Caution and doubts at the start of the de-escalation in four islands

The low incidence of the pandemic in the Canary Islands of La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa and in the Balearic Islands of Formentera has allowed them to be the vanguard in a de-escalation that they have begun in phase 1, and which has started with caution and some you doubt as if it is possible to swim in the beaches.

Caution has been extreme on the first maritime link between Ibiza and Formentera with the screening of rapid tests on all passengers who have embarked and the doubt has been expressed by the president of the Consell de Formentera, Alejandra Ferrer, about the possibility of bathing in the beaches, something that seems unclear in the ministerial order, so the question has been transferred to the Government.

However, Ferrer has considered that "by common sense", citizens should be able to bathe "in complete safety".

And another question sent to the Executive for clarification, and linked to it, is about the opening of beach bars, hammock concessions and occupation of terraces on the beach.

Regarding the shipment from Ibiza to Formentera, carrying out the test has left passengers who have tested positive ashore. The Ibiza health area has not reported the number of people who have not been able to get on the ferry, but has communicated that it will perform a new PCR test to confirm results.

The more than 46,000 inhabitants of these four islands (34,000 in the three Canary Islands and just over 12,100 in Formentera) enter phase 1 directly from today, that is, they can hold meetings of up to 10 people inside and outside the home, keeping the safety distance, open the terraces to 50 percent of their capacity and the stores of less than 400 square meters, among other measures.

But in La Gomera, El Hierro, La Graciosa and also in Formentera, normality refuses to return.

More people are seen on the street and some businesses have opened, but the same uncertainty floats in the three Canary Islands: their economies depend to a greater or lesser extent on tourism that will still take time to return.

And in Formentera, the vice president and head of Commerce of the Consell, Ana Juan, admits that in the case of seasonal businesses, their owners are thinking of opening "because there are no tourists, it really doesn't make sense."

In the other establishments, Ana Juan believes that the number will increase in the coming days, since many are still adapting the premises to hygienic recommendations and protocols.

La Gomera, which was the first place in Spain to face the threat of the coronavirus, on January 31, with the case of a German tourist recently arrived on the island, is now one of the enclaves leading the phase 1 de-escalation. But here as in the rest of the islands you do not want to take steps back.

For this reason, the president of his Cabildo, Casimiro Curbelo, has called for the responsibility of all the Gomeras. The Cabildo, Curbelo says, is concerned about the economic recovery but considers that the priority is to cover the fall in activity in the productive sectors.

In the municipality of La Frontera, in the north of El Hierro, some shops and few bars have opened this Monday. At no time has there been a significant influx of citizens to establishments that have spent more than 50 days closed.

In the south of the island, in front of the Mar de Las Calmas Marine Reserve, one of the natural jewels of the Canary Islands, diving clubs are still wondering how they can cope with the sanitary restrictions added to the safety measures they already have to comply. And above all, when will customers arrive.

In La Graciosa to date they have not suffered a single contagion, they do not have an airport and their only communication with Lanzarote, the maritime line to Órzola, has been almost closed, but its 737 inhabitants have experienced the same confinement as the rest of the Spanish.

On this island, hospitality businesses have asked themselves the same question today: open for whom?

Miguel Páez, the local businessman and spokesman for the initiative that achieved the recognition of La Graciosa as the eighth island in the Canary Islands Statute, explained that many merchants have chosen not to open "because it would not be logical". In La Graciosa, remember, almost everyone lives exclusively on tourism.

Coinciding with the beginning of the lack of confinement, a team from the Consortium of Emergencies of the Cabildo of Lanzarote, has traveled to this island to reinforce the protection measures, disinfect premises and common areas and give some safety advice to the hoteliers.

The president of the Cabildo of the Cabildo of Lanzarote, María Dolores Corujo, as her counterpart in La Gomera, recalls that La Graciosa has "the fortune" to go ahead in de-escalation measures, but, in turn, the challenge "of demonstrating that the responsible behavior of citizens does not put at risk what has been achieved so far. "


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