Spain has today reopened its borders to European tourists – 10 days earlier than previously planned – and in a last-minute change of plan, Britons will not be required to self-isolate upon arrival.
The Mediterranean summer favourite initially refused to lift restrictions to Britons unless it secured a reciprocal arrangement for Spanish arrivals to the UK, but appears to have caved in under pressure to boost its battered tourism industry.
Things will not, however, be back to business as usual. Boat parties are now prohibited on all the Balearic islands, including Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera, with no sign of when they will, if ever, be able to relaunch.
New regulations as the islands come out of lockdown also affect local nightlife businesses: bars may not stay open past 10pm and must adhere to strict social distancing. Nightclubs and other venues with a capacity of more than 300 people are not allowed to open inside spaces, though they can seat up to 100 people on terraces and outside.
The tough new regulations have been put in place by the local government in order to establish the ‘new norm’ in the post-lockdown era, and restrict the spread of coronavirus.
Some business owners believe that these new rules are also in part to rid the islands of their party reputations, where booze-fuelled tourism has presented problems in the past. The Balearic government denies these claims, despite stating in the past that it wanted to rebrand itself for a new kind of holidaymaker, including families.
While Britons are now able to enter Spain freely without quarantining themselves, a reciprocal deal to create a so-called ‘air bridge’ is yet to be struck, meaning British tourists will have to stay at home for two weeks on their return to Britain.
The Telegraph understands that the UK government is in talks with fewer than 10 predominantly short-haul destinations, including Spain, to build air bridges.
A list of about a dozen potential countries – including Portugal Greece and France – is being considered for bilateral agreements which would mean British holidaymakers could fly from July 4 without facing a 14-day quarantine on their arrival or return.
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