THERE was something decidedly different in the air as I made my way to Palma de Mallorca’s Paseo Maritimo for my daily bout of exercise this morning.
I heard an evident rustle and bustle coming from the city’s beloved restaurants and cafes – a noise that I have not heard in almost two months.
Albeit somewhat confused at first, it became clear in a matter of moments that Mallorca will officially enter Phase 1 of Spain’s de-escalation plan in a matter of days.
Joining Formentera alongside Ibiza and Menorca, the whole of the Balearic Islands will progress to a new chapter which will allow residents to reacquaint themselves with basic freedoms denied during the country’s COVID-19 lockdown.
Although there will continue to be restrictions, the entry into this phase will make a significant proportion of people happy as it will bring life back into a typically vibrant capital.
As well as the return of much missed eateries, we will be able to meet up with our family and friends and mobility will be permitted between the island’s municipalities.
Enterprises will also be allowed to resume activity provided that they meet the capacity and distance conditions, which is what many want and need right now to recover money lost both individually and collectively.
The markets in the town squares, an extremely popular pastime in Mallorca, can also be held.
Gearing up to reopen their doors on Monday, labourers were hard at work making last minute adjustments to terraces in order to welcome clients under the strict 50% capacity.
Meanwhile, the usual stream of traffic that fills the extensive stretch of road along the golden sands of Playa de Palma was replaced with a mass of runners, skaters and cyclists.
Now completely pedestrianised on the weekends to provide more space for citizens to be able to adhere to social distancing, the city council’s measure aims to halt a second wave of infections.
As my routine will change once again on Monday, I do feel incredibly proud to be part of the Balearic community who have fought so heroically against the virus which has sadly claimed the lives of 207.
Not only do our doctors and nurses deserve a gold medal, but the police, supermarket workers and even farmers who went above and beyond to disinfect the island’s streets are more than worthy of the highest praise.
This in itself was echoed by Spain’s director of health emergencies, Fernando Simon, who praised the management of the coronavirus pandemic in the Balearic Islands.
This was received with ‘much satisfaction’ by President Francina Armengol, who stressed the importance of acting with caution as the autonomous community enters this new phase.
Poignantly stating, Armengol said: “We will start to de-escalate, but it is important that we do it very well and do not let down our guard.”
Photography by Allan Binderup