Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Here we are safer, this is not peninsular Spain

Tenerife airport in other times

The British feel safe in the Islands, although they admit that they would not have come knowing that they would have to submit to isolation upon returning to their countries

London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow ... Tenerife South airport yesterday received several flights from the United Kingdom. Travelers arrived on the island knowing that upon their return, they will have to spend a quarantine of two weeks and that breaking it will mean facing high fines. Even so, the British are not afraid, they feel that they are in a safe environment and it seems to them "a shame" that the situation in the Canary Islands is compared with that of peninsular Spain and even their own place of origin. Isolation is experienced as "an inconvenience", but not as a cause for concern.

Reina Sofía airport gradually emerged from the forced lethargy into which it was paralyzed, for more than three months, ready to fight against the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. The image of the airport is still a long way from what it was before that hiatus - only one store was operating yesterday, which had opened that same day - but since the first foreign passengers arrived on June 21, it has gradually recovered its activity. Hundreds of tourists arrived yesterday, many of them from the countries that make up the United Kingdom, while many others ended their holidays in Tenerife, also heading for the British Isles.

Among those who arrived and those who returned, the same feeling prevailed: that Tenerife is a safe place, more so than the continent and the United Kingdom itself. Tourists prove to be well informed and agree when they are told that the archipelago has kept the pandemic under control. Greta - who was returning to Glasgow, in Scotland, along with her partner, Oscar - stressed that Tenerife "is safer than other places". "It is a shame to be put in the same group as the mainland," she said as she stood in line at the Ryanair check-in counter.

The obligation to quarantine when returning to their countries - which Boris Johnson's government reinstated yesterday for travelers from all over Spain, including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands - is "a nuisance" or "very inconvenient", but not all visitors find it a reason to put their plans to spend a few days off and good weather on the islands on hold. Thus, a Jet2 flight landed in Tenerife South, coming from London, at around 5 pm. In it the young Tobey traveled with a group of friends. It is his second time in Tenerife, a stay that neither he nor his colleagues are willing to be frustrated by the measures imposed by the British Executive to protect its citizens from the introduction of the virus from other areas of the world, which last Saturday returned to include Spain.

Tobey explained that for a few days it was commented that the United Kingdom could reinstate the quarantine for travelers arriving from Spain. "We considered canceling the trip, but in the end we decided not to," he said. A factor had a decisive weight in this decision: the good sanitary conditions that exist in the archipelago. "Here we are safer, this is not peninsular Spain," Tobey judged.

The favorable epidemiological situation experienced by the Canary Islands, of which British tourists who visit it are so aware, is the argument put forward by the island administrations to try to establish "safe corridors" between European territories where the pandemic is under control. The institutions hoped, so far without success, that the United Kingdom would exempt the region from the imposition of quarantine. British tourists themselves have also taken action to try to get their government to make an exception with the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands. The petition launched on the Change.org platform by a UK citizen had collected nearly 65,000 signatures at the end of the day.

However, the Johnson executive has not only not backed down but has also extended the recommendation not to travel to the two archipelagos, which has motivated Jet2 to announce that it will temporarily stop operating to them.

Deterrent isolation

Two hours after Tobey's flight landed at the Tenerife airport, another was leaving for Manchester, where a family of five from Bolton was traveling. The ten nights spent in the south of the island were evident in the rosy tone of their skins. Although they usually spend the summer holidays in Benidorm, this time they opted for Tenerife, "for a change", they indicated. They have felt "very safe" on the island, but they recognized that, had they known that they would have to spend 14 days in isolation at home, they would not have come.

In contrast to this family, who was stepping on Tenerife for the first time, a couple preparing to return to Staffordshire - in central England - commented that they have spent their holidays on the island "three or four times". They like "the good weather, the friendly people and the pleasant and relaxing atmosphere". The news of the quarantine, which they must undergo also surprised them when their stay reached its final moments, and they have experienced it as something "very inconvenient", but not with concern.

"Esto no es la España peninsular"