New measures have been introduced on Spain’s Canary Islands in an effort to stem the tide of new coronavirus infections.
The islands include popular holiday spots Tenerife and Lanzarote, and have seen a spike in cases over recent weeks.
The entirety of Spain – including the islands – has been placed on the UK’s quarantine list, meaning UK residents are advised against all but essential travel to the country, and are obliged to quarantine for two weeks upon their return.
More face masks, less smoking
Regional leaders on the Canary Islands have said that the recent spike in cases has been linked to under 30s, with nightlife often the source. The local government has now ordered a host of new measures to slow the spread of infections, banning smoking in public and making face masks compulsory.
Masks must now be worn at all times, in open and closed spaces, with only children under the age of six exempt. Visitors will have to wear masks in hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars. Removal will only be permitted while eating or drinking.
Masks will also be compulsory on beaches and by swimming pools, while sitting or standing still. You’ll only be allowed to take your face covering off while bathing.
Smoking cigarettes has been linked to coronavirus infections, both due to droplets in the smoke exhaled and through the repeated touching of the mouth, mask and fingers. The smoking ban includes vaping devices, as well as cigarettes.
Other new safety measures
Capacity in bars and restaurants has also been reduced. The maximum occupation of a table was 15, but this has now been lowered to 10. A 1.5 metre distance must be maintained between tables, as well as between groups and people.
Only nightlife which takes place in open spaces will be allowed, and spaces must be reserved. The capacity of these spaces will be a maximum of 75 per cent, and a mask must be worn.
“Where appropriate, the security personnel will ensure that the interpersonal safety distance is respected and will avoid the formation of large groups and agglomerations, paying special attention to access and immediate areas, as well as to any other area where the safety interpersonal distance,” a spokesperson told The Sun.
28 active outbreaks
A total of 28 active outbreaks (amounting to 268 cases) have been reported on the islands in recent weeks.
A government spokesperson told The Sun, “On July 31, there were 15 active outbreaks in the Canary Islands, involving 157 confirmed cases and more than 500 close contacts identified and quarantined. In other words, in two weeks the number of people being traced for outbreaks has increased by 50 per cent.
“Faced with this situation, the Governing Council has decided to adopt new restrictive measures proportional to the risk and aimed at those areas or sectors in which the risk of transmission must be reduced.”