LIFE has finally been injected back into the typically vibrant capital of Palma de Mallorca as residents flocked to shops, restaurants and cafes to enjoy Phase 1 of Spain’s de-escalation plan.
Reopening after almost two months, a huge proportion of businesses resumed their activity today as Mallorca took its first tentative steps in lifting the coronavirus lockdown.
With no surprise, terraces were the star attraction as the city’s inhabitants searched high and low for an empty table to enjoy a refreshing drink under the glorious Balearic sunshine.
From today, the terraces of restaurants, bars and cafes are permitted to reopen, albeit ensuring that they maintain a 50% capacity and strict hygiene measures, where a maximum of 10 people are allowed in each seated group.
Mindless chatter between locals, a symbol of the warm and welcoming nature of the island, was also all too commonplace, and it was heartwarming to watch residents stop to say hello to familiar faces not seen during the long-lasting period of confinement.
In light of the much-awaited reopening of local businesses, Jordi Mora, the president of the Federation for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (PIMEM), claimed that Mallorca entering Phase 1 has ‘presented itself as an opportunity for many to recover losses’ which has ‘been an enormous relief for most.’
He said: “Many business owners have told us about the desire that they and their employees have to return to work in order to recover that little bit of normality.”
He also praised the decision made by the city council which has allowed for the expansion of terraces during Phase 1, which he said would ‘give them a much needed boost during this very difficult time.”
Meanwhile, the popular shopping districts of Sindicat, Sant Jaume and Sant Nicolau were certainly thriving as merchants opened their stores following the strict protocols outlined by the central government.
According to Toni Fuster, the president of the Association of Small and Medium Sized Businesses (PIMECO), over 80% of Palma’s 3,500 commercial establishments opened their doors today.
Although expressing his joy to see ‘normality’ return, Fuster calculates that as a result of the lockdown, small to medium sized businesses have seen collective losses amounting to a whopping €120 million.
Moreover, he has predicted that sales will fall by 50% this week in comparison to last year due to a lack of tourists who account for 60% of sales in the city’s shops.
He added: “A loss of tourists will greatly affect business and it is now time for residents to think about the sector and buy in small businesses, because if not, they will have a very hard time overcoming this crisis.”
Photography by Allan Binderup