Much has changed since March. Lockdowns have been replaced with ~wander bubbles~, offices are no longer so lonely, and the roaring of jets in the sky is on the up.
But The Virus is still out there.
Worse: it is more rampant in some countries than others, and some of those countries’ GDP’s depend on tourism like a socially awkward Brit does gin.
Speaking of Brits: citizens of the UK are now once again allowed to make their annual pilgrimage to Spain, quarantine free.
So too are a select group of Germans.
As CNN Travel correspondent Atika Shubert recently noticed on a media trip to Mallorca, “extreme” hotel hygiene rules have not deterred the Prussians from enjoying a sneaky sunny vacation.
Mallorca is renowned for attracting repeat customers everywhere from Berlin to Bristol, thanks to its heady weather and cheap flights.
Shubert spent time observing a selection of the 11,000 German visitors who have recently been let into Spain as part of a pilot program to test Pandemic Precautions and reopen Spain’s tourism economy.
The group she was there to observe was in Mallorca’s Riu Concordia hotel.
The “extreme” new rules she noticed include getting your temperature checked, putting on a face mask, cleaning your hands with disinfectant and donning plastic gloves – all before sipping your first morning coffee.
It doesn’t end there though: “In our lobby, a thermal camera scans guests when they walk in through the sliding doors: keep it cool and you get the green light to enter.”
“But if your temperature gets too high, reception gets a discreet red alert.”
Shubert also relates how the buffet, previously only disastrous for tourists’ waistlines, now poses another challenge: “navigating the breakfast buffet is tricky… I need to follow the red arrows on the floor to avoid colliding into others.”
“Predictably, I go the wrong way in an attempt to get to the fresh fruit. A smiling attendant kindly guides me back towards the tempting croissants and pastries I had only narrowly escaped on the first round, but only after giving me another squirt of gel disinfectant.”
All in all though, Shubert reports, it appears the first wave of tourists are enjoying their trips, with there being more space on the beach for your towel and – despite the vigorous displays of hand sanitizer rubbing – a relaxed poolside vibe.
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The irony is: the only thing likely to spoil the atmosphere, Shubert admits, is the media there to report on it.