As is now custom, the Canarian Government convened yesterday afternoon to discuss the latest island statistics and adopt decisions and new measures where necessary.
This week some islands have moved tiers, but these changes won’t come into immediate effect and instead it has been delayed until midnight of Monday 26th July 2021 to make it easier to shift from one alert level to another and apply the restrictions of each one.
Over the weekend and despite the changes approved yesterday, each island will maintain the restrictions that apply to the tier they were on:
Alert Level 1: La Gomera, El Hierro and Lanzarote
Alert Level 2: La Palma and Gran Canaria
Alert Level 3: Tenerife and Fuerteventura
From Monday 26th July 2021, the established Alert Levels will be:
Alert Level 1: El Hierro
Alert Level 2: La Gomera and Lanzarote
Alert Level 3: Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and La Palma
Alert Level 4: Tenerife
Fuerteventura remains at Alert Level 3 so nothing changes for us.
Tráfico is moving forward with plans to replace the warning triangles used to alert other road users when a vehicle breaks down with V16 emergency beacons. Triangles were introduced in July 1999 but this system is going to be modernized with a beacon that is placed on the roof of the vehicle and emits an orange warning light.
Why the Change?
Jorge Ordás, Tráfico’s General Deputy Director of Transportation and Technology explains that the warning triangles will be substituted for an alternative system primarily because of the number of fatalities on Spanish roads that have been recorded due to drivers exiting their vehicles to place or collect the triangles on the road. This raised a serious safety issue that needed to be addressed.
How Does the Beacon Work?
To alert other road users to our situation, the beacon is placed on the highest part of the vehicle to guarantee maximum visibility. The way the beacon is designed allows for the driver to place it on the roof of the vehicle without having to set foot outside, by simply putting your arm through the window and therefore lowering the risk level. The beacon has a double function in that every 100 seconds it sends a signal to DGT (Tráfico) Cloud 3.0 and this information is relayed to motorway overhead gantry signs (this function won’t be any good to use on Fuerteventura as we don’t have overhead signs but the rest of Spain will benefit from it) to confirm the location of the vehicle and advise other drivers as they approach the scene.
When are the Beacons Obligatory in Spain?
The switch from triangles to emergency beacons becomes obligatory from 1st January 2026, however, from 1st July 2021 drivers are permitted to use beacons with or without geopositioning location service. From 2026, the triangles will be obselete and as you can imagine fines will apply if drivers do not comply with the changes. From a safety point of view, it wouldn’t hurt to buy the beacon now for approximately 25 euros.
If you must get out of the vehicle, make sure it is done safely and only if there is a secure space off the road and always in the opposite direction to the flow of traffic. If a safe space is not available, drivers are urged to remain in their vehicles with their seat belts fastened until road assistance arrives to save the day.
PS: It sure feels good to write about something other than the pandemic again!
Yesterday, Thursday 15th July 2021, the Health Department convened to discuss progres on each island based on reports on the number of recorded cases and unfortunately for us, Fuerteventura joins Tenerife at Level 3. The only other change made was to La Palma whose increasing cases sees the island go up to Level 2 whilst the remaining islands stay where they are.
According to statistics between the 30th June and 13th July, 352 COVID-19 cases were reported on Fuerteventura; this represents an average of 25 new daily cases. This means that Accumulated Incident Index went from high risk to very high risk on 9th July. Fortunately, no associated deaths nor ICU inpatients have been recorded, however, this apparent outbreak raises concerns.
As we are all aware, each level has specific restrictions, so lets quickly summarize what that means for us here on Fuerteventura. According to the Official Canary Islands’ Bulletin (BOC) published on 9th July 2021, at Level 3, the following limitations apply:
In public or private areas, social gatherings of up to four people except if they reside under the same roof
Nightclubs must remain closed
Parks and beaches will close before 10pm to avoid people meeting up to drink (botellones). Shops are prohibited from selling alcohol after 10pm
Maximum occupancy in shopping centres is 25% (if customers don’t overrun shops in the sales!)
Public events are not permitted
Maximum occupancy on public transport is reduced to 33%
Visiting patients in hospital has been suspended for the time being unless special circumstances warrant them
Curfew from midnight to 6am bar exceptions detailed under regulation
Bars, restaurants, terraces etc must ensure a 2 metre distance between different tables or groups of tables is maintained at all times to include spacing for clients sat at the bar.
75% of maximum occupancy must not be exceeded on terraces and outside areas
40% of maximum occupancy must not be exceeded in interior areas. This may be increased to 50% if at least 10% of the customers have been fully vaccinated
Occupancy per table or group of tables
Outside areas: 6 persons per table
Interior areas: 4 personas per table if not vaccinated and 6 persons per table if fully vaccinated
Bar: 2 persons per group of customers
Buffet service in interior areas is prohibited
All establishments must close before midnight
Delivery services remains the same for all Alert Levels and may continue until midnight
Customers may ring in food orders to be collected from the establishment but times must be given to avoid too many people arriving at the same time. The establishment must have a clearly sign posted designated area for customers to pay for and collect their orders
Masks must be worn at all times except for when food and drink are being consumed
Customer Logs must continue when customers are served inside
All other protocols regarding menus, servillets etc remain as before
This is a massive blow as it feels as though things were just starting to pick up again but this virus is here to stay so if we all do our part, we can curb the numbers and hopefully go back down to a safer level soon.
On Thursday 10th June 2021, the Canarian Government finally approved longer opening hours for Nightclubs, Cocktail Bars and Karoke establishments on islands in Alert Level I from last night.
These establishments may stay open until 2am if they comply with additional measures such as limited occupancy, adequate ventilation (inside and outside) and register customer contact information to allow the authorities to track possible contagion for at least thirty days. The islands that are currently at Alert Level I are Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro.
Maximum occupancy per table is fixed at 10 persons (exterior) and 4 persons (interior). All food and drink must be consumed at the table with customers correctly seated and maintaining the 2m security distance. Masks must be used at all times except when eating or drinking.
Since dancing is still not on the approved list of activities, the establishments must either tape off the dance floor or place tables on it without exceeding maximum occupancy.
The good news is that other establishments in the hospitality sector may remain open until 2am as well if their opening licence allows.
Other social activities such as leisure and sporting events with less than 750 in attendance may also gather without the need to request prior authorization from the Canarian Health Services.
These new measures will be published in the Canarian Bulletin and it looks as though more restrictions will be lifted on 18th June 2021. Hopefully these are positive steps toward this “new normal” we keep hearing about.
There is some good news for a change amid all the chaos… The councilwoman of the Canarian Government Department of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Yaiza Castilla celebrates the fact that the German Government has removed the Canary Islands from their no-fly list and have given us the green light for travel without having to quarantine upon returning home.
They join Holland whose travel restrictions to the Islands have also been lifted which will hopefully provide the massive boost we’ve needed and make for a much more prosperous summer.
From 28th April, the Islands have had a joint incident of less than 50 cases in a seven-day period which is a positive result. To that end, airlines have programmed more than 1.1 million seats between May and October which equates to 78,2% of operations in the same period in 2019. We can only hope that these flights take off as planned because of course, this will depend on how our numbers continue to evolve.
The German market has always been important to the Islands and their absence has not gone unnoticed. According to available information, in the first quarter 2021, the Canaries received 91.992 German tourists; 88% less than the same period of 2019 when we received 769.302 German tourists.
Let’s keep up with the good work and observe current restrictions so our COVID cases continue to decrease which will allow other countries to lift flight restrictions. Above all, we need to look ahead and guarantee a promising end to 2021 instead of flaunting restrictions now since we DEPEND on tourism to survive. Happy weekend all!