In a move that will divide opinion among Ibiza’s residents and visitors, the Balearic Government have confirmed that they will enact a new regulation enforcing masks to be worn by almost everybody in all public spaces and private spaces open to the public.

The present regulations state that masks only need to be worn where effective social distancing cannot be maintained. In Ibiza, with its current level of tourism at minimal levels, the reality of the current situation means that in most places the social distancing requirements are seen to be met and so masks are only being worn as a requirement in enclosed spaces such as shops. Those wearing masks on the streets are choosing to do so, the general consensus is that there is no requirement to do so. 

Balearic Health

Explaining the measures various ministers have talked of the balearics fragility in so far as Covid-19 is concerned. 

The Islands’ success in controlling the virus may also be something of an undoing. Government stats show that the Balearic ratio of residents who have developed antibodies is 1.2%, whereas the average across Spain is over 5%

Sunday 12th Masks

This fundamental change will mean that from Sunday the wearing of masks will be a requirement for the vast majority of people in the vast majority of situations. However, there are exceptions, and inevitably, there is a good deal of confusion. 

Exemptions for Age and Health.

The regulations provide that where masks must be worn, they are exempted for children up to five years and those with respiratory and other similar conditions that would be exacerbated by wearing a mask. 

Social Exemptions

The mask will not be required when eating and drinking, exercising, swimming or playing a wind instrument. Expect sales of recorders and trumpets to go through the roof.

There is bound to be argument over what constitutes exercise, one man’s stroll is another man’s keep fit regime. 

Beaches & Hotel Grounds.

One important detail in so far as the tourist industry is concerned will be the interpretation of the regulations as they apply to beaches and hotel grounds.

At the time of publication some local sources are saying no decision has been taken with regard to beaches, though they are quoting the example of Catalonia where beaches are exempted from the mask requirement. Local sources say the Balearics MAY follow Catalonia’s lead, not that they definitely will. 

Meanwhile national sources are saying that beaches have been confirmed as an exemption. 

Whichever way it goes with beaches, they are only part of the tourism issue. Many tourists choose to spend their time in hotel grounds, particularly in the plethora of Ibiza’s higher end luxury hotels and all inclusive establishments. Will these be exempted? We have seen nothing on Hotel premises one way or the other, but it is reasonable to assume that the idea of spending two weeks on a vip bed wearing a mask will be a considerably less appealing prospect for potential tourists. 

Numbers & Events

This is bound to be a really tricky one. The new regulations state a maximum number of people at an outdoor event or gathering will be 70, and indoor 30. Until now the guidance had been up to 300.

Will this scupper the plans of those venues that have decided to open in a scaled down format? In Ibiza the likes of Bora Bora, Ocean Beach, Ibiza Rocks and Pikes etc will be looking for clarification on these issues as a matter of urgency. 

Edit – Thursday 9th July 6pm – The Big Beach Question.

The Ibizan and The Diario de Ibiza have both stated that whilst beaches and pools may be exempted from mask wearing regulations, no decision has been taken as yet.

In their report on the same subject, El Pais stated that beaches and pools were exempted. However, in another report issued later today they have contradicted that earlier statement with (quote) “The measure, which is expected to be approved before the end of the week, will CONSIDER exceptions for places like beaches, pools and during exercise.”

It is like this, if we were betting people, we think it is 80% likely that beaches and hotel pools will be exempted, BUT by the same token, as at 6pm Thursday, we are 100% sure that decision has not been taken yet.

Everybody wants to keep positive, but that doesn’t mean you can invent the facts to fit the desired outcome.

It is highly likely beaches and hotel pools will be exempted, but it is not certain.

We have seen another piece of speculation this afternoon stating that you had to keep your mask on in between mouthfuls of food at restaurants. That one we can’t see as having any basis in truth.