Spanish authorities have shut down all shops, bars and restaurants along Magaluf’s notorious Punta Ballena strip in Mallorca, days after images emerged of drunk tourists paying little heed to regulations on wearing masks and social distancing.
“We cannot tolerate the sort of images we have been seeing over the last few days, and we are not going to tolerate it,” said Iago Negueruela, the regional official in charge of economy and tourism for the islands. “We don’t want uncivil tourists on our islands.”
The Balearic islands rank among Spain’s most tourism-dependent regions, with the industry accounting for 35% of GDP. In recent weeks officials have sought to strike a balance between welcoming tourists and protecting public health; putting in place stringent regulations on social gatherings, shuttering nightclubs and making mask-wearing compulsory in most public spaces.
But its efforts to project the islands as a safe destination were imperilled in recent days after video and pictures emerged of revellers jumping on cars, cramming on to boats and partying along a jam-packed street in some parts of Mallorca.
At least two dozen sanctions were handed out at the weekend to businesses and revellers caught flaunting the rules put in place to prevent the spread of the virus, Isabel Castro, of the regional government, said in a statement.
“We can’t allow what we saw this weekend to be repeated,” she added. “We can’t allow the recklessness of a few to put the health of everybody else at risk.”
Reports of illegal parties in Mallorca also prompted consternation in Germany, whose residents were among the first to return to the Balearics in June. “I’m really not a party pooper or a spoilsport ... but now is not the time for this,” Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, said, according to Politico.
The regional government said extra security would be dispatched to Magaluf and parts of Palma to ensure the rules were being followed. The region, where the virus has caused 224 deaths, has also ushered in a slew of fines for those caught breaking the new rules, ranging from €100 (£90) for going maskless to fines of up to €600,000 for those caught organising illegal parties.
The Balearic government has been working for years to crack down on drunken tourism. This year it introduced a decree banning pub crawl tours, drink discounts and sales of alcohol between 9.30pm and 8am in three holiday hotspots.