Cafes and restaurants in the two largest cities in Spain could open again on Monday, while the Spanish Minister of Tourism invited foreign visitors to book for July.
Especially affected by the pandemic, Spain is slowly resuming its life, while the government announced the resumption of the country this summer for foreign tourists and the resumption of its football championship, new signs of a desire to return to normal.
“The hard part is over,” assured Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. We have overcome the great wave of the pandemic. But above all, the head of government said that foreign tourists could return in July, a crucial announcement for the world’s second tourist destination, where the sector weighs 12% of GDP.
Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said on Monday that foreign travelers can already book for this summer.
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Pending the return of tourists, Madrid and Barcelona on Monday found their friends, their parks and their terraces after ten weeks of one of the most severe prisons in the world, while residents of other Spanish regions less affected by the pandemic can once again taste the joy of sea bathing.
The country’s two largest cities have been hit hardest by the new coronavirus pandemic, which killed 28,752 and infected 235,772 people in Spain.
Their inhabitants can now gather in groups of a maximum of ten, at home or on the terraces of bars and restaurants, whose capacity is however limited.
“I came to see the sunrise over the lake, I missed the park a lot”
In Madrid, where the parks had been closed since mid-March, Retiro’s gates were reopened and hundreds of Madrid residents ran or walked early in the morning. “I came to see the sunrise over the lake before 7 o’clock, I missed the park very much,” said 67-year-old architect Alfonso López, AFP.
However, like all Spaniards, he must continue to wear the mask, which is mandatory in buildings and on public roads when a safety distance of two meters is not possible.
In Barcelona, the country’s second city, Nacho García, manager of the Barna Beach restaurant, was sweating profusely as he walked up to his terrace on the Barceloneta beach.
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“We were very eager to resume. I have employees who almost cried for joy. They were on short-term work and many of them had not yet received compensation,” said the 28-year-old.
Nearly half of the country – some 22 million inhabitants of the 47 in Spain – is undergoing the second phase of deconfinance in stages, which should last until the end of June.
Restaurants can open their rooms there, limit the number of customers, and excursions, for walks or sports, are no longer limited to certain hours of the day.
And above all, once the warm weather has begun, swimming pools and beaches can be reopened as in the Balearic and Canary archipelago or in large parts of Andalusia, but always with strict safety measures.
Public dissatisfaction encouraged by far right
Some cities including Barcelona had already opened their beaches in recent weeks but only for sports or walks.
The Ministry of Health recommends limiting the crowds on the beaches, delimiting the spaces for each group and taking the umbrellas between 4 meters.
Pending the return of tourists in July, only locals will be able to take advantage of it as travel from one province to another remains banned and foreigners aboard Spain must observe two weeks for fourteen days.
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The restrictions imposed during containment orders in mid-March were among the most difficult in the world. For a month and a half, the Spanish could practically not put their noses out and their children remained the monastery.
This accuracy and the ending of the closing caused a complain that was gradually expressed by concerts with stews since demonstrations, encouraged by the extremist party Vox.
The latter successfully called protests from thousands of cars on Saturday that drew attention to the center of the country’s larger cities, their drivers bucking their horns and waving the Spanish flag to condemn the government.
With AFP and Reuters