The current situation regarding Covid-19 or CoronaVirus as most refer to it, is totally unprecedented. Many here, referring to holidaymakers in particular, are still in a state of shock that bars, cafes and restaurants are closed due to the pandemic currently sweeping across the globe. I don’t think some grasp the severity of the situation and there are many that are still ignorant that it can and will affect everyone.
There are several countries that have already banned flights going in and out of their airspace and many presidents have declared a State of Emergency. Currently Spanish airspace is not closed but that could and most probably will change as it will in the UK.
Looking around Benidorm this morning there are large groups, walking around aimlessly, many clutching carriers full of drink purchased from one of the supermarkets that are allowed to remain open. In fact, in general, virtually every shop is still open in the resort which is undoubtedly seen as unfair on those businesses that have been told they have to close.
Tourism is the lifeline of Benidorm – many of the smaller independent bars, cafes and restaurants will never recover from this. The beach, although open first thing in the morning was taped off at 11am and police were on patrol along the promenade to ensure no one enters.
This has inevitably left many at a loss what to do, especially those that had booked self-catering apartments. The resort was packed for the St Patrick’s Day weekend, which is always a huge affair here and which many of the bars were ready, fully decorated with green bunting and shamrocks.
Extra stocks of beer would have been ordered in for the occasion – now sadly all cancelled. Large groups gathered together, totally contravening what was trying to be achieved to stop the spread of his virus and by the afternoon, police where breaking them up around the beach area.
At midnight yesterday, Friday 13 a decree stated that all clubs, bars and restaurants had to close and remain so for the next 15 days – at least. This will be an evolving situation and most probably change on a daily basis. This afternoon, Saturday the Prime Minister stated that as from 8am on Monday, March 16 a restriction on movement and travel will come into force.
Only those journeys deemed necessary are to be undertaken such as shopping for food, going to the farmacia or attending a medical appointment. This is a cause for concern, especially for holidaymakers, wondering if and how they will get back home. Jet2 and Tui have already cancelled all flights from the UK to Spain and inevitably others will now follow.
How long will this situation last – in truth, nobody knows. Those that are here currently and staying in a hotel on either AI, Full or Half board will be allowed to use the hotel bar however, those that are only on Bed & Breakfast cannot.