The New Normal: from de-escalation to the reimposition of a new estado de alarma

From 4am, Sunday 25 October, there are no restrictions on travel to the Canaries, though the UK Government continues to advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Spain. Since the UK has re-established a travel corridor with the Canaries, travel insurance will be valid, FCDO/Consular services will be available for those in difficulty here, and there will be no requirement for quarantine on return from these islands.

As of 25 October, and after a very long road (see HERE), the state of emergency that was lifted has been reimposed for most of the country. The Canaries are exempt from this at present. Here, we’re in a stage known as the New Normal, likely to last until Spain declares an end to the health emergency which is likely to be only when a vaccine is developed or a guaranteed treatment becomes available. At present, Tenerife is in what we can call Special Meaures, extra restrictions because of the rate of infection (see 25 September and subsequent updates below). The principal rules were last modified by both Spanish and Canarian Governments on 14 August 2020 (see the two updates of that date and of 17 August below for detail), and their main effects for us personally are:

  • face masks must be worn by everyone of 6 years of age and above at all times whether or not 1.5m distancing is possible. Fabric masks are legal but if attending a hospital or doctor’s surgery, masks must be of the hygenic or surgical type from a chemist or sanitary provisions supplier. The requirement to wear a mask applies to all public spaces, indoors and out, all people in work, and including beaches and swimming pools (except when swimming or sunbathing in a designated zone), catering establishments (except specifically when eating, but must be worn between sips of a drink if not eating), public transport or cars shared with others from a different household. Exemptions exist for those with certified medical conditions
  • social groups and business meetings are limited to 10 (under the estado de alarma introduced on 25 October the autonomous regions can choose to limit groups from different households to six but the Canaries are exempt from the estado de alarma) 
  • smoking is banned in the outside areas of all bars, restaurants, etc., and in any outdoor public spaces unless the smoker is alone, motionless, and can guarantee 2m distancing from anyone else.  Smoking is already banned throughout Spain in enclosed public spaces like bars, restaurants, airports, as well as outside schools, hospitals, etc
  • Physical distancing of 1.5m wherever possible 
  • shops and offices including Government departments, bars and restaurants, cinemas, museums, churches, beaches etc are open but with time and capacity restrictions, distancing & hygiene rules. Appointments or pre-booking may be necessary: clear information should be available on site or online
  • hotels, bars, cafés and restaurants close by 1am, last customers in by midnight (in islands in special measures, as Tenerife is currently, closing time is midnight, last customers in by 11pm)
  • late night bars, nightclubs & discos are closed indoors and out
  • visits to and outings from senior citizens’ centres limited 
  • mass events require prior Sanidad risk assessment and authorization (banned entirely where islands are in special measures)
  • visitors to Spain must fill out a form (digital or paper – see HERE and the 3 July update below) with their personal details including their location in Spain; they are also checked by automated temperature cameras and visual inspection before passing border control
  • day centres are closed in islands in special measures 

Updated 26 October: Now that Spain has reimposed a national state of emergency – an estado de alarma that primarily imposes a curfew after 11pm every night – I’m starting a new post HERE to stop such long posts becoming too unwieldy. Please note that the estado de alarma is in effect throughout the whole of Spain with the sole exception of the Canary Islands. At present.   

Updated 25 October: After it was officially acknowledged that Spain had passed the million mark for covid cases, and admitted that the true figure was likely to be nearer 3 million, and with more than half the country’s autonomous communities asking the Government at Thursday’s Interterritorial Committee to impose an estado de alarma, Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez, following an extraordinary Cabinet meeting this morning, has announced that the country will be placed under an estado de alarma for six months in an attempt to get case figures down to a maximum of 25 per 100,000 population.

The order currently lasts a fortnight – as we know from earlier this year, the Government can impose an estado de alarma for no more than that without Parliamentary approval. Since Pedro Sánchez argues that Spain needs to be under restrictions for six months, therefore, this will be going to Congress this week for approval of the measures to 9 May 2021. The terms of the new estado de alarma will place Spain under curfew between 11pm and 6am: individual autonomous communities can change these times by an hour either way according to local time convenience.

From our perspective in the Canaries, however, these rules will not apply here. The Canarian Government was not one of those requesting a new estado de alarma and Canarian President Torres had already said that if one were to be imposed he would request an exemption for these islands on the grounds of the low rate of infection here. In the event, however, the Canaries have been excluded from the Estado de Alarma anyway because of the evolution of cases in the archipelago. The terms of the decree, however, allow for the easy incorporation of the Canaries into the national measures, and the situation will obviously be monitored here. For the moment we are not subject to the estado de alarma but this might change if our numbers start to rise. It behoves us all, therefore, to maximise our caution and compliance with the rules that are in place at the moment if we wish to avoid the further restrictions of the state of emergency. 

For his part, Sánchez said that he understands the distress this causes. The PM said it’s difficult to conquer fear and overcome the fatigue of such a situation. Therefore, he said, he thanked us, all of us for the discipline we will need, for being our best selves and giving our combined strength, This way, the PM said, we will beat the virus, united against it.  

The measures have been published in the BOE HERE.

Updated 6pm, 22 October: Following today’s Interterritorial Committee, an action plan has been drawn up for a coordinated response to the pandemic now described by the Spanish Health Secretary himself as “out of control” in many parts of Spain. The action plan, see HERE, establishes a national framework of common criteria through the autonomous regions, based on scientific evidence, to allow interpretation of epidemiological indicators and the adoption of measures to contain the pandemic. 

The regions, like the Canaries, can take any complementary measures they consider appropriate, assessing the risk and setting warning levels, and adopting measures that are proportionate and adaptable to local situations. They will decide when and what measures to apply, informing the national Health Department before the measures are implemented. The epidemiological situation will be reviewed periodically by region and national Health Department in order to assess, maintain or modify the level of alert and the measures applied.

In other words, for the moment, no lockdown.

Updated 5pm, 22 October: British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that the advice not to travel to the Canaries will be changed from 4am this Sunday 25 October. Following an assessment of the latest data, the islands have been added to the Travel Corridors list, and visitors will not only be able to get insurance because they won’t be coming against UK Government advice, they also will no longer have to quarantine on arrival back in the UK. The FCDO says:

We know how much tourism matters to Spain and the Canary Islands, as well as to the many UK nationals who visit every year, especially during the winter months. But Coronavirus is still a significant challenge for all of us, so if you do travel, please ensure you comply with local regulations, such as social distancing and wearing masks.

22 October: As of yesterday, Spain became the first country in western Europe to pass the 1m covid19 cases marker, though today it has been quickly followed by France. As I reported on Tuesday, Spanish Health Secretary will today be discussing the possibility of a national lockdown with the regions, though Canarian President Ángel Torres has said that if this is decided he will request that the Canaries be excluded from the measure because of the low rate in the islands. Torres also announced that Germany last night announced that advice not to travel to the Canaries will be lifted on Saturday even though advice remains not to travel to the rest of Spain. We should know more later today or tomorrow as to the direction the idea of a national lockdown is going.

Updated 20 October: Spanish Health Secretary Salvador Illa has said that a second wave is not just coming, it is already here, and with it, we can expect some very hard weeks. In the press call after today’s Cabinet meeting, Illa said that in this Thursday’s weekly Interterritorial Committee by Zoom he will discuss with the other ministers throughout Spain’s autonomous communities what the views are about a complete national curfew, at least for nightlife, and possibly as part of another estado de alarma.  

Please note that this is not a case of the Spanish Government imposing or even urging another lockdown, but it is now very clearly something under consideration, and so we have to say it is possible if not actually probable. Clearly this would not be simplicity itself to get through Parliament and so the Government needs to assess regional support for the idea beforehand.

The timing of this mulling over of the possibilities is not just related to the second wave which we are now in but also the situation in Madrid, where a regional lockdown is due to end this coming weekend. Given the difficulties the Government had in agreeing those measures that were recently imposed on the city’s population, it is understandable that all avenues, including a national lockdown, are currently being explored in advance of decisions that need to be taken about the most afflicted areas of the country.

Meanwhile, Illa said that slowing down the virus’ advance needed an effort from everyone, and he urged the public to take the two clear steps that are needed right now, restricting our movements and reducing our contacts. It’s that simple, he said: we need to stop moving around the place and we need to stop gathering in groups.   

Updated 9 October: Tenerife’s special measures have been extended by a week to 23 October: HERE is the latest from the semaphore issued today. This means that all the usual rules are in place with the additional special measures of hospitality establishments closing at midnight, last customers in at 11pm, day centres closed, and no gatherings or events comprising more than ten.

In addition, the Canarian Government has announced that it has now banned smoking on public highways (pavements, streets and roads) as it is not possible to guarantee a minimum 2m safety distance. This is particularly so since the existing measure banning smoking in bar terraces has seen customers move outside to the pavement areas to light up. The new ban effectively means smoking is not permitted anywhere outside in the Canaries, and supplements a long-standing ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces as well as outside hospitals, schools, etc.  One other measure introduced relates to face masks: these continue to be required but must now be of the hygenic or surgical kinds – not fabric – when going to a surgery or hospital.

The regional Government has also changed its criteria for those islands going into special measures. Islands with a high level of transmission will be considered those in which the accumulated incidence of cases diagnosed in the last 7 days exceed 50 cases/100,000 inhabitants; in addition, the same will apply if any individual municipality in an island exceeds 100 cases/100,000 inhabitants, has more than 2 sporadic cases and case increases are up 10% or more compared to the average accumulated incidence of the previous two weeks. Islands can come out of special measures when an island’s accumulated incidence of cases diagnosed in the last 7 days is less than 50 cases/100,000 inhabitants, or when all its municipalities which had previously exceeded the three defining criteria of high transmission have been reduced.

The new regulations have been published in the BOC today, see HERE, but it’s not just here that restrictions are biting. Things have become embittered in other parts of Spain especially in the Autonomous Community of Madrid where nine municipios are now on enforced lockdown as numbers soar there. The national Government had tried but failed to agree restrictions with the regional Government but there was no way to reconcile the two positions. The national Government’s full lockdown was opposed with the regional Government wanting targeted and focused lockdowns, especially in the south of the capital Madrid where case numbers are particularly bad.

The national Government did actually try to impose its measures but the regional authorities appealed to the Courts, which lifted the restrictions. Faced with a major bank holiday weekend, however, with Spain Day on Monday, a time when many Madrileños leave for an extended break in the country, the national Government feels that it had no option but to impose an estado de alarma and enforce its own powers. No-one is going anywhere from the Madrid area this weekend now, for sure.

Updated 2 October: Tenerife has been kept in special measures, it was announced this evening with the weekly update to the semaphore. The situation will be reviewed again on 17 October, which means that until then at least, the full rules with the additional restrictions as detailed above will remain in place.  

Updated 30 September: Canarian President Ángel Torres has reacted to the extension of the ERTE with relief, and said that this was something the Canarian authorities have been pushing for now for some time since tourism was so badly affected by the outbreak and comprised such a major part of these islands’ economy. He said that it was inevitable with such devastating social effects that the state should step in and help in this way.

There is official unease, however, over the extent to which the public are doing their bit, with continued concerns about compliance with physical distancing, hand hygiene, and face mask wearing. The authorities at all levels are increasing their calls to the public to pull their weight to complement the financial and social measures introduced by national and regional Governments. In particular, they are stressing the low download figures for the tracing app: currently only 15% of the public in the Canaries have initiated it, and however low that might be thought, it is still greater than the 13.6% take-up in Spain generally. Details for the app are HERE.

The message to the public is clear: if we do not play our part the situation will get worse in terms both of the disease and its social and economic effects. The authorities stress that money is not an infinite resource and if we don’t start to pull our weight, their efforts wil be largely ineffective. And we will all suffer the consequences.  

edit: HERE is the BOE publication of the new ERTE and other social measures for rentals, autonomos etc.

Updated 29 September: The Spanish Cabinet has today extended the ERTE to 31 January, the Government has announced. Perhaps almost as importantly, it has confirmed that the percentage of wages paid will not be reduced to 50% at any point, and will be maintained at a minimum of 70%. The Government has also extended its ban on evictions to protect vulnerable tenants as covid again ravages the country. In addition, other measures will allow for rental contracts to be extended automatically, and for tenants of landlords with large rental portfolios, defined as more than ten properties, to postpone their rents. These latter new measures are likely also to be confirmed as in force until the end of January next year. As soon as there is legislation to link to I’ll update. 

Updated 27 September: As forecast, Lanzarote has been removed from special measures after the situation was reviewed as scheduled yesterday. The current semaphore looks like this:

Updated 25 September: Tenerife has been put in special measures after the weekly semaphore update showed at least one municipio with cases over 100/100,000: that municipio is Santa cruz de Tenerife (127,83). Remaining in special measures are Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, now also joined by Fuerteventura and La Gomera. Only La Palma and El Hierro remain in the New Normal, with Lanzarote to exit special measures tomorrow.

Sanidad (Canarias) says that the semaphore now means that these four islands will have more restrictive measures, such as a maximum of 10 in gatherings for business or pleasure, and reduced hours for hospitality businesses. Tenerife will be in special measures until 10 October. This means that gatherings and events involving more than ten people are banned, and bars, restaurants, and their terraces, must close by midnight at latest, with no clients admitted after 11pm. Day centres will also be closed.  

Updated 21 September: Canarian President Ángel Torres said today that he felt the islands were beginning to flatten the curve, with an incidence rate of 54 cases per 100,000 population. Five days ago, with the latest accumulated figures report, the rate was 67/100,000, and Torres said that the slowing increase was the result of the measures adopted during this last month. He stressed that it was therefore imperative that the restrictions are retained and that the rules are followed by everyone and invigilated by everyone too.

I know the UK tabloids are fond of defining public-spirited health-safety obedience in pejorative terms, particularly when it comes to people reporting others’ risky or illegal behaviour: some have described as “grassing” the UK Government’s request for people to report neighbours who were creating a risky situation by violating rules put in place for health safety. That sort of sophistic and insulting hyperbole does not help anyone, and Torres himself said that here in the Canaries we all have an obligation to monitor societal behaviour, and that this is not just the job of the police in a national health emergency.

In other words, the safety of all of us is in our own hands – all of our hands – and Spanish PM Sánchez himself has previously called for a collective effort whereby we all ensure that we take utmost measures to prevent catching or spreading covid19, and that others do too. Meanwhile, with an eye to tourism and the coming winter season, Torres himself said he was relieved to see the figures here now approaching the 50/100,000 that countries like Germany have set as a boundary for recommending travel. 

Updated 12 September: Police have broken up an illegal botellón (street drinking party) of 15 people in El Puertito in Adeje in which no-one was complying with any covid19 protection measures such as distancing and masks. Botellones are currently banned under national Government rules as of the 14 August update below. The Guardia Civil also removed a dozen people illegally camping there and all will now all be subject to police action and fines, says the force.  

Separately, El Rosario Policía Local  broke up a party of some 40 individuals – a group of a size illegal under current covid measures – in a finca in the Llano del Moro area. Again there were no safety measures in place. Police say that they were advised of the party by neighbours, and the two organizers are being prosecuted for a “serious offence”, so fines will be significant with sanctions of up to €30,000 at the Courts’ disposal. 

Updated 10 September: As promised the Canarian Government has announced today the details of how schooling will be organized. The Education Department has confirmed that classes will resume next week as proposed, with infants and primary starting on Tuesday 15 and on Wednesday 16 for secondary school.

Government spokesman Julio Perez said that the Government felt that it was right to proceed with resumption on 15 September and that school health safety was guaranteed, with schools adopting all necessary precautions including increasing teacher complements. PCR tests will be performed on pupils, teachers and admin staff in any areas where covid19 is higher than average.  

Updated 6 September: The Spanish Government has extended to the end of this month its consumer protection for water, electricity and gas: suppliers won’t be able to disconnect consumers because of the covid19 outbreak. Those who are getting a “bono social” for electricity – a direct discount in the bill – will also find this extended to 30 September. 

Updated 5 September: The Canarian Government has published the new sanctions regime in the BOC today HERE.

Updated 4 September: As I posted in the 1 Sept update, we could anticipate an announcement that the rise of cases in El Hierro would cause the island to join Gran Canaria and Lanzarote in special measures, and today that announcement has been made. Three of the Canary Islands are now in special measures. This means that in Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and El Hierro, where there are more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents, in addition to the rules which we are all following, they will also be banned from holding events involving more than 10 (the rest of us have a limit of 10 just for meetings and social groups), hostelry and restaurant businesses must close by midnight (the rest of us have 1am), and day centres are closed. The latest chart from ISTAC/gobcan is just below.

Meanwhile, the Canarian Cabinet met yesterday and as is now usual on a Thursday, we have some new measures. This week, these relate to increased sanctions for non-compliance with fines for not wearing a mask now up to a maximum of €3,000 for repeated offences – the minimum fine for a one-off failure remains at €100. Exceeding permitted capacity restrictions will result in businesses being fined from €60,000 up to a maximum of €600,000. Fines of between €3,000 and €60,000 will be imposed for consuming alcohol or drugs in the street in groups of over ten, as for failure to comply with required isolation, opening premises that have been officially closed, making an employee remain in work if s/he tests positive or has symptoms, and for preventing inspections or failing to collaborate with the authorities.

Some will think these “ridiculous”, others will welcome the imposition of fines that show the authorities mean it when they say “comply or else”. I’ll post a link to the new Order when it’s published in the BOC.

Updated 2 September: As I’ve been saying over the past few days, Canarian President Torres has been talking about the possibility of reconfinements if numbers don’t start to go down by the end of next week. In fact, since he said it last weekend they have done nothing but continue to rise, and increasingly so. I post the daily figures HERE, but the graphic below shows why the authorities are so concerned. March and especially April were bad: August has put them in the shade and now it seems to be takng off even more. 

Only today local media is reporting a woman who had tested positive in Gran Canaria but who was asymptomatic and refused to isolate. She came to Tenerife where she is now being monitored by the health authorities after being picked up by the track and trace app. Police are processing a fine but how many were in her company in Gran Canaria and here completely unaware she was infectious? Others treat health safety measure policing like smoking at school trying to dodge the teachers: until such people stop thinking it’s just funny and clever to risk others’ lives, we are in trouble. The fact that others applaud it when they boast about it suggests we already are.  

Updated 1 September: As I mentioned in the podcast yesterday, the Canarian Education Department has said that although teachers are back in schools, and classes are set to commence on the 15th of this month, details of how schooling will be organized won’t be confirmed until the 10th. The department has said, however, that with the current figures of covid in Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, schools would not be reopening there if they were supposed to be restarting today. As President Torres told Parliament only yesterday, “this pandemic is not under the control of the Prime Minister, nor the King, nor even the Pope.”

The rise of cases over the last three days in El Hierro has not yet resulted in an announcement that the island has joined Gran Canaria and Lanzarote in special measures but one can now be anticipated soon. Meanwhile, all three islands’ hospitals have now implemented full contingency plans to adapt facilities, staff and stocks to cope with care demands that have risen because of the increase in positive cases. The daily figures are in THIS post.

Updated 31 August: The Canarian Government is so concerned about the alarming rise in numbers in the islands, and very aware of the severe effect a “reconfinement” will have, that they have turned to plain clothes police to monitor and enforce compliance when it appears to the public that no officers are around. As regional President Torres has said over this weekend, if numbers don’t start to come down over this week and next, that is what will have to happen despite the fact that it will be “dramatic” in social and economic terms. So if you find yourself thinking there aren’t many police about, or why don’t they actually put some police on the street, they are likely already to be there, hiding in plain sight, as well as plain clothes.

Updated 30 August: There seems some confusion about how many can meet up now, especially since some rules apply to those areas where there are more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents, and some apply everywhere. The confusion arises because people are not distinguishing between meetings and events. The rules are that social and business groups and meetings are limited to ten – everywhere; this is a Spanish Government measure introduced on 14 August (see 17 August update below) and remaining in force until specifically revoked by the national Government. In addition, now, organized events (like a race, or a concert) are restricted to a maximum of ten in islands with 100+ cases per 100,000 population; this is a Canarian Government measure introduced 29 August (see yesterday’s update below), and remaining in force at least for the next fortnight when it will be reviewed.  

Updated 29 August: The new measures have been published in the BOC today and can be viewed HERE. They will apply for the next fortnight in the first instance but only one applies throughout the Canaries, namely that face masks are now to be worn at all times at work. The others apply where more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents have been registered within the previous week and this is currently Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, not Tenerife. These are the main points and where they do apply:

  • face mask to be worn at work at all times (whole of Canaries)
  • events involving more than 10 are banned (islands with >100/100,000 cases)
  • hostelry and restaurant businesses to close by midnight (islands with >100/100,000 cases)
  • day centres closed (islands with >100/100,000 cases)

Meanwhile, President Torres has said that we are looking are “reconfinements” if numbers don’t start to come down within the next fortnight.

Updated 28 August: Another Thursday, another set of measures. We have been aware that the Government was very worried about what it calls the social irresponsibility of those who will not comply with health safety measures, and self-evidently by the increasingly alarming resurgent figures. Tonight, we now know that the Canarian Government will take up Pedro Sánchez offer of army support to reinforce monitoring for the islands’ track and trace programme, and that yet more restrictions will be applied, especially in hot spots of infection such as Gran Canaria currently, a hot spot being defined as an area in which there is a minimum of 100 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants. Lanzarote is apparently almost there, with 99.

In making the announcement today, Canarian President Ángel Torres said that the latest restrictions are the hardest possible, but that they would be useless if people did not comply with them. As such, Torres made an explicit request to the public throughout the Canaries to report non-compliance of safety measures to the authorities. He called the latest measures “drastic” but said that with increasing cases the Government had no option if it wanted to avoid returning to the dark days of March and April. The measures will be published in the BOC probably on Saturday and we can expect to see events limited to a maximum of ten, at least in hot spot areas; restaurants throughout the islands to be required to close at midnight; and the compulsory wearing of masks in all areas of all work places.

Policing will be maximised, the President said, and every force will meet daily to analyze the situation and ensure compliance with the measures on beaches, terraces and in other public places. Torres added that the Government would apply maximum sanctions and in fact is working on a decree to increase the amounts that people can be fined. This is because compliance is key, he argued, “first for health and then for the economy. Let’s enforce the rules on those who don’t. Most do, we were an example in confinement and we don’t want to go back. We pass the laws to be obeyed, obliged by the circumstances, and they are the hardest measures that can be taken but you can’t put a police officer next to every one of two million Canarians!”

Speaking very bluntly, Torres said that “our health and future are at risk. Quarantine is not optional for those who test positive. This isn’t a game. The pandemic is going to be with us until there is a vaccine”. The President criticized those who’ve held parties on boats, where distancing is not respected, and other measures are ignored. This behaviour is paid for by the hundreds of positive cases, he said, including young people having to be admitted to hospitals, lives and vulnerable people being put at risk. I haven’t heard Torres quite like this before. I’ve written below of the concern of the authorities, and said in a recent podcast that you could see the fear as the figures rose. This is yet a new stage. They are serious. They have to be now. 

Updated 26 August: The Canaries’ Scientific Committee spokesman for the pandemic, Lluis Serra, has said that given the new increases in figures it is vital to reinforce police presence and sanctions, to ensure sufficient facilities exist for those testing positive to isolate themselves, and not to discount the Canaries moving backwards into a restrictive phase. Serra says that he doesn’t see the islands adopting their new powers to institute a regional estado de alarma, at least not currently.

Updated 25 August: Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez has announced that any autonomous region now has the right to declare an estado de alarma (state of emergency). The imposition will be via the national Government which will officially declare it, but any regional president can request it. Sánchez urged regional Presidents to make use of the new powers and promised that the national Government will also provide support via armed forces to facilitate track and trace measures as appropriate.  

To some extent, I would say that this is not so much Sánchez realizing he can’t get the support for a national lockdown again, but rather realizing that a national lockdown is a blunt instrument that’s inappropriate a second time for a country reeling economically. Instead of the sledgehammer, therefore, regions can now apply measures to target outbreaks that might be getting out of hand locally.

Whether or not the Canarian Government will take advantage of the ability to declare an estado de alarma in these islands is another matter of course, but they now have the power to do so should they feel that increased policing and tighter restrictions have still failed to curtail what they openly call the “social irresponsibility” of those who simply will not abide by public health measures to save their own lives, let alone those of their entire society 

Updated 4pm, 21/8: The Canarian Government has published the ruling about the new measures that were announced yesterday in the BOC today HERE. This of course means that they are now in force.

Updated 21 August: The Tenerife Cabildo has said that to contribute to the Canarian Government’s efforts to control nightlife in the resurgent covid19 outbreak, it has suspended night trams in the metropolitan area during weekends. From tonight, therefore, there won’t be a service on Friday and Saturday nights between midnight and 6am. Other times and routes operate normally and can be consulted HERE.  

Updated 20 August: The Canarian Government has met today, as reported, to consider yet more restrictive measures in the face of what it calls “social irresponsibility”. After the meeting, the following new measures have been announced – some of the measures you will recognize from Spanish legislation recently announced, and which have now not only been adopted but incorporated into Canarian law. They will come into force tomorrow when the legislation is published in the BOC.

  • indoor and outdoor nightlife has been closed “absolutely” – (“cierre absoluto del ocio nocturno”). The measure applies to discos, terraces, dancehalls, and late night bars, with or without live music 
  • all hotels, bars, cafés and restaurants to close at 1.00 a.m, last customers in at midnight – law overrules existing licensing hours 
  • visits to senior citizens’ centres are limited, as are senior citizen outings from residential centres
  • mass events to have prior Sanidad risk assessment and authorization   

Sanidad reminds the public, too, that the recommended hygiene measures must be maintained by law in both public and private settings. These are: personal safety distancing, frequent hand washing, and compulsory face mask wearing – see the list at the top of the page in bold for the full range of measures in place as they affect our daily lives.

Updated 18 August: Empowered ignorance. That is what the Colegio de Médicos de Las Palmas calls the wilful refusal to wear masks and the disbelief in a virus that is all too real, or the conviction that even if it exists, its effects have been overblown. The simple fact is, doctors say, that it is wilful misrepresentation to present covid19 as no worse than flu, a separate virus family with fatality rates calculated differently, and the combination of these beliefs – that covid19 doesn’t exist and/or that it’s no worse than the flu – has meant people have relaxed and dropped their guards, assuming they were even on guard to begin with. 

The Colegio of Médicos has therefore issued an urgent call to the public to get a grip on health safety measures and their response to the pandemic because their “empowered ignorance” is endangering everyone. Even if, the doctors say, younger people have fewer complications, suffer covid either mildly or even asymptomatically, they carry it on to others who are less fortunate. And for those who say it’s “only the old and already sick who die anyway”, doctors have a sharp response: this might be true, but even if you think that, and even if you don’t care if your own parents die from it, it is the manner of the death that is so appalling. It is not just a case of anyone’s “time being up” but of dying face down on a hospital bed, alone, gasping for breath, or with tubes pumping lungs mecbanically because their internal architecture has been changed for good.

And that’s without considering the long-term effects that are increasingly recognized as a complication for survivors. Lungs are the least of it, as brains, muscles, heart, liver, kidneys are all affected leaving those who recover from covid itself as weak and helpless as kittens, sometimes for the rest of their lives. Over to you, the doctors say, and effectively echo what I said in the CanaryCast yesterday: get a grip and learn the difference between inconvenience and oppression. Rights are not absolute but relative, and come with responsibilities, so while one person can claim a right not to wear a mask, another can claim the right not to be infected. The real question is which of the two “rights” is the more important, urgent, or socially responsible.

Whatever the doctors say, however, politicians are not prepared to leave it to the public, and the choice of so many to exercise their “empowered ignorance”. Do it or we’ll get tougher measures yet, is the message from the Canarian Government, and it has announced that in any case the regional executive will meet again this Thursday to consider yet more restrictive measures in the face of what it calls “social irresponsibility”. Meanwhile, the Canarian Government’s Scientific Committee has repeated the Government’s call to all mayors to ensure that their municipal police forces double up their vigilance and issue very many more fines for non-compliance.  

Ignorance is not empowering, and when it results in more extreme measures, no-one can say they weren’t warned …   

Updated 17 August: I thought a quick ready reckoner of legislation in place right now would be useful, along with its current period of force and the legislating authority. Where a law has been passed by both regional and national Government, I’ve mentioned only the national Government because that’s the law that’s in place indefinitely now. The measures by the national Government are already in place because these have been approved and agreed with all the regional Governments. So:

  • face masks – worn by everyone of and from 6 years of age at all times in all public spaces, indoors and out, including at or around beaches and swimming pools (except when swimming or sunbathing in a designated zone), catering establishments (except specifically when eating or drinking), public transport or cars shared with others from a different household. This applies to any built-up area regardless of distancing possibilities; it does not apply in natural spaces or open air spaces outside of towns and villages where a 1.5m distance can be maintained. Exemptions exist for those with certified medical conditions and those doing something which makes wearing a mask impossible but the former must carry medical proof and the latter must carry a mask to put on as soon as they’ve stopped doing whatever it is they can’t wear a mask for.
    • Canarian Govt, in place until at least 28 August.
  • smoking and vaping banned in the outside areas of all bars, restaurants, etc. This is regardless of any physical distancing.
    • Canarian Govt, in place until at least 28 August.
  • smoking and vaping are banned in the street and outdoor spaces unless a 2m minimum interpersonal distance can be guaranteed
    • Spanish Govt, in place until specifically revoked by Govt (there is a national ban anyway on smoking in enclosed public spaces like bars, restaurants, airports, as well as outside schools, hospitals, etc).
  • social groups and meetings limited to 10.
    • Spanish Govt, in place until specifically revoked by Govt.
  • events involving crowds require prior regional Health Department risk assessment.
    • Spanish Govt, in place until specifically revoked by Govt.
  •  street drinking parties – botellon – prohibited.
    • Spanish Govt, in place until specifically revoked by Govt.
  • nightclubs & discos closed. 
    • Spanish Govt, in place until specifically revoked by Govt.
  • all catering establishments including hotels, restaurants, cafés and establishments like beach bars and late night bars must close 1am latest with no customers admitted after midnight – regardless of permitted licensing hours (this is why this legislation is needed, to close those which would otherwise be open!).
    • Spanish Govt, in place until specifically revoked by Govt. 

Updated 16 August: I’ll say it one more time and that will be an end to it. The Canarian Government has said (HERE) that:

This says: Tobacco, tobacco inhalation devices, water pipes, bongos, shisha or similar – Not allowed in all entertainment, leisure, hotel, restaurant and any other type of establishment open to the public. This is in addition to the previous item on it being banned in public spaces where 2m distancing can’t be maintained. 

As always with Canarian rules, they come into force when published in the BOC. That means that this has been in force since Friday 14 August because the publication is HERE. Please see point 7 (Séptimo) of the legislation which confirms that section 4.4 of the existing (June) legislation relevant to measures for establishments is adapted so that tobacco, tobacco inhalation devices, water pipes, bongos, shisha or similar are prohibited in all entertainment, leisure, hotel, restaurant and any other type of establishment open to the public, as follows:

Se modifica el apartado 4, del punto 4 relativo a “Condiciones para el desarrollo de determinados establecimientos, actividades y espectáculos públicos”, que queda redactado en los siguientes términos:

“4.4. Se prohíbe el uso de dispositivos de inhalación de tabaco, pipas de agua, cachimbas, shisha, o asimilados en todos los locales de entretenimiento, ocio, hostelería, restauración y en cualquier otro tipo de establecimiento abierto al público”.

So, regardless of what is said elsewhere or what has been posted in social media, smoking is banned in the Canaries except in streets or public spaces where a minimum of 2m distancing can be guaranteed. And this has been the case since last Friday.

I will take this opportunity to comment further. I have smoked myself, and although given up now, have no problem with smokers or people smoking. This is not an anti-smoker thing, it is just the law. It is entirely up to people what they do with the fact but this is what Canarian Government has legislated – and you have links to the legislation. It is not a personal crusade of my own or anything of the kind. I have no interest in whether someone smokes in a bar or not other than reporting the fact that it is not allowed.

It is also entirely up to people what they do with the information I report. If it conflicts with other publications, then ok, it conflicts. Make your own minds up which publication to follow/read/trust/believe … but don’t play them off against each other. We all get reports in various ways, from contacts, press releases, official info channels. Some of us get more than others, and each of us interprets in our own way. Most often we agree and coincide in what we report. Where we don’t, it is for readers to decide how to interpret the difference, not us, who are reporting as we understand the information and so can only repeat what we’ve posted anyway!

In terms of anything that relates to Facebook posts, I will say that I have left the platform now. For all the good that can be said about it, to my mind now it is fundamentally a toxic cesspit of idiocy, nastiness, and conspiracy theory (Qanon especially, the conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories), and I will not have its venom brought here. I will therefore no longer publish comments or questions starting with something like “can you just clarify something I’ve read on FB” … and would just suggest that if that’s where anyone’s getting their news, well, they shouldn’t … . I hope readers understand my standpoint. 

Updated 3pm, 14/8: Sanidad (Spain) has announced coordinated measures throughout Spain in response to the resurgent outbreak. The measures, see HERE, will apply here as well, and are in addition to those announced this morning by the Canarian Government and which are detailed below. Now, national Health Secretary Salvador Illa has announced the following additional restrictions which apply everywhere in Spain, naturally including the Canaries. Illa says that the Government has decided to adopt such coordinated actions for the first time in Spain’s democratic history of autonomous communities with their own regional Governments and devolved powers. These measures have been adopted unanimously by the Spanish Government and agreed by the regional Governments. They are now in force and will remain in effect until specifically revoked by the national Health Department. The measures are: 

  • the closure of all nightlife establishments – discos, cocktail bars, dance halls with or without performances 
  • hotel and catering establishments must ensure that there are no more than 10 customers per table or group thereof, and to close no later than 1am, with last customers admitted at midnight latest – please note that this applies to all hotels, bars, restaurants and their terraces regardless of individual licensing permissions (“El horario de cierre de los establecimientos [de hostelería, restauración, terrazas y bares/restaurantes de playa] será la 1:00 h. como máximo, sin que puedan admitirse nuevos clientes a partir de las 00:00 h.” 
  • protection measures reinforced for residential homes
  • events involving crowds must have undertaken a regional Health Department risk assessment in advance  
  • street drinking parties – botellon – are prohibited. No drinking anywhere at any time on public roads. Municipalities have been told by national Government now (and regional Government here in the Canaries) to “apply the fines regime rigorously”
  • Smoking and vaping are banned outdoors when a 2m minimum interpersonal distance cannot be maintained. Specifically the Government says that the obligation to wear a mask is waived while smoking or vaping outdoors if a 2m distance from others can be guaranteed  

Smoking or vaping is a real issue for many. And so, I’ll try to interpretat the three rules. Firstly the Canarian Government says that it’s banned in streets or any open-air spaces if it’s not possible to guarantee 2m distancing. This is effectively what the national Government has also just said, namely that it’s banned outdoors when a 2m minimum interpersonal distance cannot be maintained. So, people can smoke out of doors on streets and in public spaces, or open spaces which are accessible to the public, providing that a 2m distance from others can be guaranteed.

The Canarian Government, however, has additionally said this morning that it’s banned in all entertainment, leisure, catering and other types of establishment open to the public – no mention of distancing, just a “no se permitirá”. So my understanding is that if someone is sitting having a coffee or a drink, or has eaten and usually smokes after dining, they cannot, but if they were to move to a promenade or a street, and can ensure a 2m distance, then they can remove their mask to smoke there.

Updated 14 August: Canarian President Ángel Torres says that the simple fact is that apart from family gatherings, nightlife enjoyed by the young is the principal driver of the resurgent covid19 outbreak in the Canaries. Torres said that this was why yesterday’s extraordinary meeting of the Canaries’ Governing Council opted to restrict it by stopping clubs and bars allowing customers in and only permitting them to use terraces, with seating only at tables, and no dancing. The President confirmed that the figures, which started increasing in their tens over several days, are now increasing by multiples of that, even of a hundred, and the Government had no choice whatsoever but to act, and firmly, in the face of youngsters who are behaving incorrectly in venues. This video has been issued to try to get across the message that just one last drink may well be the last drink that one ever has.

Torres stressed that the patient profile now is a young and asymptomatic individual spreading the virus through failure to follow the measures required of 1.5 physical distancing, face mask wearing, and rigorous and frequent hand washing. The President was adamant that he did not want to demonise the sector, or the young, but the conclusion was unavoidable that this was the main problem. 

The new measures announced yesterday and in force from today will be in place for at least the next fortnight, with Torres indicating that future decisions will depend on how the outbreak evolves. The Government has confirmed today that the current new measures cover: 

  • everyone of and over 6 years of age must wear a mask in all public spaces indoors and out, including the street. Specifically public spaces are defined as open-air or enclosed spaces of public use or where the public has access, regardless of any distancing measures in place or possible
  • masks are required in catering establishments, including bars and cafés, and may be removed only at the very moment of eating or drinking (the Spanish is “Se excluye la obligación del uso de la mascarilla solamente en el momento de la ingesta de alimentos o bebidas”. This confirms the police stance expressed yesterday that their view of how this is enforced is that someone nursing a drink must wear a mask, and they will not accept someone sitting, for example, with a group of people with drinks on the table while claiming “I’m drinking” as a reason for its removal
  • masks are not required in schools for stable class groups or, if in wider school groupings, where a 1.5m physical distance is guaranteed 
  • masks are not required in natural spaces or open air spaces outside of towns and villages if the number of people about means that 1.5m distancing can be guaranteed. If it cannot they must be worn 
  • masks are required on beaches and by pools, and at their access points and walkways: this includes communal pools in complexes. Masks may be removed only while bathing or at rest in a determined space – ie sunbathing on a sunbed in a zone where distancing is organized (the Spanish is “Se excluye la obligación del uso durante el baño y mientras se permanezca en un espacio determinado, sin desplazarse, y siempre que se pueda garantizar la distancia de seguridad entre no convivientes) 
  • masks are recommended in private spaces in the open air or indoors when people from different households are meeting 
  • Smoking and vaping, water pipes and the like, are banned in all streets and open-air spaces where it is not possible to guarantee a 2m physical distance from anyone else, nor in any entertainment, leisure, hotel, restaurant or any other type of establishment open to the public. This is a controversial topic, so please note that the law says:
    • No se permitirá fumar, usar dispositivos de inhalación de tabaco, pipas de agua, cachimbas, shisha o asimilados en la vía pública y en los espacios al aire libre, siempre que no resulte posible garantizar el mantenimiento de una distancia de seguridad interpersonal de 2 metros” (banned in streets etc)
    • but the Government has confirmed HERE: Tabaco, dispositivos de inhalación de tabaco, pipas de agua, cachimbas, shisha o asimilados – No se permitirá en todos los locales de entretenimiento, ocio, hostelería, restauración y en cualquier otro tipo de establecimiento abierto al público (also banned in all entertainment, leisure, catering and any other type of establishment open to the public)
  • A 1.5m distance must be kept between tables or groups of tables in catering establishments, as well as at their bars. Maximum occupancy per table or groups of tables inside or out will be 10.  
  • Discos and nightclubs will only be able to open their terraces or outdoor spaces to the public, and then only seated at tables to a maximum terrace capacity of 75%. Dancing is not permitted 

The new measures have been published today in the BOC HERE, and in relation to various queries I can say that the exemptions that have always applied still apply. Those are expressed in article 6.2 of what we can call the New Normal Law, Real Decreto 21/2020, of 9 June, HERE. This says: 

La obligación contenida en el apartado anterior no será exigible para las personas que presenten algún tipo de enfermedad o dificultad respiratoria que pueda verse agravada por el uso de la mascarilla o que, por su situación de discapacidad o dependencia, no dispongan de autonomía para quitarse la mascarilla, o bien presenten alteraciones de conducta que hagan inviable su utilización.

Tampoco será exigible en el caso de ejercicio de deporte individual al aire libre, ni en los supuestos de fuerza mayor o situación de necesidad o cuando, por la propia naturaleza de las actividades, el uso de la mascarilla resulte incompatible, con arreglo a las indicaciones de las autoridades sanitarias.

The obligations above are not imposed on those with any type of illness or respiratory problem that might be worsened by wearing a mask or those who, due to disability or dependency, cannot remove a mask, or suffer behavioural changes that make mask wearing unfeasible.

They are also not required for those practising individual sport in the open air, nor in cases of force majeure or situation of need, or when wearing a mask is incompatible with an action being undertaken, in accordance with the Health Authorities’ indications 

Updated 5pm, 13/8: Now there is further detail on the new restrictions as below, and these should be published in the BOC tomorrow.

Facemasks are compulsory and must be worn correctly in open and closed spaces, whether or not 1.5m physical distancing can be maintained. This is on public roads, in open spaces, any closed spaces intended for public use or simply open to the public … in other words, bars, restaurants, cafés, hotels, just not in private spaces for a single family. cretions to the environment. The only time a mask can be taken off in such a public space is on beaches when sunbathing or swimming – and only sunbathing and swimming – and when eating and drinking: police say that their view of how this is enforced is that someone nursing a drink must wear a mask, and they will not accept someone sitting, for example, with a group of people with drinks on the table while claiming “I’m drinking” as a reason for its removal.  

Smoking doesn’t count, and indeed smoking has been banned everywhere outside where a 1.5m distance can’t be maintained. It is already banned indoors, but now it must be restricted outside to a 1.5m distance from anyone else. The problem smokers will have is that they are also required in such spaces to wear a face mask at all times unless eating or drinking, so smoking is practically impossible, even if theoretically conceivable.

Exceptions for face masks exist, and as before, in article 6.2 of RD 21/2020, of June 9, these are those with certified illnesses or respiratory difficulties, those who are disabled and can’t put them on or take them off, those who are exercising in the open air, or in cases of compelling need. Having said that, this is a restrictive exemption list, and the Government actually even recommends masks in private gatherings, anywhere that people from different households meet.  

As before, groups are now limited to 10, and all establishments must show marked separation distances of 1.5m as required. Nightclubs may remain open but only for clients on terraces, and always seated and without dancing. Outside terraces, in any case, have a maximum capacity restriction of 75%. 

Parties of all sorts are banned: specifically, the Government says that “la celebración de verbenas y fiestas populares seguirán sin autorizarse, dada la evolución epidemiológica actual.” (popular fiestas and get-togethers or dances)

I’ll give the link to the BOC as soon as it’s published. 

Updated 13 August: Following an emergency meeting called as a result of the increasing cases in the Canaries, the regional Government has now introduced the following measures:

  • face masks must be worn in all public spaces
  • smoking is banned in open spaces – technically it’s if 1.5m distancing can’t be observed but face masks are required at all times now except when eating or drinking so effectively smoking outside has been banned 
  • groups limited to a maximum of 10
  • nightlife venues may only open outdoor terraces and then only to a capacity of 75% with spacing of 1.5m and with all customers required to be seated at tables and with no dancing.

Sadly, if people continue to flout measures introduced to save lives, these won’t be the only restrictions introduced or reintroduced. I’ve heard people say they can’t wait to “get back to the new normal”. What people need to do is get used to the new normal, rather than getting back to anything … and by definition a new normal is new anyway. These rules are likely to be around for a while now.

Updated 9 August: The national Government has issued a guide for those renting out Viviendas Vacacionales, or those looking after registered private residential holiday rental properties. The guide is HERE.   

Updated 5 August: HERE is the published version from today’s BOC of the revised and tightened measures announced by the Canarian Government on Monday.

Updated 3 August: Following its recent announcement about meeting to revise health regulations for covid19 to deal with worrying situations relating to closed spaces, parties and family get-togethers, the Canarian Government has announced that the islands will remain the only autonomous community not to legislate for face masks to be worn at all times in public. Nonetheless, the rules have been tightened so that masks must be worn at all times in any closed spaces other than one’s home even where distancing of 1.5m is possible, and indeed, even if no-one else is there.

In addition, all establishments open to the public will be required to ensure compliance with the regulations, and to mark out 1.5m distances to help their customers visualise the space they have to leave between themselves and others. In restaurants, customers may only remove their masks for the specific purposes of eating and drinking, and they must be replaced at all other times. Not wearing a mask properly, indeed, is now sanctionable: the law is not just to wear a mask, Pérez stressed, but to wear a mask properly. This means covering the nose and mouth completely, and be properly fitted to the nose and chin so as to contain respiratory particles. The point of a mask is to protect others from ourselves, not to protect ourselves from others: the original advice remains solid, that we should not seek so much to avoid catching covid19 but act at all times as though we already had it and were trying to avoid infecting anyone else.

Numbers sharing tables or in groups have also been restricted to a maximum of ten while anyone partying outside in the street parties known as botellones will now risk a fine. Sanidad (Canarias) minister Julio Pérez said that they were very popular with young people who gather and drink out of car boots, but this is not safe behaviour and provision of alcoholic drinks in the street was banned in any case. That ban will now be enforced.

Pérez also said that a strong recommendation was that everyone meeting anyone they didn’t live with should wear masks, including in social gatherings in private spaces. The minister reminded the public that the €100 fines established in national law for not complying with the face mask requirement should be considered as a minimum because the amount could be increased if any such incident included violation of further regional pandemic measures legislated in the Canaries.

Updated 8pm, 30/7: The Canarian Government is to hold an extraordinary meeting on Monday to revise health regulations for covid19 which will deal with worrying situations relating to closed spaces, parties and family get-togethers. The move comes in the wake of national Health Secretary Illa’s comments earlier today that these were the principal drivers of infection, risking the health of all age groups and societal sectors.  

Updated 30 July: Following Canarian Health Minister Blas Trujillo’s announcement yesterday that Sanidad (Canarias) has drawn up a strategic plan to deal with a resurgence of Covid19 which is now expected as a virtual certainty, Spain’s Health Secretary Salvador Illa has today said that the New Normal will require us to learn to relate to each other in a different way, controlling our circle of contacts and mixing only with a stable group of set contacts for the foreseeable future … in other words, indefinitely.

Illa was speaking before the Congressional Health Committee, at his own request, to report on the epidemiological evolution of Covid19 and the actions taken by the national Government which is setting up a strategic reserve to support the autonomous regions of Spain, each with its own Government, like the Canaries. The support will be in the form of material and products it already has possession of, and those supplies expected to arrive shortly after being procured over the past few months. The Minister said that we will have to learn to live with the virus until an effective treatment is available or a vaccine is developed, as is the case in all countries, not just Spain. Illa explained that to minimise risk while this vulnerability exists, we have to follow the three main recommendations – the 3 Ms (in Spanish): maintain (mantener) physical distancing, wash hands (manos) frequently, and wear a face mask (mascarilla) when physical distancing cannot be guaranteed. 

Illa reported to the Committee that some 60% of cases reported to Central Government by the regions are asymptomatic and are being detected by testing. More than 42,000 PCRs are being performed daily on average, he explained. As we were already informed by Sanidad (Canarias) (24 July update HERE), the profile of positive cases has changed remarkably from someone elderly with underlying conditions to younger patients, often asymptomatic or with mild symptoms. This means, Illa explained, that even if they themselves are at lower risk, they are the group more likely to take risks and attend social get-togethers and parties, often without following the three Ms, and as such although the pressure on health systems is currently low it can’t be taken for granted to remain so. The health of the health service itself, he said, depends on people looking after their own health, as well as that of others.

While the idea seems widespread that tourism is a great driver of infection, it is these younger groups that are really fuelling it, as well as workplace contagion. Indeed, tourists are subject to what Illa called Case Entry Control, with strongly reinforced monitoring including telematic passenger location identification and thermographic cameras at airports since the borders were reopened. All controls applied in Spanish ports and airports are in line with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) aviation health safety protocol, the Minister emphasized, in a tone that seems clearly, at least in part, to be a response to the UK’s recent application of quarantine on those returning from Spain and the advice not to travel to any part of the country including the Canaries and Balearics. 

Meanwhile, Illa said that Spain is an active contributor to the European strategy to develop a vaccine as quickly as possible and to guarantee equal access to all European countries. Spain is part of the Covid19 Inclusive Vaccine Alliance, he explained, as well as of the negotiating team for the European Union’s Advance Purchase Agreement for Vaccines against Covid19. Formed by representatives from seven countries (Spain, Germany, France, Holland, Sweden, Poland and Italy), it acts as the sole interlocutor with the different companies that are developing candidates for the new Coronavirus vaccine. In addition, the Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Ministry of Health hold weekly meetings to monitor the 12 research projects on vaccines being carried out in Spain, as well as progress at international level.

To conclude his appearance before the Committee, the Minister expressed his sadness and condolences for all those who had died from Covid19 and the families of its victims. He said he was full of pride for the professionals who “have been and will continue to be the cornerstone of the National Health System”.  

Updated 6pm, 29/7: Another video from the campaign to emphasize the need to contain the Covid19 outbreak. Again it’s in Spanish but it is such an obvious and clear message … hand hygiene, physical distancing, face masks …

  

Updated 29 July: Canarian Health Minister Blas Trujillo has said that Sanidad (Canarias) has drawn up a strategic plan to deal with a resurgence of Covid19 which is now expected as a virtual certainty. “It’s going to come, Trujillo said, and the Canaries has to be prepared to deal with it, hence the strategic document to reorganize Sanidad regionally so that it’s ready to deal with whichever of the different scenarios of the pandemic develops. Trujillo told Parliament that the islands “are facing a challenge of such magnitude that the tremendously exceptional situation we’re in is not at all clear to make out”. 

Updated 23 July: Sanidad has released the following video as part of a campaign to emphasize the need to contain the Covid19 outbreak. It’s in Spanish but it is such an obvious and clear message. Basically, it says that a simple family get-together – in the video it’s an elderly person’s birthday tea – can give you the present of 40 days in a coma … or even death. The campaign calls on everyone to enjoy their families while respecting safety distancing requirements … 1.5m can be the gift of life itself.

Updated 21 July: We’re nowhere near where we need to be yet, the authorities say. We can avoid another lockdown that would be socially and economically catastrophic (dramatic, in the Government’s own words) if we obey the rules.

Legally enforceable measures in place are to wear a face mask at all times in public transport or cars shared with others from a different household, and anywhere and everywhere in public where a 1.5m physical distance cannot be maintained. There are exceptions for those doing something where one cannot be worn but one must be carried to be worn when the activity has stopped, and those with certified breathing problems are wholly exempt. To be explicit for those who want to avoid wearing a mask and who seem to think they can just claim to have “breathing problems”, such exemption requires a medical certificate either from a Spanish doctor or one from a foreign doctor officially translated into Spanish confirming a prior diagnosis. 

With regard to dancing, it seems that many who mock the dancing prohibition think it’s because the Government are killjoys. Generally these are the same people who don’t want to wear masks, and who think the virus is “just a mild flu”. So to be clear, it is not a mild “flu” at all, it is a SARS virus, and the death tallies around the world show it is anything but “mild”. The dancing ban is to stop people getting sweaty and breathing more heavily and so expelling perspiration or respiratory particles that could spread the virus.  

In addition, Sanidad has advised everyone to “avoid the Three Cs”. These are closed spaces (or at least poorly-ventilated ones), crowds, and close contact (with anyone other than those one lives with).

Updated 18 July: The Canarian Government called recently for public responsibility in complying with safety measures and has from now started enforcing them. The main areas of enforcement will focus on catering establishments, whether bars, restaurants, or clubs. The President says that it’s this or another lockdown, and that another lockdown would be “dramatic”. Please see HERE for more details.

Updated 12 July: With tourism starting to return, I’ve had several queries from people involved in the private holiday rental sector either as owners or key holders and associated service providers as to what cleaning and disinfection requirements they have to fulfill for guests. Naturally, any touristic apartments will be let to holidaymakers through the sole agents situated in the complex itself and they will be informed by their own business advisers of what to do, but for those letting out residential property through the Vivienda Vacacional scheme HERE is last month’s Canarian legislation which contains all the cleaning and disinfection requirements for all circumstances. 

Updated 3 July:  Spain has introduced a digital Passenger Location Card, and this video from national Sanidad, in English, shows how to get the app to enable you to fill out the form to generate a QR code to just flash as you come through the airport here. Those who can’t do it, or face doing it, or who don’t have a smartphone, don’t need to worry because the old paper forms will still be available … no-one can enter the country now without completing this form in one way or another. 

Updated 30 June: The EU has agreed a list of 15 countries whose nationals can enter member states from tomorrow. As you will remember, Spain has said that from 1 July the country’s borders will be relaxed still further, and that the countries to be admitted will be agreed throughout the EU. Those countries are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay. The cases of Morocco, Algeria and China are subject to those countries reciprocally reopening their own borders with Spanish residents.

These countries were chosen on the basis of the new cases they’ve recorded over the past fortnight, their case average per 100,000 residents, stability or decrease of outbreak, and overall response including testing etc.  Spain has confirmed that it will comply with the EU’s suggestion to review the list every fortnight; it may also be updated by the Council in consultation with the Commission and relevant agencies and services. Health Secretary Illa has this afternoon confirmed that although Spain’s borders were expected to open up from tomorrow, these new measures will actually be in place from 2 or 3 July.

Updated 6pm, 26/6: The Cabildo has decided, in view of the end of the estado de alarma as well as the positive evolution of the covid19 outbreak in Tenerife, to dismantle the field hospital that was set up in March in the Recinto Ferial in Santa Cruz. The hospital was intended to cover any increase of cases that could overwhelm the health sector, and so as a support to the island’s existing hospitals. Tenerife President Pedro Martín stressed his gratitude for the dedication and professionalism of all involved in the setting up and running of the installation, and for the good fortune that it was not required as feared. Let’s hope that may long continue!  

Updated 4pm, 26/6: The Spanish Government has announced the reopening of the Parador hotels. Spain’s tourism minister Reyes Maroto said that she would encourage people to take a holiday in the hotels, where national controls meant that safety and hygiene protocols had been strengthened to the maximum. The state-run luxury hotel chain is anticipating an increase in bookings as staycations are promoted for Spaniards, and indeed the chain is an amazing one, often a luxury conversion of an historic building, whether a castle or fortress, monastery or convent, or an ancient palace. In a system which has some similarities to the UK’s National Trust, the income generated is used to maintain the buildings, many of which are protected. Many are also in incredible locations, and that is certainly true with the Tenerife Parador, which might not appear the most classical of old buildings but its location in the Teide national park, in the heart of the caldera, has to be one of the most spectacular of all the Paradors!   

For those who prefer their nature in a more immediate form, the Tenerife Cabildo has said that the island’s recreational areas and campsites will start reopening from tomorrow. Cabildo Councillor Isabel García said that the areas will be supervised and controlled to ensure that they are used in accordance with necessary New Normal health and safety measures, especially at weekends. The first to open, tomorrow, will be the recreational areas of Las Raíces in El Rosario, Llano de los Viejos in La Laguna, La Quebrada in Tegueste, Las Lajas in Vilaflor, La Caldera in La Orotava, Chío in Guía de Isora, and San José de los Llanos in El Tanque. These areas will be open between 10am and 5pm, but no BBQs/fires will be allowed, and there will be a maximum capacity of 10 per table. Users will also have to wear a mask whenever a 1.5m distance cannot be maintained with anyone outside of the group itself.

Camping areas to reopen will be Las Raíces in El Rosario, Las Lajas in Vilaflor, La Caldera in La Orotava, Chío in Guía de Isora and Arenas Negras in Garachico. These are for groups of no more than 20 and in each case require prior authorization from the Central de Reservas del Cabildo de Tenerife HERE. The campsites at El Lagar, Madre del Agua and Barranco de la Arena remain closed until further notice. 

The Cabildo has also confirmed that half the official arts and crafts shops –  Artesania de Tenerife – have now reopened. They are in Plaza de España, Santa Cruz; Casa Torrehermosa y Museo de Artesanía Iberoamericana, La Orotava; and the Casa de la Aduana, Puerto de la Cruz. Those in the south of Tenerife, in Las Vistas, Las Américas and Puerto Colón, as well as the kiosk at the harbour in Puerto de la Cruz, will open progressively once tourism is seen as becoming re-established.

Updated 26 June: I’ve had several enquiries lately about community pools now that we’re out of the estado de alarma and phase 3, and into the New Normal. Community swimming pool regulations are among the many powers which have now been restored to the Spanish regions and their autonomous Governments. We are, however, still in a health emergency, and the national Government has said it will not change that designation until a vaccine is developed or a guaranteed treatment becomes available. 

Against that background, the rules will continue to be very similar for community pools to those imposed in phase 2 of the estado de alarma’s de-escalation (HERE – article 44f). Regions, however, can now establish their own regulations, and the Canarian Government published its New Normal health and safety covid-prevention measures HERE last weekend. In terms specifically of recreational pools, the regional measures are HERE, and based on THIS national Government advice for pools which forms the basis of all legislation now throughout the country. 

Anyone who wants to know if their pool can open needs to check the situation in their own community to ascertain what its particular conditions are, and how the complex can comply with the regional legislation based on the national guidelines. As you will see, distancing, capacity restrictions, hygiene requirements, etc., all remain in place and are likely to be so for the foreseeable future. The only one who will be able to give confirmed and specific information about a pool in any particular community is its administrator and/or president. I hope this helps provide a bit of clarity on a situation that is clearly concerning many.  

Original post 22 June: Although Spain remains in a covid19 health emergency, the country is now in the New Normal. It has been a long road to get here, but now the estado de alarma has been lifted, and Tenerife has left phase 3. Spain’s borders are partially open – until 1 July only to Schengen & EU countries including the UK, but from next month an incremental series of relaxations will see third countries able to enter.

The New Normal rules will be in place until Spain declares an end to the health emergency, which the Government has indicated will only be when a vaccine is developed or a guaranteed treatment becomes available. The main effects for us personally are:

  • arrivals do not have to quarantine but must fill out a form with their personal details and where they’re staying; they must also be approved by automated temperature control and visual inspection. For the avoidance of confusion, these rules apply to all international arrivals in Spain, so naturally including the Canaries, and not to travel within Spain
  • face masks must be worn at all times in public transport or cars shared with others from a different household, and anywhere in public where a 1.5m physical distance cannot be maintained (there are exceptions for those doing something where one cannot be worn but one must be carried to be worn when the activity has stopped, and those with certified breathing problems are wholly exempt)
  • shops and offices including Government departments, bars and restaurants, cinemas, museums, churches etc are open – local regulations, capacity restrictions, distancing & hygiene rules will apply, and appointments may be necessary, with clear information about all conditions easily accessible on site or online
  • beaches, sporting events and leisure activities resume with capacity restrictions, distancing & hygiene rules, though nightclubs & discos may only open terraces and no dancing allowed

Although acting Foreign Minister Arancha González has said that all visitors are welcome, they are naturally subject to the same rules and regulations as residents in order to ensure not only that we remain safe, but also that we minimise the risks of propagating renewed outbreaks or a second wave of covid19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This is still in circulation, and as yet there is no vaccine against it nor a guaranteed treatment for it. This is why Health Emergencies Centre Director Fernando Simón has warned of the risks of travelling around, and urged us to be responsible and avoid unnecessary journeys. 

We have a wonderful environment here in the Canaries. It is also a safe one. Let’s keep it that way in both respects. 

 

95 Comments

  1. I’ve resigned myself to having to wear a mask and the other slight inconveniences (nothing too onerous though are they?) until at least the end of 2020 and quite probably way beyond, BUT relaxation of the rules any time sooner would be a terrific bonus. I’d sooner be safe (hopefully) than sorry.
    Cotton masks are certainly more comfortable here in the heat that’s for sure.

  2. Don’t they have to be proper surgical masks now?

    Do you walk up and down steep hills in the midday sun in them?

    Our apartment is above all the places we walk to to eat and shop and the roads are very steep, so I don’t think I can bear to wear a mask, so won’t be going until they are not a requirement outside.

  3. Author

    Yes, at all times outside. The masks are described HERE … different ones for different purposes, but I have to say that fabric masks are widely sold here and I would put money on it that they don’t necessarily comply with the spec. The police seem to be happy as long as someone is wearing “a mask” of any type as long as it’s fitted over nose and under chin. I wish I could wear a sort of scarf thing over my nose and falling down to below my chin but it’s not allowed because it’s not fitted. That seems to be the issue, rather than checking the spec … not sure how a police officer on the street would be able to verify the spec was complied with anyway!

  4. The ones that actually do some filtration require some effort to breath through, rather than the ones that just look nice. I don’t think they were ever designed for outdoor activities like walking up steep hills, hundreds of feet.

    That is how we keep fit, are slim and not diabetic and so don’t worry about covid19.

  5. Chris – The ones I have are triple layer 100% cotton NOT SURGICAL, but approved for general use such as we have. Adjustable so they fit very snugly (over nose to under chin)and very comfortable. However, not being a Mad Dog I don’t go out in the midday sun so I can’t say for certain, at other times of day and wherever I go I don’t seem to have breathing problems (a problem from which I have regularly suffered since I was about 5 hours old!!) Give them a try, nothing to lose.

  6. Author

    whether one is worried about covid19 or not, the law requires masks to be worn at all times, outside, fit or diabetic or from Mars. Doesn’t signify.

  7. Chris – So you are fit, slim, not diabetic and don’t worry about covid-19. Lucky you. But your position is not the point. You could be carrying the virus and passing it onto someone else.

    I am fit and healthy and do not have any underlying health problems (that I know of) but I am 70 years old. My age makes me vulnerable so I am annoyed at people who do not think they should wear a mask.

  8. I do wear masks where required in the UK but that is not outside or in bars and restaurants. So I have only worn them twice to shop.

    So I do know what it is like to breathe through one, not pleasant even with no physical exertion in a cooler climate. And they get soggy in the rain! Don’t suppose you have that problem there.

    It is easy to keep 2m away from people outside where I live and I think it would be in Los Gigantes because it is currently deserted. So no danger of passing it to strangers in the road. Might be different in a busy city. I haven’t been to one of those for nearly a year now!

    I will just stay in the UK while I don’t need to wear masks outside and I do in Tenerife.

  9. As a resident of Los gigantes I can say that although it’s not busy it’s certainly not deserted. People do actually live here full time, there are quite a few bars/restaurants open and a lot of the shops. We are all still going about our daily lives and going to work etc. We do have some tourists although not so many Brits… As for mask wearing it’s really very simple, wear one all the time or simply don’t go out it’s really not that hard or that uncomfortable, I walked 14 miles in mine during a heatwave and it wasn’t so bad. More comfortable than an ICU bed and ventilator or worse still a coffin…. We wear them to protect other people and to save lives…… Simple

  10. It’s getting quite worrying. But I am coming on Friday and will do what I must to stay safe. Just hope there’s not another lock down.

  11. Well said ELLEN. It is very simple, as you say Sure, I can get uncomfortable in a mask in the heat, but it is not about me me me, it is protecting others and saving lives. I am very happy for people who don’t want to do that, or to wear a mask, to stay away. They won’t be missed.

  12. Exactly Mary as you said – if you can’t play nicely we don’t want you.

    Andrew – I’m sure you will play nicely and obey the few requirements of mask, distancing etc. Anyway, what’s worse than being locked down with us all – lovely people, including expats like me!

  13. Having watched the very large and tightly packed whale/dolphin boats going to sea from Puerto Colon since the return of tourism I’m amazed that the virus is not rampant in the Adeje/Arona areas.

  14. Author

    It’s when they go home that the problem arises … look at the flight from Zante recently.

  15. We spend winter in Tenerife every year,until this year,not a problem. Corvid changed that.
    We ended up coming home early at the end of March.
    Your site became our bible.Still is.
    Grave doubts about returning this year.
    What happens if you catch corvid over there?
    Will the Canarian government fund an hospital stay.

  16. Author

    Thank you for your kind comments! Have a look HERE for the insurance situation re covid and the Canarian Government.

  17. Hi Al, in the absence of any information to the contrary I am planning on returning next month in the belief that the ‘insurance’ that the Canarian Gov’t have organised with AXA will cover us.

    Our regular insurance with Staysure has an extension to cover all other issues if travelling to a destination on the FCO essential travel list only.

    It’s pretty clear the situation will worsen in both the Islands and the UK before it gets better, driven by a sizable proportion of the population who openly ignore the advice and regulation

    From my perspective the flight home is probably the time of greatest risk as there’s not a whole lot I can do to keep out of harms way. The rest of the time, both here and there I feel (pretty) safe due to my own behaviours

  18. Should have stated on my previous post unless Tenerife comes off the FCO essential travel list only,will be staying at home anyway

  19. We have purchased face masks from a medical supplies company in the UK that rates 98% filtration- expensive but worth it for our upcoming visit
    dental-nursing.co.uk is one of the best websites explaining the different grades of face masks
    Google will direct searches to Amazon – nothing wrong with that BUT read the reviews as some are very negative
    Why are the police not stopping the boat trips mentioned above?

  20. Author

    They aren’t stopping them because they are legal. Whether the boats themselves are enforcing the rules is another matter. I would hope that a passenger would denounce them if they pack people in against current regulations but presumably anyone happy to go out in a boat with a group of others where distancing is impossible won’t care anyway.

    As I’ve said before, and as the authorities say repeatedly, we can’t have a polceman next to every Canarian or tourist. Spanish law for this outbreak requires us all, in any case, to police this pandemic, to ensure that we do our utmost not to catch covid, or spread it, and to ensure social behaviour from others for the same reasons and results. If people won’t do that, it is not the police’s fault but anti-social behaviour by the very ones complaining that “the police do nothing”.

  21. It’s very disappointing to see the daily increase in virus cases, after we had done so well for months. I know this virus is going to be with us long term but the current rather speedy escalation is not what we want to see. However, having said that over the last week or so I’ve seen a number of people wandering around in Cristianos no masks and often in largish groups, they’ve virtually all be Spanish speakers and glower at me if I mention, very politely, anything to them and often respond in English as well as Spanish basically ‘to mind my own’! These are, invariably groups of older teenagers/young adults. Where are the police when I need them? I know kids will be kids, but even they must realise the severity of the situation.

  22. So after a lot of stressing about coming to Tenerife, I decided to go for it and arrived this morning. In Playa Fanabe/Torviscas it’s very quiet. Some restaurants shut, and some closed down. There’s plenty of space here and easy to keep distances. Glad I came 👍

  23. Andrew – I don’t think you’ll be sorry you decided to come over after much debating, and despite the problems life is still good here (possibly reduced number of tourists is helping) and the weather (having slightly cooled down now) is pretty well perfect.

    Enjoy your stay again

  24. Thanks Theresa. Only been here since 11 this morning and glad I came. It is quiet. But I like that. Everyone in the area I am in is being responsible. And… I am here for three weeks.

  25. Unfortunately I think the Canaries need to do something more radical to change the rapid increase into a rapid decrease, Closing bars an hour early and increasing fines for not wearing masks, etc , is not going to make much difference.

    They need to reduce social contact in people’s homes and gatherings between friends in bars, etc.

    In the England we can only socialise in a group of 6 from two households, either in a private house, or in a bar or restaurant. In places that are in special measures, which is a lower threshold than 100 in 100000, we cannot mix at all with other households except outdoors with social distancing.

    Interesting Tenerife was high in the first wave and low in the second. I think maybe a lot of the people likely to become ill with it got it in the first wave. Similar in the UK with London. They got a high first wave but came down rapidly in lockdown and have been relatively low since.

  26. Andrew. It is lovely here for a holiday at the moment and I hope you thoroughly enjoy a relaxing break. Perfect weather, no noisy boisterous crowds etc. I hope you also take the chance to explore all of the island’s beauty away from the coast. Enjoy!

  27. It’s busy on the beach today. Mainly locals. Mary. I will have a great time. I love this island and indeed, this is my 57th holiday here over the past 25 years. I have explored and explored and still come back…. Stay safe evryone

  28. Boats trips concern
    Of course one does not expect the police to follow every tourist but I would be very surprised if they were not aware that boat trips could be an area of concern and do unannounced checks
    Hopefully a resident will report them
    Irrespective of how is to blame over this issue my concern was and always be the effect on friends who are suffering financially on the island and have no means of generating income
    Many of us in the UK read this website and the boat trips issue will not have a positive effect on those in the UK, especially older ones who support the winter season, returning soon
    Sorry to harp on about this and despite this and the present situation we are arriving soon

  29. Do the police have boats and do they have jurisdiction in the seas?

    I expect if you go far enough out it no longer falls under Spanish law.

  30. Author

    yes the Guardia Civil do, and they have jurisdiction in Spanish waters.

  31. So glad I came. I am having a great time in Costa Adeje. What shocks me though is the number of people not wearing masks. Most of them, when I have heard them, are British. Shame. Masked to me is fine, despite my worries about my asthma.

  32. Like many others, I avoid holiday areas but I do know people who live there. I am very sorry to hear you have seen this Andrew. Unbelievable. I know of several venues in Porto Colon area where social distancing and masks are not deemed too important. They even post pictures on Facebook. Is crazy. Glad you are enjoying your holiday

  33. Andrew – typical Brits, just keep reading on this site, you’ll see plenty of them moaning about masks and the non need for them in the UK. If that’s what they want stay in the UK with Boris (he of the ‘U’ turns!) It now seems to be part of the British mindset to moan.

    Hope you’re enjoying your stay (yet again) save money (and pollution) and just move over now instead of a couple of years or so. TOMORROW NEVER COMES!!

  34. Thanks for the comments all. I am actually having a super time. I am a bit of a loner, so this current situation is fine. I am staying in an apartment in a quiet area and have got used to the masks. I stay away from those who don’t think it is necessary to wear them. And I can assure you I aim to move as soon as I can, but for personal reasons cannot do it yet… Take care all

  35. I prefer 0 / 100.000.
    50 / 100.000 is looking for trouble AGAIN!!

  36. Despite my anxiety before coming, my three weeks in Tenerife have been super and I have felt very safe! Safer than at home. Its quiet, but restaurant and bar staff have been excellent. The only downside, a few English! people flaunting the rules. Today, I moved to avoid two Brits, the man coughing….. He then swore and asked why I was wearing a mask, before swearing again. Hey ho. There are idiots around.

    However. I have had a super holiday….

    I hope things get sorted soon so tha my beloved Tenerife can thrive again…

    Love to everyone who lives here….

  37. Andrew – and to you and hope to see you back here (on the island and on this site) soon. Very pleased you had an enjoyable time again, but for now back to virus ridden UK – I don’t envy you one bit! Please pass the word on in the UK that Tenerife is still very much open to ‘nice’ visitors.

  38. Author

    Just another reminder that this is not a “forum”, and that I do not allow comments that undermine public health messaging, nor threats of any type … including the type that threaten to take the fortune they were going to spend in Tenerife elsewhere if they are going to be treated like “diseased animals”. Please just go elsewhere with your comments … wherever you spend your money.

    And don’t bother putting in fake email addresses. There is no point because anyone who wants the right to sound off on my site and demands dialogue, but won’t even allow me to email to explain why their repeated attempts to post have failed is going to get put on the blacklist anyway so I won’t even see their comments before they’re binned. Hope that’s clear.

  39. …. comments such as,’virus ridden UK’ are both unpleasant and offensive.’ Is it really necessary to make this sort of remark? Is the UK any more ‘virus ridden’ than many other Countries?
    Reasoned debate and discussion need to replace perceived, or actual personal animosity.

  40. Yes pot calling kettle at the moment.

  41. Don’t worry Phillip these sort of comments might be irritating but in truth the poster’s influence is de minimis.

  42. You are correct Philip, the term ‘virus ridden’ may be considered unpleasant and offensive to some and the UK is certainly not alone. But, unsurprisingly, a number of posts on Janet’s site tend to be from Brits who are predominantly influenced by British media reports which tend to focus on the domestic situation.

    Over the past months that reporting has reflected a great deal of disrespect for the rule of law and of mindless ignorance amongst a significant number of the population despite being presented with undisputed facts and scientific evidence. The stuff Janet refers to in her warnings re posts on this site also reflects this sad fact. That does not mean idiots are restricted to the UK. They are not. France, Spain and elsewhere have their far share and those nations are now also seeing more public ‘resistance’ to increased measures.

    To many Brits who live on these islands such behaviours and attitudes are both crass and abhorrent. Especially amongst those of us who are in their later years, like me, who have endured a very strict lockdown lasting several months and have continued to endure strict protocols since in an attempt to reduce the spread of this virus and save lives.

    So no, we do not want to see idiots, germ ridden or not, coming here. Those of the like Andrew referred to in his post.

    So it is no wonder that certain posts reflect a viewpoint that some visitors pose a significant risk to us and If that is unpleasant and offensive then so be it.

    What we can all agree upon is that the public and visitors alike need to respect the law at all times regardless of personal viewpoints. And here it is the law, not some liberal fairy request.

  43. The point is that Tenerife is just as ‘virus ridden’ as the UK at the moment. Similar daily new case numbers.

    For example yesterday 99 cases in Tenerife out of about 1M and 6042 in the UK with a population of 66M, slightly lower per capita.

    So just as likely we would catch it in Tenerife as bring it.

  44. Agreed Chris. Thing is, it (Tenerife) wasn’t virus ridden immediately following lockdown but it is now. So what happened following lockdown to create this situation? Answer; borders opened up to visitors.

  45. I would also add that social rules were then subsequently abused and/or ignored.

  46. Hi all
    We are in our second of three weeks in a hotel in Adeje and feel safer here than in the UK!
    We have seen very few incidences of Brits and locals not wearing masks but there are idiots in every country.We see a general adherence to the rules that in the UK have been ignored by far too many especially on beaches and in bars – the latter will improve with the new restrictions
    Sorry to hear the latest lockdown measures due to cases in Santa Cruz which is a big blow to the UK government putting Tenerife back on the safe travel corridor list
    Guess the island’s government will not lock a city down as happens in the UK
    We feel for you all on the island

  47. “So what happened following lockdown to create this situation? Answer; borders opened up to visitors.”

    No the authorities blamed the increases on the natives socialising in their own homes with friends and family and the young in bars, the same in the UK and throughout Europe. The cases are mainly in the capital, not tourist the areas that are deserted.

    To keep the virus under control people would need to stop socialising until a vaccine is distributed, which is a minimum of a year from the start, so it hasn’t happened and there has been a second wave in most of europe.

  48. Hi Ray and Chris
    Take a drive from Mere Nostrum through Las America’s to Adeje as we did last night
    A number of groups of young island people not wearing facemasks!!
    No police about!!!
    I am not defending tourists but having driven around for 2 weeks of our stay so far the vast majority of Brits are following the rules and wearing facemasks!
    Of course there are a few idiot tourists!
    There seems to be a need for those responsible people living on the island to put pressure on the police to have a greater visible presence on the streets taking action
    We failed to do that in the UK , hence the rise in Covid cases primarily amongst the 18-25 age range and our recently increased restrictions are bringing cases down
    We hope to be back in December but like many Brits will not come if Covid cases on the island are too high resulting in the UK government requiring us to quarantine on return so we cannot have Christmas with our family members!
    It’s all so sad for us all

  49. Your personal opinions on this topic are well known here Chris. Others, like me, do not agree with them.

  50. Can someone please clarify, that when the Tenerife special measures situation is reviewed (10th October according to the picture), what will actually change in terms of the rules if it is removed from special measures (traffic light goes green again)? What would then happen in terms of curfews, outdoor facemasks and so on? thanks

  51. Author

    All the rules will remain in place. As I describe right at the top of the page, special measures mean

    – a ban on events involving more than 10,
    – hostelry and restaurant businesses closing by midnight,
    – and the closure of day centres.

    Absolutely nothing else changes, and face mask wearing is compulsory and will remain so. I don’t know what you mean about curfews – there aren’t curfews. If we exit special measures, the only real difference is that groups of more than 10 will be allowed (maximum will need to be reclarified), and bars and restaurants would instead return to havinng to close at 1am and admit no-one after midnight – they’d get the extra hour back, in other words.

  52. Hi Janet
    Just returned after 3 weeks and so sad to see the affect of Covid upon the island and our friends there
    Is there any update on the covid situation in Santa Cruz which we found out about whilst holidaying as the numbers there seemed to have delayed the UK governments chance of putting the island back on the Safe Corridor list ?
    We ask because we hope to return in December and like many others will probably reconsider if we have to quarantine on return and miss Christmas with family

  53. Author

    The situation is evolving constantly. I post the daily figures in the main Covid thread HERE and there is a link in the most recent update to the grafcan website (see HERE) where you can narrow it down further to individual islands, municipalities etc. Santa Cruz is no longer the issue but the regional Government has changed the criteria to assess which islands are in special measures, as I posted in the most recent update (9 Oct) above.

    As to what’s likely for policy either here or in the UK, no-one currently knows or can know, and the situation in the UK is far more concerning right now, in terms of what will be possible for travellers there to arrange in coming weeks, and for us here receiving people from such a terribly afflicted place.

  54. David – I know lots of people who would be thrilled to miss Christmas with their families and spend the time in quarantine doing what they want, when they want, how they want. I spend the time on my own and its great, no arguments about anything, and you can have complete control of the television remote but there again I’m on my own 365 days a year – just me and my moggies!

  55. The news about lifting of travel restrictions from the UK, and no quarantining on return must be good news. Let’s hope the airlines get sorted soon.

  56. Good news indeed Andrew. The likes of Manchester who are now in Tier 3 can deport their covid peoples to our safe Islands without any fear of infecting anyone on their return. One simple question: what about us who live here?

    Get ready for a local state of emergency in Feb/Mar 2021 people.

  57. Good news for the local economy and the thousands of Canarians and other Nationalities, who live here, work here and have mortgages and families to support.
    The hardship and misery that the current situation had brought , is not just about the virus itself. Mental health issues, increased domestic abuse, a rise in global suicide rates are just a few examples of why many people will be pleased that we will see planes flying in from the UK.

  58. It is good news, I have lived and worked here for 15 years on the markets. with no income for 6 months it has become a desperate time, and for so many, the news today lifted my spirits so much so, that I have just now tried to book a flight to uk, missing my mum so much, and with flights at a tenner each way, a few days is all I needed…. BISH BOSH BANG, as I was booking a 10£ flight to uk on Sunday it rocketed to 174£ and a return on Weds at 19£ went to 207£ …. That was a game changer. I mean what the ?? or am I doing it wrong, any advice is welcome. Allison

  59. We are not actually in tier 3 in Manchester until one minute past midnight tonight.

    We will be with you tomorrow though when we depart a few hours after entering tier 3.

    Looking forward to giving the local economy much needed support.

  60. Oh Ray. What a dilemma. Should I postpone my flight on Sunday to that hell hole Manchester?

  61. Ihave mixed feelings about the news that Both the UK and Germany can now send tourists here without them having to isolation on their return,. I am fearful of people coming here rom heavily infected places, BUT the solution is in my own hands. The island is desperate to get it’s economy going, people in the hospitality industry need and deserve to get back to work so if, like me, you are concerned, leave the touristy areas to the tourists, and stay as safe as you can. Best of both worlds?

  62. Whilst I agree it IS good news that the UK is relaxing the quarantine rules – good news for those involved in the hospitality trade, I myself know lots of Spanish, Belgian and other nationalities, as well as Brits, involved in the trade but PERSONALLY, I REPEAT PERSONALLY (just my opinion) I don’t feel too happy about it. You only need to listen to the news to hear how the situation there is deteriorating virtually on a daily basis particularly in several areas, just waiting to bring the virus with them for a holiday in the sun.

    I feel very sorry for those involved in the hospitality trade, having been brought up in it myself from the age of 5 (I was glad to leave home!), you have to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ and we are, of course, in peak season here now. The hoteliers mantra used to be “a better class of tourist from September” added to which “stay at home, just send your money” – I don’t suppose tourists would be any more inclined to do the latter any more today than 60 years ago!!

    I think we might need to prepare ourselves for another spike in a couple of months or so as we saw in September after the influx of Spanish from the peninsula in July and August (in my building anyway)

    Stay safe everyone.

  63. Hell hole was not my choice of words snowbird but with Manchester’s current rate at 432.5 per 100,000 and ICU already above 50% capacity I know where your coming from.

  64. By all means come here Chris. You are legally entitled too and you will be safer than in the UK. That’s because of the strict controls and outstanding efforts local communities have made in an attempt to keep the virus under control. So come, enjoy but most of all comply with ALL restrictions.

  65. Author

    I’ve listed the main rules as they apply to everyone at the top of this page. The foremost of restrictions of course, is face mask wearing. Obviously anyone can break the rules but they risk a not insignificant fine if they do, and if they are fined more than once it becomes a very serious matter. And I’ll just repeat that I still won’t be approving any comments boasting about breaking rules. It’s not funny or clever, just selfish and dangerous.

  66. Janet, we have all sen the attitude of Brits (and others) regarding compliance with very sensible restrictions. Politicians are too concerned about pointing the finger. Im not. It is blatently obvious to most that a LOT of people everywhere, including the UK, have ignored basic stuff. Hence lockdowns which people then bitch about. Simple message is; everyone, live and play safely by following the rules. It’s the best way to help prevent the spread of this nasty virus.

  67. Janet, can you please help with one query I have, do we still need to have a coronavirus check before we leave home, we are due to fly to Tenerife in November.

  68. Author

    No, and you never did! It is possible, however, that one might be introduced, they are discussing it now and over the next few days but no decision has been announced yet.

  69. Now that would be a sensible game changer. If done before travelling.

  70. Hi Janet. I have just heard on Facebook where else? of two lots of people who are on holiday in Spain and now planning to fly to Tenerife for a day or two and then fly to the UK to avoid quarantine??? Surely to goodness there must be a way of preventing this? Unfortunately, I know the checks that are supposed to be carried out on arrival back in the UK re a bit hit and miss, but the recent flights will be recorded on people’s passports so hopefully would have to quarantine anyway. But the idea of ANYONE “using” the Canaries to avoid quarantine is the most selfish thing ever!

  71. Author

    There is no way to avoid this. And this sort of behaviour is selfish, reprehensible, idiotic … and totally to be expected.

    For what it’s worth, and I hesitate to say it really, but it’s fact, I have now heard of more than a handful of cancellations of visits to Tenerife by EU nationals whose reaction to the UK restoring a travel corridor was that they won’t come if the Brits are here because they are infectious and idiotic (their words, not mine!) … and that’s just cancellations overnight! Those who are rejoicing over the “saved tourist season” might not be seeing the whole picture.

    The simple fact is that there is still a pandemic, the risk has not gone away, so people need to be careful, and not triumphalist. And abide by the rules. If they don’t, the police are on orders as they have been now for a while to go heavy and not spare the fines.

  72. The British government is coming under increasing pressure to introduce a ‘circuit break’ lockdown across England. So people should understand things could very easily, and rapidly, go horribly wrong after arriving here.

  73. “infectious and idiotic”. Not your words Janet but certainly my thoughts and words.

  74. I’m not sure all those tourists from Tier 3 areas in the UK are what the islands need…

  75. I was pleased for many friends in the hospitality industry who are getting desperate, but for me it would just make large parts of the south a no-go area, so as I have previously said, mixed feelings really. There are sure to be an increase in cases as there was when the Spanish came in August. Personally I think a compulsory and very recent negative test (paid for privately by the tourist) should be produced before being allowed entry. Can’t see it happening though. I am still struggling to get my head around why anyone would even consider going abroad in the middle of a pandemic, but that’s just ,me.

  76. Author

    not just you, Mary …

  77. I am genuinely sorry for and sensitive to the feelings of those whose livelihood is dependent upon tourists coming to the island. However, I, like most people I think, was really surprised by the UK’s decision to remove both the requirement to quarantine and the guidance to avoid all but essential travel. I am still not intending to use my December flight from Glasgow. The number of cases has been higher recently In Tenerife but cases here and elsewhere in the U.K. also are now so much higher. In Glasgow I am subject to guidance not to travel out with my health board area and I reckon that includes boarding a flight to Tenerife! Similar guidance applies to many of the most seriously affected areas in the U.K. and the prohibition against travel beyond your local area is mandated by law in Wales at present. Accordingly those of us residing in areas where such guidance or legislation applies shouldn’t be putting at risk the well being of those in Tenerife. I also don’t fancy risking a 4.5 hours flight in any event. I have heard very mixed accounts of how flights have been managed by cabin and ground crew. I do hope for everyone’s sake that those who do travel to the island behave responsibly. Both locally and on TV In the U.K. both minor and major infringements are there for all to see. In particular, social distancing appears to have gone out of the window. Given the limited approved destinations available to tourists from the U.K. plus the very good weather at this time of the year, I believe there will be an influx of British visitors to Tenerife and not necessarily all of these will be the more socially responsible ones. Yes, this may be good for the economy but at what cost to public health?

  78. Well I’ve been in Tenerife now for three weeks. The Brits are getting a lot of criticism on here for not following rules in Tenerife. This is unfair. It has been my experience that it is not the Brits who have been walking around without masks. When I have passed people who have not been wearing masks, quite a frequent occurrence actually, they have been Spaniards or locals. Some have been non British holidaymakers.

  79. Ray: “So come, enjoy but most of all comply with ALL restrictions.”

    Yes we are doing so, but it might surprise you to know the restrictions here are far less that those in Manchester has been for months. The only downside is having wear a mask outside. Other than that it is far more liberal in Tenerife at the moment. Obviously things can change in a matter of a weeks.

    And the natives Tenerifeians we have met so far are welcoming unlike the ex pats on this blog.

    We stick to all the laws in the UK and Spain and definitively didn’t bring any infection unless we caught it on the plane because we haven’t had any contact with people for weeks.

    We wore KN95 FFP3 face masks and visors. I.e. what medics wear to avoid catching it rather than the surgical masks that only avoid spreading it to others, so did our best to avoid getting it on the plane.

    The EasyJet plane was largely occupied but they seemed to leave one seat between strangers and have a few rows of firebreak to split it into three sections.

    The airport screening seemed to consist of some thermal cameras that looked to be set to 40.0C. If so, they will only pick up people close to death.

    The solution to all this is sniffer dogs at airports.

  80. So Chris why are the covid numbers so much higher there compared to here? What could have caused that? Answer: a lack of respect for the restrictions which equates to a lack of compliance.

    Do you realise how many airports there are on the globe with each airport having multiple gates with both arrivals snd departures. Thats a LOT of dogs Chris lol.

  81. It’s not the Brit’s here snowbird. It’s the ones that are now about to come. Some from very high covid rate areas.

  82. I do wish there was a like button on here Ray, your skirmishes with Chris are interesting and your down to earth. non dogmatic, non preaching and common sense posts win every time with me and mine. Just saying … for a friend. lol. Not serious about the like button Janet, God forbid.

  83. Author

    I did try to get one installed at one point but it was too difficult … and then I thought it was probably just as well! 😀

  84. Most of the people are already walking around without the mask … I dont think it is a good idea (((
    Tenerife continúa en semáforo rojo hasta el 6 de noviembre.

  85. Ray : “so Chris why are the covid numbers so much higher there compared to here? ”

    About six weeks ago one could have asked the opposite question!

    You had a second peak before us and still haven’t come down much yet. We had a later and bigger peak and most of Europe seem to be converging.

    It is normal for respiratory diseases to kick off in the winter and kill tens of thousands of old people in the UK. It was always predicted there would be a second wave in winter bigger than the first.

    Tenerife is lucky because it doesn’t get dark and cold and without tourists it is sparsely populated. Heat and UV kills viruses.

    Probably lots of behavioural things affect it as well but remarkably similar peaks in Spain, France and Belgium, with Germany and Italy late to the party but catching up fast.

    It kicked off in the UK when schools and universities went back. That was bound to happen and scientists predicted if schools opened pubs would need to close.

  86. Perhaps someone should have a word with the council workmen who seem to think they are exempt from wearing masks. The majority of non locals I saw were adhering to the mask requirement.

    Locals working on our complex only put their masks on when health and safety person came to do an inspection, of course the masks came off when the coast was clear.

    I also spend a lot of time on the mainland and in the shops etc everyone is wearing masks.

    However, socially when families and friends come together and meet up at weekends, with a the usual contact there’s not a mask to be seen.

  87. Heat and UV kills viruses ??? I have no further comment other than to say so what gone wrong in Brazil, India, etc. Your views are not supported by the science and do not stand up to scrutiny. Try facebook.

  88. Author

    THIS is from the WHO expressly debunking the UV myth. THIS is to their general mythbuster page.

    No-one will be surprised to hear me say I’ve had enough of fake science pushers, denialists, conspiracy nuts in general and their unscientific tosh, mockery of health measures, and attempts to undermine them.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s face masks or covidcon or QAnon or antivax … just enough. Go to Facebook or 4Chan or 8kun or the loonybin of your choice.

  89. What? UV C kills all bacteria and viruses when strong enough and it will kill your skin cells. It is used to sterilise whole rooms and tube carriages, etc.

    And sunlight does have a weaker effect on viruses, see here: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200327-can-you-kill-coronavirus-with-uv-light

    When you want to sterilise a room you use a short period of UVC but virus out in the sun’s UVA for hours will die just the same as your skin will.

    The WHO mythbuster simply says you can’t disinfect your skin with UV but any surfaces in the sun for a prolonged time will be disinfected.

  90. Author

    Sunlight does not stop areas having infections, nor people from being seriously ill and dying. I do not see the point of this. The virus is here and we wish to contain and minimise it given that it cannot be eradicated, it seems. To do that we need people to stop undermining things, suggesting it’s no worse than the flu, not to worry because the sun will kill it … and to put on a mask and keep away from other people. It is that simple. And that’s enough now.

  91. Peter. No-one wearing a mask? I don’t know where you live but throughout the south of the island I would say 99 percent of people wear a mask, unless in a bar or cafe??? They would not be allowed inside any premises even to sit down and order a drink or to buy anything without one. They may not be wearing them properly, ie. fully over their nose and mouth, but they all wear them. Tenerife is in a red zone but the three criteria for that are much stricter than in other countries, and I am glad of it. If those criteria were applied in the UK for example, the whole country would be locked in with no prospect of even being allowed out for months. Like them or hate them, masks are the law and apart from the occasional moan, most people just get on with it.

  92. Sniff. Your point about people getting together at home and no masks or social distancing is a very valid one. Pictures proudly put on Facebook of get togethers. “Look at us all having sangria and a catch up, at son and so’s house, aren’t we lucky”. Grrr. Thereby lies the problem. Out of the number of outbreaks analysed in these islands over the last two weeks, a high number were found to be the result of just such an activity. (An outbreak is a number of cases resulting from one incident.) The police can’t be everywhere but the public can. Maybe people should be more public spirited about it.

  93. As Janet says stick to the rules and look at the whole picture where all of the different issues are mentioned above. It’s easy to go off on a tangent for example a recent survey- to be regarded with caution like all surveys- indicated wearing masks so much was one of those factors putting UK visitors from booking despite Tenerife being Covidless than the UK!! We wore them on a recent 3 week visit and would rather be safe than sorry !
    It’s just another issue like those mentioned by others above in the mix the Tenerife Authorities are trying to balance and hopefully they will do the juggling act between safety/ health of residents and visitors , the economy and education ( Universities especially) etc , better than we have done in the UK since July/August in the UK when restrictions were removed!
    On testing in hotels speaking to a friend yesterday who is a Director of one of a Groups hotels ‘ he would not object He raised “confidence “ as an issue when returning guests were concerned as part of the whole mix the Tenerife Authorities should be looking at
    As Janet says there’s a long way to go before there will be a return to the real Normal!

  94. Chris it’s rubbish. Is there less UV in Brazil and India than Tenerife?.

    Next you’ll be claiming the Alien theory.

    For those that don’t know, it was claimed that aliens were the cause of the spread of the virus. But a simple search on google questions that belief because search results point out that the head of the alien comunuties here on Earth categorically stated that it’s nothing to do with them 🤔

    Do us all a favour Chris.

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