Orihuela Costa Relaxes Lockdown Rules
There is positive news from Spain as President Pedro Sanchez’s de-escalation plan means many areas of Alicante can now move from Phase 0 to Phase 1 of the measures recently announced. While not all areas of the region are so fortunate, including the city itself, Orihuela Costa is one of the lucky ones. This area, which includes La Zenia and Cabo Roig, with their white sandy coves carved out from the Costa Blanca (White Coast), jubilantly moved forward this week (11th May, 2020). The popular Villamartin resort, whose 18 hole championship golf course is re-opening and slightly inland, the town of San Miguel de Salinas, home of beautiful pink toned salt lakes, are also places with a reason to celebrate.
The established outdoor exercise timetable for various age groups in the population of Spain, which was implemented last week, is still in place. Social distancing must be observed during exercise. Schools can now re-open for those whose parents might have to work and who have no child minding facilities. Groups of anything up to 10 people, with no underlying health conditions, will be allowed to meet in their homes or outdoors, making sure to observe social distancing rules. More workers can return to places of employment, with the proper safeguards in place, including social distancing. However, those who can, are still requested to work from home.
The Lockdown so Far
Though the lockdown in Spain has been one of the strictest around the world, so far, it has paid off. Since being allowed to take exercise, the stunning weather in Orihuela Costa, clear blue skies and sunshine are like a gift from above. Those with and without masks wave and smile at each other, breathing in the air, specific to this micro-climatised gem. A combination of mountain ranges and salt lakes creates the micro-climate that the area enjoys, which is such a wonderful health benefit. Friendships forged in these close communities have endured these past eight weeks, as they, like the rest of the world, fight the battle against Coronavirus COVID19. In an area, which has seen a wonderful infrastructure built over the last 20 years, these communities consist of both Spanish and ex-pat residents of all ages who have chosen a life on the coast of Spain.
Likely the most exciting news of all, it is now permitted to sit and have a coffee, alcohol or a meal, outside the numerous cafes, bars and restaurants. The occupancy of terraces where customers may sit, cannot exceed 50% and at least a two-metre distance must be maintained between tables of no more than 10 people.
Whats Next for the Orihuela Costas’ Lockdown?
Phase 3, which is scheduled for the beginning of June, would see the stunning beaches of the Orihuela Costa re-opening in time for a glorious summer. Social distancing will need to be maintained as sun worshippers flock to the shore and lifeguards will likely enforce the distancing in the water. While Ryanair and Jet 2 are planning their scheduled flights to begin again in late June, the number of cases of COVID19 will have to be kept under control. Therefore, though Spanish residents may be able to move between provinces by then, it is unclear when visitors from outside of Spain could be returning to the Costa Blanca South to enjoy all the area has to offer.
The Light at the end of the Tunnel
Though President Sanchez indicated a light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to the ‘huge collective effort’ made by the citizens, he also warned ‘the virus is still lurking’. All of the planned measures, the proposed phases, will be dependent on the rate of infection and the public co-operating in observing social distancing measures.
The Orihuela Costa, together with the local town of Torrevieja, have had a relatively small number of COVID19 cases. The serious ones were treated at the award-winning Hospital de Torrevieja (award for internal medicine 2015) which was opened in 2006. This hospital is a short drive from the Orihuela Costa, with excellent facilities.
A Community Spirit
The sense of community has been very strong during the COVID19 crisis. The generosity of the public locally included 20 tablets, which were donated to the hospital for patients in isolation with the virus, to keep in contact with their loved ones. Without prompting, local catering retailers made huge deliveries to Hospital de Torrevieja. Hotels and apartments provided accommodation for frontline staff to safeguard their families from the transmission of the virus.
While stories of neighbourhoods coming together in support of one another in Spain is heartwarming, it is also reassuring. If you had been planning to buy a home on the Orihuela Costa, before the Coronavirus COVID19 struck, there is even more reason to do so now. You can be more confident than ever of making a purchase in a country that will put your safety first, in a crisis. Add to that, the great community spirit which has brought people together, even in lockdown. The support system, which has recently been so clearly evidenced, is both comforting and alluring. Whereas one of the biggest attractions to a life in Spain might have been sunshine all year round, recent events have revealed that there is so much more this beautiful place has to offer.