Islands should be judged on their specific rate of Covid infection, argues Gregory de Clerck, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Abama, in Tenerife
In light of a surge in new cases, predominately on the islands of Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, the Canary Island authorities have announced tighter Covid-19 restrictions.
The new rules impose a midnight closing time curfew for restaurants and terrace establishments and ban gatherings of more than ten people.
While tough for the hospitality industry, including ourselves, these restrictions have been introduced in an attempt to control and minimise any further outbreaks, ensuring cases here on the islands stay comparatively low to the rest of Europe.
Despite this recent peak, the Canary Islands continue to have the third lowest rate of coronavirus cases in Spain, after the mainland regions of Valencia and Galicia. We know too that figures show just 4,900 of Spain’s 779,000 cases are reported to have been present on the islands, which equates to just 0.6% of all cases.
Unfortunately, the clear disparity in the number of Covid-19 infections here on the Canary Islands when compared to Spain’s mainland has not yet been reflected in the UK travel corridor system, which imposes quarantine on arrivals in the UK from the Canary Islands under the restrictions in travel to Spain. Even more specifically, Tenerife has experienced very few cases and so it seems unfair to be painted with the same brush as mainland cities which have experienced devastating outbreaks.
We’re calling for the Canary Islands to be assessed independently to mainland Spain, and for travel restrictions and corridors to be indicative of the number of cases and subsequent risk level to tourists on each island.
We know that it is possible when we saw the reverse of this in the regional restrictions on travel from the UK to some Greek Islands while the mainland remained open.
We know too that this approach was adopted in Belgium. The Belgian government is continuing to review the Canary and Balearic islands independently from one another and make judgements on travel corridors based on the number of cases and risk level present on each island.
The Tenerife economy relies heavily on the tourism industry, especially over the winter season, so more has to be done. It is important that European governments now move away from blanket rulings, reviewing each island in regard to their individual cases numbers and risk level and ensure travel corridors are representative of that.
At The Ritz-Carlton, Abama, we are working closely with the authorities, enforcing the new restrictions and championing hygiene and social distancing. The island of Tenerife continues to record low infection rates, and further evidence has suggested that only a small fraction of those cases have been documented on the south of the island, where the hotel is located.
We can therefore offer the perfect island retreat for those wanting to escape the crowds, bask in the nature of this beautiful island, and experience five-star luxury service. We are ready and excited to welcome UK travellers once again.
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