WITH Semana Santa cancelled, the feria season binned and a day at the beach a distant memory, what could possibly come next? The scrapping of the summer season, that’s what.
It’s the nightmare scenario that thousands of expat businesses around Spain were coming to terms with this week.
The doomsday reality of hotels and restaurants without British tourists in July and August. And yes…the loss of perhaps half of their annual income.
It is a cruel twist of fate that Spain was one of the best performing economies before the COVID-19 catastrophe hit.
Looking forward to one of its rosiest years in history, we were all set for the good times to finally roll.
So it is heartbreaking to think that hundreds of thousands of businesses are facing collapse. One figure bandied about is 800,000 of them.
So many of these will be owned by plucky expats who settled here to pursue their dreams – many likely linked to tourism, the worst industry affected.
How can Spain expect people to survive if summer is cancelled?
While avoiding another outbreak is of course the priority, surely claiming summer is ‘dead’, as Andalucia Vice President Juan Marin did on Tuesday, is lacking tact, to say the least.
Let’s hope the EU can put in place a continent-wide protocol that will at least allow some level of sensible international tourism to return.
Surely the British and Spanish can hash out some sort of agreement given their strong ties, both economically and socially? After all, the French have done it, haven’t they?
Of course, nothing is known until we see how the virus progresses over the next few weeks.
And if current numbers continue, there’s hope that Spain could at least begin to open up to the international market.
To help the chances of that happening, we must all remain vigilant and keep to the rules regarding hygiene and social distancing.
All we can do now is hope and pray some sort of summer returns, and if not, that the government does what it has to do to get us all through it.
It’s not going to be cheap.