With so much uncertainty in the travel industry at the moment, I just wanted to take a few moments to update those of you planning to visit this summer about how things are now in the area – and to reassure you of everything we (Duquesa Holidays) and other local businesses are doing to look after your wellbeing when you come to visit us.
We had very strict lockdown conditions here in Spain. I believe it was one of the strictest and most strongly enforced in the world. The government raised the ‘State of Alarm’ on March 13th and for the next 7 or 8 weeks we were practically confined to our house 24 hours a day.
This was enforced by the police and army, with checkpoints at road junctions, resident papers had to be carried, only one person could travel in the car, and you could only leave you house to buy essential shopping from the nearest supermarket or chemist. Receipts had to be produced to show where you had been if stopped at the checkpoints.
We could not even exercise outside of the house; if you had a dog you could walk it within 50 metres of your residence. Even children could not exercise for around six weeks which was very hard on them.
Over the last three weeks or so, the lockdown has gradually lifted and thankfully we have seen a huge improvement to the rate of infection with just one fatality in the last 24 hours (still one too many) and five regions in Spain have reported no deaths in the last nine days. So, although it was very strict myself and fellow residents in the area are relieved and thankful that we can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. We feel safer, hopeful, and truly grateful to be getting back to the ‘new normal’.
It was tough. However, I personally believe the lockdown applied here was effective & the determination of the local people and the sacrifices of freedom have been worth it as we are now able to feel safe and enjoy day to day living once again.
Our ‘State of Alarm’ will be lifted on 21st June and by then the whole of the country is expected to have worked its way through the four phases of de-escalation.
As of the 1st July international flights will be returning and Spain once again will be able to welcome holidaymakers from the UK and the rest of Europe.
The big airlines (EasyJet, Jet2, BA and Ryanair) have already started to consolidate flights and amend flight programs.
At last, people can start to plan holidays again finally families can get together and enjoy quality time with one another. We are getting there!
Although, as I am sure you are all aware, at the moment there is still not a lot of clarity regarding the UK quarantine rules but thankfully this is being reviewed again before the end of the June.
Local businesses here (myself included) that rely on the tourism industry are now feeling quietly optimistic for the future.
After a long break, we have all recharged our batteries and we are delighted to be able to start to welcome visitors back to Duquesa, Sabinillas in our lovely municipality of Manilva.
Today Malaga province moved into ‘Phase 3’ which is the final stage of the de-escalation program. This means we have less restrictions and can travel to visit other provinces that are also within the same phase.
Things are changing daily and as they do I will be updating my blogposts here on the website and also posting on the Duquesa Holidays´ Facebook page www.duquesa-holidays.es.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me here or send a private message.
In the meantime, here are a selection of questions and answers of how things are at the moment….
Q) How can you reassure me that the apartment will be sanitised & clean before we arrive.
A) Very good point. We want all of our customers to feel safe and have a holiday in a relaxed environment. I will be personally overseeing not only the cleaning but also the sanitising and deep cleaning of each apartment before each arrival. All surfaces will be sanitised with special attention given to work surfaces, appliances, door handles, switches, and bathrooms.
We will be providing extra hand soap, antibacterial spray, paper towelling and extra hand towels too.
Q) Is the pool area open and will it be cleaned regularly?
A) All urbanisations have to follow the very strict rules set out by the government. All of the pools at the apartments used by Duquesa Holidays are planning to open and they will operate with restricted capacity to ensure that social distancing is carried out. At some pools the use of changing rooms and toilets may not be permitted.
One thing that has been made very clear to me is that the pool areas will be regularly cleaned and the administration of the urbanisations will ensure that they operate within Andalusian government guidelines. Inspections will be made throughout the summer and the authorities will be doing spot checks.
I visit the apartments regularly so if you have booked with us already, I will be keeping you up to date with what is happening at each pool.
Also, just to add to that, the beaches have opened and they are looking fabulous! Along the promenade there are instructions being given in English and Spanish about social distancing and safety measures. The beaches, like the pools, are pretty quiet at the moment and thankfully we are lucky here as the beach is wide and we have a lot of space, which makes social distancing easy to do.
A) All businesses are open in the square, as are the majority in Sabinillas too. The bars/restaurants were able to open around 3 weeks ago (outside terraces only). However, now bars & restaurants can also use their tables inside with limited capacity. You do not have to wear a mask on the terraces, but the owners of the bars/restaurants serving at the tables are all wearing either a mask or a visor. Everyone is very careful and tables & chairs are cleaned after each guest and they provide handwash at each establishment.
Hairdressers, boutiques, beauticians and car rental companies are all open too, with limited numbers of people allowed inside at any one time – and the use of masks (at the moment) compulsory too, in the interests of everyone´s safety.
Q) What is the current situation in the surrounding area, i.e. The port, Sabinillas – just a general description of what’s going on over there?
A) It is quiet in the port as currently there aren´t any visitors from overseas. All the bars are open though and all other businesses too. I have enjoyed a few meals and evenings in the port and it is pretty much business as usual, just quieter for now.
Q) Are the shopping centres open & what about the local markets?
A) The smaller shops have been open now for a couple of weeks. The big shopping centres (La Canada, Miramar, Plaza Mayor) all opened last Monday (1st June). Not all of the food outlets inside the shopping centres area open yet & there is still limited capacity. However, as the de-escalation continues these will all be more accessible.
Likewise, local markets have restarted and the delightful Friday market on the promenade in Sabinillas was back on just before the weekend.
Hopefully this gives you an idea of how things are here in the area. I will continue to update my Facebook page, so if you do not already follow me, then please feel free to give the page a ‘Like’ to receive all future updates. www.facebook.com/duquesaholidays