I’m getting fed up with the constant sound bytes from Government ministers here about what they think will be happening this summer. Without an actual plan on how it is actually going to happen. Does anyone actually read them and believe them? Last week I commented on the Prime Minister saying the tourist season wouldn’t start until the end of the summer and the tourism minister saying it would be spring but with no specific date. Then our own President saying it would be June. Fast forward to this past week and the Tourism Minister was at it again saying national tourism could restart at Easter as long as health security conditions are met. What those conditions were she didn’t know but a few days later the health minister said it would only happen if cases were at a 14-day cumulative incidence of no more than 150 cases per 100,000. He also added that he didn’t know when Easter was! So you’ve got a tourism minister who says we could open by Easter but didn’t know what numbers were needed in order to do so and a health minister who quotes the numbers needed but didn’t know when Easter was! Is it me? Do these people communicate with each other before they speak?
I don’t believe we should be concentrating on an Easter opening, all our thoughts and plans should be on a summer opening. Also an Easter opening to national tourism only? Haven’t we learnt anything? It took until December 20th for the Balearic Islands to make everyone arriving from the mainland to come with a negative test. The rise in the numbers through November, December and January were undoubtedly people travelling in and out from the mainland without any checks. Even though we have the checks in place I still wouldn’t risk it. Easter falls early April(Good Friday is April 2nd) so you’ll have a busy 4 or 5 days and then a complete lull for the rest of the month. My view would be to forget that and push out the vaccine as quickly as possible to be ready for May if possible but at the latest June. Whilst not ideal I think most businesses would try and make a go of the Summer if that was the case.
We have a big enough resident population to get businesses moving. There was a report out this week that of the Agroturismo hotels that are currently open, their occupancy is 80% from residents only. Ask anyone right now what they’d do once the restrictions are relaxed. My guess is visit their favourite restaurants, bars and cafes that they’ve not been to in ages.
Obviously there needs to be a plan to get the bars cafes and restaurants opening on a staggered basis like before. They’ve had so many false dawns and knock backs, offer them tax and social security breaks and encourage them to get staff off of the ERTE(furlough) and Paro(Unemployment benefit). That starts the system moving again. Then start encouraging people to start going out again. Masks on and socially distancing of course. But why not offer a scheme like the UK’s eat out to help out, where a discount was offered to people eating out Monday to Wednesday’s. Each customer got a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner). The business gave them the discount and reclaimed the money back from the Government. Very much like the voucher system they have in Calvia from the Town Hall. I’ve spoken to quite a few businesses who have taken part in that and it seems to have worked. I know we have used it at the barbers, hairdressers, massage and a sports shop to name a few. It’s encouraged people to shop locally.
The difference this time is that the vaccine is on the horizon, albeit as seen through a pair of binoculars right now but it exists. I’m not sure why the Government has said the vaccinations will only be carried out by the public health and not the private? Surely it’s better to get it out there as quick as possible? I’m not sure the public health system will be able to cope? I’d heard that the army might be brought in like in the UK, which would be a good thing. Vox party leader Jorge Campos has said that if the Balearic Government can’t get the vaccine quick enough from the mainland government then they should go out and buy it themselves. He said that the Pfizer vaccine costs 17€ per unit. Therefore to vaccine the whole of the Balearic population that are on the padrón, which is currently 1, 149,460 people, would cost 19,540,820€. There are 35,156 currently on the ERTE(furlough) in the Balearics plus 109,900 on Paro(unemployment benefit), so just over 145,000 currently out of work.
If the Government are paying 500€ a month which I know can be less or can be more but just makes the maths easier for me! That’s 72,528,000€ cost every month to the Government. Now I’m no economist but shouldn’t we be going out and looking at all possibilities of vaccines? It’s the only way we are going to have a summer season here on the island.
On a lighter note this week I went and had a full body wax! Not something you do every day but this was left over from the Radiothon as a challenge for me. Four guys put up 175€ for our charities for me to do it so I had to keep my promise. A big thanks to Denise and all her staff at Denise Beauty Salon in Portals Village who looked after me. I can’t describe the pain!
Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
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