Former Huddersfield gymnast and pub landlord Brian Hayhurst and his wife Elaine are ex-pats who have lived just outside Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol for 20 years. Here’s Brian’s latest thoughts from sunny Spain!
The official bulletin with Covid restrictions was issued on Thursday and was much more generous than expected.
To the immense relief of bars and restaurant owners, they can now stay open until 10.30pm. But with a night-time curfew still in place of 11pm to 6am, this gives little time for staff to get off the streets.
Coinciding with this welcomed announcement here on the Costa del Sol, a PCR test unit has been set up and working at Malaga airport.
Each official test costs 58.68 euros and results can be collected after 12 hours. This means two trips to the airport of course – but at least we will be able to get on board with confidence, clutching the test certificate.
Although the case numbers here in Andalucía have dropped rapidly (84 per 100,000 population) there is still a worry that people will become complacent and begin to gather in larger groups.
This was highlighted at the St Patrick’s Day celebration event at one bar down the coast on Wednesday where an unexpected large crowd attended, giving the staff a big headache trying to insist upon social distancing and mask wearing.
It was a fun-filled afternoon, enjoyed in bright sunshine. Elaine and I positioned ourselves on the fringe near an open space. The brilliant entertainment was provided by the long-time professionals Mark Connor and Ron Howells.
There are indications that reduced opening times and other restrictions may come into force for the Easter period with a predicted fourth wave of cases.
This is besides the cancellation of all parades and religious processions, something the Spaniards look forward to and become absorbed in each year.
About 1 km from our home is an open public park/area with dozens of BBQs and seating, which is often enjoyed by families as they celebrate birthdays, anniversaries etc.
At the weekend the police moved in to disperse the large number of assemblies, handing out fines for those with no masks or seated in groups of more than four.
Sadly, this is going to be the norm for a while until we get the all clear, or laws are relaxed.
New road speeds have been introduced, along with other legislation for motorists. I try to get out on my bike two or three times each week and welcome the new law which is designed to protect cyclists.
Vehicles must now give at least a 1.5 metre space whilst overtaking cyclists and reduce in speed. Offenders can expect a 200 euro fine if spotted by police. Police can just take fines directly from bank accounts without notice!
I must say that there are lots of groups of cyclists who selfishly and, in my eyes, wrongly, ride in pairs or even three abreast, causing miles of tailbacks. They merrily pedal on, chatting away and causing some irate drivers to take risks overtaking.