiza coming a close second with a Crude Cumulative Incidence of 52.0 cases over the past 14-days.
Locally, the Torrevieja health department (under which Orihuela Costa´s health administration falls), registered a CCI of just 12.0 (6). Our neighbouring city has a history of recording surprisingly minimal infection numbers, and last Monday Torrevieja Hospital revealed they were providing care for just two COVID admissions.
Furthermore, since July last year Alicante regional authorities have been tracking COVID via genetic particles in residual wastewater, and earlier this week regional news outlet, Información, reported that minimal traces of COVID-19 had been found at treatment plants from samples taken between March 10th and 12th.
Perhaps controversially, the publication stated that the reopening of bars and restaurants on 1st March, almost two weeks previously, did not affect the spread of the virus, registering the second-lowest levels of COVID particulate since serological wastewater surveillance began.
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