Will Ibiza open this year? Given that so much of the dance music calendar is dominated by the Ibiza season, it’s the question that everyone is asking.
Millions of people visit Ibiza every year and, as we well know, many of them go to enjoy the island’s superclubs and day parties, as well as its stunning natural beauty. But 2020 is a very different scenario.
Last week, the Spanish government started to gradually allow businesses to reopen in what Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has called the road to “nueva normalidad”, the new normal.
This eight-week roadmap is split into four phases, with restrictions easing gradually along the way.
From this week, hotels will be allowed to open, but with their common areas closed. Restaurants and cafes are allowed to open but with reduced capacity. Any restaurant or cafe with a terrace will only be able to open 50 per cent of it.
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Theatres and concerts can open from May 25 and host 30 per cent of venue capacity.
Clubs and bars can open from June 8, again with 30 per cent capacity.
This is good news for Spanish citizens and the local economy but the country remains in a state of emergency until at least May 24 and from May 15 everyone arriving in Spain, including Spanish nationals, will have to self-isolate for 14 days. This will last until June.
This ruling has been criticized by Ibiza's President, Vincent Mari, who has called it “nonsense” and something that will cause "unnecessary damage to the islands."
A 14-day quarantine would obviously deter tourists from visiting the Balearic islands, hampering their recovery.
This would be a blow to Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera as Balearic tourism minister Iago Negueruela had said that the islands could start welcoming 25 per cent of usual visitor numbers from August.
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That number would rise into September and October, with the potential that the holiday season could move into November as well.
However Negueruela mentioned that countries that had been slow to implement lockdown measures, such as the UK, would be banned from visiting the Balearics. It’s not known how such a ban would be policed and would also be a risk to business given a third of visitors to the islands are British.
Cancelling most of the season would cost the region £8.3 billion and put 150,000 jobs on the line. In Ibiza, for instance, 75 per cent of the population get their income from tourism.
It’s already clear that the start of Ibiza’s 2020 clubbing season will not start in May, as is tradition. All clubs have cancelled their May events, with venues like Ibiza Rocks announcing that events through June are cancelled too.
The president of the Spain Nightlife Association, José Luis Benitez, has said clubs are willing to open if the Spanish government lets them, with possible workarounds including only allowing Spanish citizens to attend events or holding a “mini season” as late as November. Another industry body, Spain at Night, has been advocating increased hygiene measures inside clubs.
While they remain closed IRL, Ibiza clubs are moving online to host virtual festivals and live streams to give fans a taste of the White Isle at home during lockdown.