THE Canary Islands are ready to enter the next phase of the coronavirus de-escalation plan put forward by the Spanish government.
The islands, which include Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, will see hotels, restaurants and bars being able to open again, albeit with capacity restrictions.
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The Canary Islands are to start the next stage of the de-escalation plans as people are now allowed outside[/caption]
However, Brits won’t be heading back any time soon, with the UK reporting the highest number of coronavirus deaths in Europe.
On Monday, even without international holidaymakers, the Spanish islands are ready to open their hotels, small shops and businesses, restaurant and bar terraces – to 50 per cent capacity – and is liaising with the Balearics which are facing a very similar future.
Because of the low incidence of the virus, the smaller Canary islands of El Hierro, La Gomera and La Graciosa (all with no deaths) were allowed to jump straight into phase one of the de-escalation plan on May 4.
Without an announcement as to when airports and ports will open, popular Tenerife will still be out of bounds to British tourists.
Canary Islands president Angel Victor Torres previously warned: “In October, November or December, which are good months in the Canary Islands, we can begin to receive tourists from other countries.”
La Graciosa was one of the few islands to have avoided any cases of coronavirus[/caption]
This phase will also allow social groups of up to ten people, outdoor markets, the reopening of churches, libraries, events with less than 200 people, museums and active and nature tourism for limited groups.
The Canary Islands is one of the regions least-hit by COVID-19 with 148 deaths and 2,240 positive infections.
There have been 105 deaths in Tenerife, 36 in Gran Canaria and just four in Lanzarote. There have been no deaths in Fuerteventura.
Mr Victor Torres says the pandemic is the “greatest crisis” the archipelago has faced in modern history and tourism on which it depends has been hardly hit.
Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce of the Government of the Canary Islands, Yaiza Castilla added that business leaders were helping to draw up a plan for the urgent recovery of the tourism sector for every element of the chain, from the arrival of holidaymakers to their departure to safeguard their health and to provide an image of security.
Brits may not be able to return until October, even if the islands open to tourists[/caption]
At this stage, the Canaries will be relying on local, regional and then national tourism before foreign visitors, including from the UK, can return.
The tourism minister explained: “There will need to be a complete redesign of processes of the entire value chain of tourism activity, creating and verifying protocols for each service and minimising any risk in order to transmit health security to visitors and residents.”
The Canary Islands usually get 15 million foreign tourists each year but fears ending 2020 with just three million .
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the start of the “new norm” will be achieved by the end of the month but as in the rest of Spain, there will be a completely new look for holidays in the Canaries with continuing social distancing, limits in and around hotels, extensive sanitation measures, screens and masks becoming part of everyday life.
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Ms Castilla previously warned that holidays to the Canary Islands won’t “ever be the same again” due to the new restrictions needed.
She has warned that tourists will have to understand “a new way of travel”, adding: “It should be remembered that until a vaccine is administered in a generalised way, or the majority of the population is already immune, and this will suppose a long period of not less than 18 months, normality will not return to the travel environment.
“Even then, the subsequent picture will be different.”
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