UK expats in Spain’s Costa Blanca have been left shocked as to why their locality will remain at a lockdown standstill.
Santa Pola, which includes the big British expat area of Gran Alacant, has been stopped from going into Phase 1 of the State of Alarm relaxation that begins tomorrow (May 11).
That’s because the municipality is part of the Elche health department region, which will have to remain at Phase 0.
Phase 1 includes an increased freedom of movement and travel, as well as businesses and bars being allowed to open.
Colin Jackson, who lives with his wife Jane in Gran Alacant, told the Euro Weekly News: “We were really looking forward to seeing some of our friends again and having a coffee with them. It’s like being given a gift and having to hand it back!”
A number of traders have also been using social media in recent days promoting the fact that they were reopening, only to have to change their adverts and postings for “still closed” notices.
Santa Pola mayor, Loreto Serrano, said that she was left baffled and that nobody from any key authorities had bothered to make contact with her.
“The Valencian president and the mayors of Alicante and Elche simply do not agree with the decision of the Health Ministry in Madrid,” she added.
Serrano believed that businesses and the hospitality trade would suffer still further, with the extended closure period.
“The main reason I wanted to go to Phase 1 was because of the need to increase employment, and now that will not happen.”
Santa Pola last month called for widespread coronavirus testing across the municipality so that the town could return to welcome tourism as soon as it was feasibly possible.