The government worried vacationers tonight when they officially advised the British not to visit Spanish islands such as Ibiza, Mallorca, Tenerife and Lanzarote.
The Federal Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands and advised against all trips that are not absolutely necessary in accordance with the regulations on mainland Spain.
But there had been confusion because the islands were already off the Spanish mainland, 14-day quarantine arrivals from them in the UK due to an increase in coronavirus cases.
Spain had pushed for the islands not to be included in the quarantine list because they have a lower infection rate than the mainland.
But tonight, a Foreign Office spokesman said: "We have reviewed the overall situation for British nationals traveling to and from the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, including the impact of the self-isolation obligation on returning to the UK, and we conclude that we should advise British citizens against all non-essential trips to all of Spain. & # 39;
The decision affects islands such as Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa in the Canary Islands as well as the Balearic Islands Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera.
Downing Street says UK vacationers who miss work due to the new quarantine period may be eligible for universal credit or employment benefits of up to £ 74.35 per week, but no statutory sick pay.
However, employers are not required to pay staff while in quarantine. The self-employed will be forced to quit their jobs, and some people could even be fired if they had to isolate themselves when they returned home.
The government also warned: "No trip is risk-free" – and said that workers who lose their jobs because they are quarantined when they return from Spain could appeal to the Counseling, Mediation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).
Certain airlines appear to have different policies for flights to Spain that have already been booked.
Ryanair, BA and easyJet will continue their flights to Spanish airports.
Travelers may be offered a voucher for the value of the ticket or a possibility to re-book if they wish to cancel. However, customers should check the guidelines with their own airlines.
Jet2 suspended flights and vacation to Costa de Almeria, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia from July 28th through August 16th inclusive.
Affected customers will be contacted by the airline to discuss refunds.
Tui has canceled all holidays in mainland Spain and has offered a full refund for those flying between today and August 9th.
On July 31st, there will be an update to the holiday policy from August 10th.
A spokesman for the Federal Foreign Office said: "The FCO does not advise those who are already traveling to Spain to leave at this time. Travelers should follow local authorities' advice on how best to protect themselves and others, including all steps they can take to combat the virus.
“When you return from Spain, you have to isolate yourself when you return to the UK, but the FCO does not advise you to cancel your visit. You should contact your tour operator or airline if you have any questions about your return trip. "
The British government was claimed to be deeply divided over how to proceed and criticized that the previous Spanish travel advice was confusing.
Secretary of Transport Grant Shapps has reportedly supported the establishment of an airlift to the islands to allow free travel in quarantine, according to The Sun.
But number 10 is said to be against the move because applying different rules to different parts of the country could create chaos – and it seems to have won the argument and tightened the rules even further.
The Spanish government and the British travel agency, the Association of British Travel Agents, argue that the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands do not need to be quarantined and point out that infection rates on these islands are low.
Abta has told the government to consider changing the rules as Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya tries to convince Britain to exclude the Balearic and Canary Islands. She says: "Spain is safe, it is safe for Spaniards, it is safe for tourists." . & # 39;
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the world's leading aviation industry body, also said the UK decision "does not accurately reflect the risk of a regional surge in a corner of the country".
But a British tourist in Lanzarote tested positive for Covid-19 last week, and the British government fears that an exception in the islands could leave a gap in the system.
Vacationers including British tourists on Santa Eulalia beach in Ibiza yesterday
In theory, someone could fly home via Mallorca on vacation in Spain and avoid quarantine.
A Whitehall source, who is about to discuss whether the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands should be granted an exemption, said today to The Sun: "They are considering an exemption for the Balearic and Canary Islands. Their prices are lower so it can be on the cards.
& # 39; But the announcement cannot come until the weekly review. There has been some debate about whether to start because there is a lot of traffic between the mainland and the islands, and this is the problem. & # 39;
The weekly Covid 19 numbers for the Balearic and Canary Islands show that the cases have remained relatively low
Weekly Covid 19 case numbers for the past four weeks show that relatively low numbers were recorded in both the Balearic and Canary Islands, although in the latter it is more of an upward trend:
New cases in the past seven days (week through Friday, July 24):
- Balearic Islands: 40
- Canary Islands: 95
- Spain total: 10,990
Week to Friday, July 17th:
- Balearic Islands: 39
- Canary Islands: 30
- Spain total: 5,695
Week to Friday, July 10th:
- Balearic Islands: 17
- Canary Islands: 13
- Spain total: 2,944
Week to Friday, July 3rd:
- Balearic Islands: 37
- Canary Islands: 11
- Spain total: 2,028
Cases of all time (as of Friday, July 24)
- Balearic Islands: 2,343
- Canary Islands: 2,578
- Spain total: 272,421
British holiday maker Tom Beckett yesterday recorded a video of Lanzarote with his daughter Elaina, showing how quiet it is and what security measures have been taken.
He said to Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the video: “I don't think you looked at the map because (Lanzarote) is 1,000 km from Spain. It's like an infection on the Isle of Wight and the isolation of people in Iceland. It makes no sense.
“It's four hours from home, no problem. However, I thought it would be convenient to show the government that this is a fairly safe place, as they have obviously been included in number 10 for some time now. & # 39;
Ibiza tourist guides say hotels will be forced to close due to the UK government's quarantine decision.
The UK market is number one for the island, which had been hit by a lack of bookings and the closure of all major clubs during the Coronavirus crisis due to health regulations imposed by the Balearic government.
Ibiza's tourism director, Juan Miguel Costa, said the need for the British to be quarantined on their return if they choose to go to Spain would make it "impossible" for them to choose the island.
He told the island newspaper Diario de Ibiza: "With the dependency we have on the British in different parts of the island, this is a blow to our entire waterline, a blow to the sector at full strength."
& # 39; The island is already registering cancellations by British tourists, which will result in many hotels dedicated to British tourism being closed. You cannot survive. & # 39;
Ibiza now hopes that the governments of Spain and the UK will reach agreement on the creation of a "safe corridor" between the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands in order to free British tourists from the quarantine requirement.
Mr Costa said that he felt that the second wave of Covid-19 infections mainly "punished" the Spanish mainland due to the second wave of Covid-19 infections.
"In the end, state politics are done and everything is put in the same pocket, but the incidence in the Balearic Islands is low," he said.
A spokesman for Abta said: "Abta has consistently said that protecting public health must be a priority at this time, and it is important to base travel decisions on the best health and scientific advice.
The Ibiza tourism director said that the need to have the British quarantined on their return if they choose to go on holiday in Spain would make it "impossible" for them to choose the island (see figure yesterday).
& # 39; We propose that the government consider lifting the quarantine rules for flights to and from certain regions with lower infection rates or to locations such as the Balearic Islands or the Canaries, which are geographically different from mainland Spain, to further damage the Avoid UK domestic and outbound tourism industries. & # 39;
How many coronavirus cases have been registered in the Canary and Balearic Islands?
- Mallorca 2.102
- Ibiza 215
- Menorca 98
- Formentera 16
- Tenerife 1,555
- Fuerteventura 142
- Gran Canaria 643
- La Palma 107
- Lanzarote 91
- La Gomera 8th
- El Hierro 3rd
A tourist who is currently in Ibiza told MailOnline today that Britain's blanket approach "is failing British vacationers who have been advised and encouraged to travel."
The tourist, who did not want to be named, said: “The British authorities need to improve their footprints in order to distinguish between travelers on mainland Spain and travelers on the island.
"Now we come back to the inconvenience because my government cannot be asked to take a closer look and allow us to prove our whereabouts.
“The Balearic Islands have a better rate in all of us (indicators) we monitor. So if you look at it logically, they tell us to go back to areas in the UK that are in a worse position than the islands, which just doesn't make sense.
“You should listen and work with the island authorities to defuse people who are trying to use them as a gateway from mainland Spain to bypass the quarantine. A simple stamp in the passports of these travelers can distinguish them from people who have been there all the time.
& # 39; The mere fact that the islands are still okay to travel shows the holes in their blanket approach.
& # 39; Just another example of poor planning as & # 39; quick action & # 39; is masked, not every action because & # 39; fast & # 39; is correct. Instead of fast it should be called "hasty". "
Passengers flying to Manchester will be arriving yesterday at check-in at Lanzarote Airport
To date, more than 50,000 people had signed a petition to Mr. Johnson requesting the liberation of the islands.
Spanish hotel managers offer British tourists Covid 19 tests when their vacation ends
Desperate Spanish hotel heads offer British tourists Covid-19 tests when their vacation ends.
The offer was made today by the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (Cehat) less than 48 hours after the announcement that British vacationers returning to the UK from Spain would have to isolate themselves for 14 days.
The move has shocked Spain, which normally receives 18 million British holidaymakers every year.
The Spanish government is urgently trying to exempt at least the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands from the quarantine measure by setting up “safe” air corridors to and from the United Kingdom.
A Cehat spokesman said today: “At the European level, urgent measures and tests must be carried out at home and abroad to ensure reciprocity and ensure maximum security for tourists, workers and residents in holiday areas.
"Spanish hoteliers are taking a step forward and offer to conduct these tests on Spanish tourists when they leave their holiday accommodation so that they can offer their customers maximum security."
When it said it was "surprised" and disappointed with the UK's quarantine decision, it added: "With the surprising introduction of UK quarantine, there is now a risk that other governments will take similar, ill-considered measures that do not take this into account Reality in Spain, especially in holiday areas on the mainland as well as in the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands. "
Cehat President Jorge Marichal added: “Decisions must be made based on objective criteria.
"We have to hold people accountable for rash measures that can have serious consequences for tourism, including hoteliers who follow the strictest protocols in Europe."
The Spanish government's vice president, Carmen Calvo, admitted today that she was "surprised" by the UK government's quarantine decision.
She insisted: “We have moved away from the most difficult moments when our health system has been overwhelmed.
"We have passed the most painful climax, but we have always said that we are in a pandemic situation and we will continue to do so and there will certainly be new outbreaks.
"In terms of statistics, Spain is far from being in worse shape than other European countries."
"Holidaymakers returning from the islands have said they felt safer while staying on the islands than at home in the UK," said petition organizer Lee Sparrow.
"They also expressed how everyone adheres to the rules of social distancing and wearing masks."
A Mallorca tourist who signed the petition, Helen Locking, said the island was "very safe" and asked the government "to at least honor the people here to get home."
"I came here because there was no quarantine, and now my four-year-old will be stuck at home unnecessarily for two weeks," she said.
Annette Dawson, who has been in Mallorca for ten days, said it was "not fair" that the islands were treated the same way as mainland Spain.
"We have been in Mallorca for ten days and have no experience or contact with anyone with symptoms. Hygiene has been improved and mask wear has been monitored," she said.
The UK government has introduced travel and quarantine controls for Spain following an increase in cases around Barcelona, Zaragoza and Madrid.
Around 1,904 new cases were reported last Friday, the highest since the end of April.
In the meantime, Catalan regional leader Quim Torra said today that if the situation does not improve over the next ten days, the area may take stricter measures to limit coronavirus infection.
Mr. Torra warned that in many parts of Catalonia the data were similar to the situation before Spain declared a national ban in March. He added that his government's goal was not to take the strictest measures as it did then.
On July 17, the Catalan authorities advised around four million people to stay at home and leave only for important trips, banned gatherings of more than ten people and restricted the occupancy of bars and restaurants as the number of cases in the region increased faster than in the others in the country.
There are fears that more European holidays may get messed up during the "insecurity" this summer after holidaymakers in Spain were angry that they would have to be quarantined on their return.
The government stuck to its decision to remove Spain from the UK's safe destination list after the number of coronavirus cases increased.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said the government could not apologize for Saturday's decision, announced less than five hours before it came into force, that arrivals from Spain and its islands would have to isolate themselves for 14 days.
Mr. Raab, who spoke to Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sky yesterday, also refused to rule out the removal of other so-called travel corridors.
The Telegraph reported that officials in France and Germany warned of possible new bans when parts of Europe were prepared for a second wave of Covid 19 infections.
French health officials said over the weekend that the country's R rate was 1.3 and Friday's daily new infections had risen to 1,130 – indicators similar to those in May when France pulled out of its strict two-month lock-up period.
A British tourist is waiting for check-in before leaving for Great Britain yesterday at Tenerife Airport
The decision to reintroduce the restrictions on Spain left the holidaymakers frustrated. Some said they would not have traveled if they knew they would have to isolate themselves for a fortnight afterwards.
According to the travel agency The PC Agency, which analyzed the number of seats on flights from the UK to Spain between July 26 and August 31, the move may have brought chaos to almost 1.8 million vacation days.
According to The Times, trips to France, Italy and Greece were "canceled" in large numbers after ministers decided on Spain. This development should further increase the pressure on a travel sector that is already under pressure.
Tour operator Tui said that due to the change in government travel advice, all holidays in mainland Spain will be canceled until August 9th.
Ibiza (picture yesterday) now hopes that the governments of Spain and Great Britain will reach an agreement on the creation of a "safe corridor" between the Balearic Islands
Ibiza tourist guides (picture yesterday) say hotels have to be closed due to the quarantine decision
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth criticized the government's treatment of the matter, calling it "openly Shambol" and demanding financial support for those now forced to seal themselves off upon arrival.
Ryanair said today that it will continue its flights to and from Spain. CFO Neil Sorahan told BBC Radio 4's Today program: “From today's perspective, the market remains open, flight schedules remain, and we continue to operate in and out of Spain as usual. & # 39;
However, he added that the entire operation of the airline would be "considered" since the route network would be rebuilt after the restrictions were lifted.
The International Air Transport Association's trading group said the UK's decision to remove Spain from the safe travel list was "disproportionate" and "insufficient" for the necessary cooperation.
** Are you now in quarantine in the UK after your return from Spain? Please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com **
The Mayor of Benidorm wants to ensure that the resort has the status of a "safe" air corridor so that British holidaymakers do not have to be quarantined
Benidorm Mayor Toni Perez says his goal in the "next few hours" is to ensure that the famous Costa Blanca Resort is given the status of a "safe" air corridor so that British vacationers do not have to be quarantined.
The city hall chief insisted that Alicante-Elche airport be given the green light so that British tourists could continue to vacation in the area without having to isolate themselves for 14 days afterwards.
He called on the Spanish government to make as many efforts to defend the Costa Blanca as the Balearic and Canary Islands, which are at the heart of the current negotiations on the air corridor between Madrid and the British government.
British holidaymakers enjoyed a drink at Alex & # 39; Bar in Benidorm yesterday
And he insisted that Benidorm "worked hard and well" to minimize the Covid 19 risks and make it a "safe" target.
The measures taken by the city hall leaders include a pioneering beach safety system that marks thousands of squares in the sand to ensure social distance for sun worshipers.
Tourists and locals wishing to take advantage of the resort's Levante Beach must book their spot in the sand in advance.
Mr. Perez said: “Benidorm has worked very hard since the first minute of this current situation to develop protocols and security measures for residents and tourists.
"This work leads to excellent results and reinforces the security component that Benidorm has always offered."
He added: "British tourists are fundamental to the recovery and maintenance of the tourist activities planned in Benidorm as the reservation rate has increased."
In a clear reference to the ongoing government talks on quarantine exemption for the Balearic and Canary Islands, he urged Madrid to ensure that "some tourist areas" were not treated cheaply.
British holidaymakers in Benidorm yesterday after the quarantine announcement
He added, "I urge the Spanish government to avoid declarations of intent that favor island destinations over mainland resorts."
He insisted: “Benidorm's goal in the next few hours is to lift the restrictions that mean British holidaymakers will have to isolate themselves when they return home, and to create a safe air corridor from Alicante-Elche Airport.
"We continue to work on building trust in our resort and offering a safe travel destination."
Karen Maling Cowles, President of the Benidorm British Businesses Association, said of Saturday's shock quarantine decision: “It's really pretty devastating for the city, we all here.
“Personally, in two and a half weeks, I was looking forward to seeing my son and family, whom I haven't seen since Christmas.
“You will not be able to come because of the quarantine, since the children go to school when they return, my son has work and the same with his wife.
“It will affect many like me who were looking forward to enjoying time with their families.
& # 39; Not only that, but it will also affect businesses here and the economy here. It's a big setback for all of us.
The British enjoyed a drink in the Tiki bar in Benidorm yesterday after the announcement
"It will have a massive impact on the small tourism we have in Benidorm this year."
Mr. Perez responded to the UK quarantine decision by admitting late Saturday: “We are very sorry. We have worked a lot in Benidorm to minimize the risks and we have no problems here at the moment.
“It is a very safe destination with very well organized beaches and companies that have made and use protocols.
& # 39; The problem in Spain is in certain areas, but ultimately this decision affects us all, and especially resorts like ours, whose main market is the UK.
"We will continue to work as we have done so far. We know that what we have done has been done well and that, thanks to the hard work of everyone here, we are offering a safe destination."
He added: "We cannot control these quarantine issues, but Benidorm will continue to welcome those who want to come and continue to provide maximum health security for visitors, including foreign tourists."
Toni Mayor, President of the Hosbec Hotel Association in Benidorm and Costa Blanca, described the shock in Great Britain as a "hammer blow".
He said: "It couldn't have been worse. From August 1st, it looked pretty good.
& # 39; Bookings had increased, including family bookings, and around 85 percent of our hotels would be open, and we were looking forward to having at least a normal summer.
& # 39; This announcement will crash everything.
“The British tourists who are already here have no choice but to stay on their return and isolate themselves.
"But I'm afraid many of those who would come will cancel now.
“There has to be a question mark about how many tour operators will continue to work as planned.
“Not only will places like Benidorm suffer, other popular holiday destinations such as the Canary Islands and Mallorca will also be badly affected.
"Britain is 18 million vacationers every year and the British are Spain's largest holiday market."
He added: “There were hotels in Benidorm that were due to open on August 1st with the increased number of British arrivals that will now be closed and others that were open but could close after the announcement.
“There must now be question marks as to whether the Spanish government should have allowed discos and pubs to open so quickly.
"But the reality here is that this pandemia was a learning experience for all of us.
& # 39; It's a very complicated situation. I think we can now say goodbye to all hopes for a normal summer with this announcement.
"I'm obviously very concerned about the prospects for the future."
Ximo Puig, President of the Valencian Community, which includes the provinces of Alicante, Valencia and Castellon, yesterday / Sunday challenged his region, and in particular the Costa Blanca, to which resorts like Benidorm belonged, in order to receive a British quarantine exemption.
Andalusia is also struggling to be included in an air corridor system.
Francisco Salado, President of the Provincial Council of Malaga and the Costa del Sol Tourism Association, has claimed that the whole of Spain is suffering from the "enormous injustice" of the "failure" of the independent Catalan government to prevent the spread of the corona virus.
Catalonia is currently fighting two of the three worst coronavirus outbreaks in Spain – in Barcelona and Lleida.
Catalan President Quim Torra warned this morning / yesterday morning (MON) that he could draconically block the entire region of 7.5 million people in 10 days if the health situation there did not improve.
Summer 2020 will be exciting
COMMENT FROM MARK PALMER, TRAVEL EDITOR FOR DAILY MAIL
That was & # 39; s for a vacation abroad this summer.
The sad truth is that the government's decision to discourage all non-essential trips to mainland Spain and to re-impose a two-week quarantine will have a dramatic impact as millions of families rethink their travel plans. And all of this, just when it looked like overseas travel was finally getting back on its feet.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab made it clear yesterday that other countries could be the next.
He refused to apologize, saying that he and his cabinetmates should "be able to act quickly and decisively." But in April, when people from all over the world flocked to Great Britain and brought the virus with them without going into quarantine, there was unfortunately no such quick action.
Since then, there have been hardly any measures to test arrival at airports.
Instead, we now have a blanket rule for Spain – the most popular destination for British tourists – that could affect up to two million people in the coming months. The decision was made late Saturday after ministers discussed infection rates in Spain. However, the data was available on Friday, which means the announcement could be made more than 24 hours earlier before thousands left for the airport, giving the Spaniards time to change their plans.
True "determined measures" would certainly have made a clear distinction between mainland Spain, where infections have increased, and the Canary Islands, Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza, where there have been fewer cases.
Yes, the Federal Foreign Office has said that we can visit the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands. On our return, however, we still have to quarantine for 14 days. It is becoming increasingly difficult to follow government travel considerations, whether it is the “airlifting” debacle that must be avoided, Portugal's continued red list, and now a blanket ban on mainland Spain without warning.
Thousands now have to start the grim process of reimbursing vacationers and airlines or accepting vouchers, while travel agencies that had hoped to get some money back in August are back in crisis. Summer 2020 will be a cooler one.
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