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Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 31 March – 2 April 2023


 A glorious first weekend of April ahead and the beginning of the christian Holy Week “Semana Santa”, diligently observed in Spain. There will be many religious acts and processions throughout the week around the island, especially in the capital.  Don’t forget it’s also April fools’ on Saturday even though it isn’t a tradition in Spain, there will be those who will take the whimsical opportunity for some hilarity. The Mercado Inglés is on at The British Club of Las Palmas and there is also an authentic Canarian rural fair to visit this weekend in the traditional mountain market town of San Mateo.

Gran Canaria Weather: Yellow Warnings – Up to 36ºC, in the shade, expected on the south, high temperatures with strong winds and calima expected to affect all The Canary Islands this week

The Spanish State Meterological Agency, AEMET, has issued yellow warnings for heat, calima haze and strong winds this week on the Canary Islands forecasting high temperatures of up to 34ºC expected on several islands. An alert has been issued due to a risk of forest fires on Gran Canaria as the mix of dry weather, strong winds and high temperatures has led to concerns over coming days.

Wild fires Alert on Gran Canaria this Wednesday, with temperatures set to exceed 34ºC in the shade

Springtime has only just begun and already the temperatures, in the shade, on Gran Canaria have been repeatedly hitting the low to mid-thirties, which brings with it also a rising risk of Forest Fires and Wildfires.  Here in the Canary Islands forest fire crews are well versed in tackling an occasional mountain blaze, with alert levels often following the basic informal rule of thumb, the so-called 30/30/30 rule, putting the authorities on alert whenever the temperature is set to rise above 30ºC in the shade, the humidity levels drop below 30% and sustained winds are forecast at faster than 30kmph.  Common sense and preparation help the general population to avoid injury in the event of a fire taking hold.

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 24-26 March 2023

Plum tree blossoming in Tenteniguada March 2023
It’s the last weekend of March already and Spring is here; winter is behind us and the summer weather is already hotting up on Gran Canaria. The hillsides are in full bloom, particularly up in the mountain summits; it’s Carnival Weekend in Arguineguín and the last of the carnival festivities for this year are happening around the island. With summer just around the corner, clocks Spring forward this Saturday and Sunday night when 1am becomes 2am 🕐. On the north of the island, one of the biggest seasonal trade fairs is happening, gathering produce and people from 11 municipalities, ENORTE will be celebrated in the historic Rum capital of the island, Arucas, this weekend.


Canary Islands reduce R-rate to below one following measures to curb August resurgence

The Canary Islands have managed to reduce the average number of people infected by each known coronavirus carrier, the R-rate, to below one, following last month’s resurgence when that all important number had reached, at least at one point, as high as five, which now suggests that measures taken since mid-August, to stop further outbreaks, are seemingly taking effect.
In his Canarias Radio interview this morning, the Canary Islands President, Ángel Víctor Torres, said Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and El Hierro all reached rates of infection higher than 100 per 100,000 inhabitants. For this reason, regulations were reinforced to prohibit groups in gatherings of more than 10 people, rules, among others, which remain in force on those three islands.
Following the closure of nightlife establishment in mid-August, allowing the Canary Islands to reduce the R-rate, outbreaks associated with that sector were no longer detected, but new infections are now focused around the social relations of each person, within their scope of movement.
The Canary Islands Government is to assess this situation on Thursday with the various factors discussed to determine what actions to take for the imminent start of the new school year, September 15 remains their intention and focus trying to ensure that classes are face-to-face whenever possible and, above all, in the first educational levels (Infants and Primary).
“We are all concerned because we want them to be safe and that there are no infections. Can it be said that there will be no contagion in any school on the different islands? I cannot say, it would be stupid to think that there will be no infections in the day to day”, said the president.
However, he added, prevention measures can be taken and therefore specific protocols have been designed, 3,000 more teachers have been hired and auxiliary teaching services have been reinforced, such as cleaning and dining areas, and according to the circumstances, the teachers are going to be screened too”, Torres said.
The President has not ruled out taking different measures on each island, depending on their situation, but he has made it clear what the principle course of action will be: ” Infants and Primary will have priority in face-to-face teaching over Secondary and Baccalaureate. Therefore if, at a certain moment, contagiousness leads to opting for non-face-to-face teaching, it will be the older ones who do not have face-to-face lessons.”


144 new coronavirus cases in The Canary Islands, one deceased, 891 total active cases

A total of 891 active COVID-19 infections have been confirmed this Saturday in The Canary Islands. 144 new coronavirus cases have been registered since Friday, and one new death registered.  More than 200,000 PCR tests have been carried out since March 1st 2020
The Canary Islands Health Ministry statistics confirm four people are in the ICU and 47 others hospitalised in various hospitals in the archipelago. 840 people are isolated, confined to their homes.
Since the pandemic began, The Canary Islands have detected a total of 3,467 cases and registered 165 deaths from this disease. The lowest figure among all of Spain’s autonomous communities.
Of the total new infections 105 were registered on Gran Canaria, 24 on Tenerife, 12 on Lanzarote, 2 on La Palma and 1 on Fuerteventura.
Ministry of Health sources have confirmed almost all the new cases are related to previously known outbreaks and there has been no evidence of community transmission found. They also clarified that the deceased person was suffering from a terminal illness, and had tested positive the same day that they died.
The Canary Islands Government Ministry of Health have requested this Saturday, on its social networks, that all people contacted by the tracking teams, having been identified as having had contact with a person who had tested positive, remain in isolation and stringently observe the quarantine required until a PCR test result is obtained.
The new figures follow the Health Ministry’s announcement that the Canary Islands have already carried out more than 200,000 PCR tests since the start of the pandemic, in March. These tests are the primary reference used across all the islands’ hospital and health centres and have increased over recent days from their previous rate of more than 1000 tests a day. Tenerife and Gran Canaria, the two most populated islands, are the ones seeing the highest number of PCRs carried out. It should be noted that this number does not correspond to the number of people tested, as at least 20% of tests are repeated to confirm results.


The Canary News

Canary Islands to tighten control over bars and nightspots, large gatherings and private parties

The Canary Islands Government has been evaluating whether it needs to strengthen the rules obliging the use of masks in public places, as has happened in recent days and weeks in other autonomous regions of Spain, the consensus seems to be that this is not a necessary measure at this time, so long as guidelines are being followed. They have said however that they will intensify and harden controls over young people gathering, in what are locally known as “botellones”, as well as poeple at family barbecues, and on how they deal with people inside venues, restaurants and nightspots, when that do not comply with the rules set out, out of concern that these are most likely to be the main sources of any new coronavirus infections in the community.
The Canary Islands Health Ministry’s concern is focused around crowds at discotheques and nightlife venues without respecting social distancing or safety measures. The authorities will also be actively seeking private parties, family and friends, people in enclosed spaces and gatherings on terraces and at restaurants where people do not comply with the mandatory separation of the tables. August is the main month for locals to take summer holidays, and there has been a notable increase in concentrations of people around the southern tourist areas and entertainment venues, so now the Government have approved measures to intensify controls and inspections by the security forces, who have been given very clear guidelines to make it easier for them to disperse crowds and impose sanctions and fines.

The quadripartite coalition government have been reluctant to establish any increased rules on the mandatory use of masks, as has happened elsewhere in Spain, in open spaces because the epidemiological and reinfection data have not significantly worsened to justify such drastic measures.
They say the current measures revolve around the main sources of contagion already identified, although they have admitted that it may also be necessary to reinforce surveillance on the streets around some tourist areas, where it has been detected that masks are not being used adequately, and safety distances are not being respected. “The key is to clarify and improve the regulations in those cases that guarantee that the Canary Islands [can] maintain the low levels of contagiousness that it has, compared to other communities” said sources close to the Executive.
Police have increasingly had to clear night spots and bars, in areas like Playa del Inglés, where large groups have gathered without masks, consuming large amounts of alcohol with no observance of social distancing rules.  The new guidelines will increase their ability to close establishments not sticking to the rules and fine members of the public if necessary.
Stock photo (pre-covid) 2018 Plaza Shopping Centre Playa del Inglés


Face masks in public places to be mandatory in Spain

Spain’s Minister of Finance and government spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, announced on Sunday, at a press conference, the mandatory use of face masks in public places, likely to form part of the de-escalation plan as they seek support for a latest one-month extension to the State of Emergency.

The move comes following requests from several of the country’s autonomous regional governments, despite initial resistance from central government to legislate on mask use, following divisions and debate as to their effectiveness in the response to Covid19

Health Minister, Salvador Illa, has said they are working on how the instructions to use masks in all public spaces may be implemented in coming days, although he did not want to give specific details until the order has been finalised.

The Prime Minister of Spain’s Government, Pedro Sánchez, held the meeting with the autonomous communities and cities on Sunday, his tenth by videoconference since the state of emergency was declared, in which, among other matters, he made clear his intention to request a new extension, which “We hope will be the last, for a period of approximately one month.”

State of emergency

“We have to maintain the necessary caution and prudence; we have come a long way, but we have not reached the end of the road. We must not rush” said Montero summarising the current situation, repeating the government’s estimate that the state of emergency may have saved some 300,000 lives throughout Spain.

The legal decree for the extension has been written “in the most flexible way” possible, within the framework of sanitary and scientific criteria and in co-governance with the autonomous communities, explained the government spokesperson, who expressed hope that its importance would be understood by all political groups and supported in the votes this Tuesday by the Council of Ministers and by representatives in the Cortes on Wednesday.


The Canary News

Canary Islands announce pioneering first World Tourism Organisation pilot of “safe tourism” electronic health certificates

The Canary Islands have, this Friday evening, been announced as the tourist destination selected to receive the very first pilot flight to carry passengers monitored by what is being promoted as “a secure health application” called Hi+Card intended to certify card holders as being “free of Covid-19”.

The Director General of the World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili this afternoon confirmed the decision in a call to the Tourism Minister of the Canary Islands Government, Yaiza Castilla, who thanked him for the “great news” which forms part of a collaboration initiated between both institutions to share and develop measures that support tourism industry recovery in the Canary Islands as a safe destination.

Yaiza Castilla, who has for weeks been promoting the unique opportunities presented by the archipelago during this crisis, has said that “the necessary steps are being taken so that passengers can travel with ease and airlines can, in turn, increase the capacity of their flights, since this application has been configured as a digital health passport, dealing with anticipated needs for the Canary Islands destination, for travellers and for airlines, such as having the peace of mind of [being able to] safely carry their medical data and certify themselves as free of Covid-19.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili pointed out that “in these exceptional times, in which the Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the world economy and threatened our tourism sector, innovation becomes the cornerstone of the recuperation. Trips will no longer be as they were before. Rather, they will become safer and more sustainable, to continue providing benefits to nations and communities. ”

This pioneering flight, the first of its kind in the world, is scheduled to take place in July, and passengers using the application, will carry a unique digital profile on their smartphones, where a Ministry of Health accredited healthcare organisation, will upload medical information. “This is to avoid the possibility of false profiles being created or medical records being manipulated” explained Antonio López de Ávila, co-founder of hi+Card and CEO of TDDS. Users will request these entities to directly store the information, which is encrypted and securely stored, in their official profiles.

UNWTO collaboration with the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands Government Minister for Tourism, Yaiza Castilla, thanked the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation for the important support for her strategy aimed at reopening tourism in the face of the crisis caused by Covid-19.

This latest commitment followed a videoconference meeting with the UNWTO Secretary General to present the project being worked on from the islands, aiming to recover tourism as soon as possible and which involves focusing on the Canary Islands as a test laboratory for processes that could benefit the entire tourism industry value chain, through the creation and verification of new protocols, meant to minimise risk, and help to communicate confidence and a message of health security to tourists.

Zurab Pololikashvili reported that the Organisation’s Digital Innovation and Transformation department is working on a project to reduce risks in the face of the disease, for travellers, through traceability systems and smart technology, with the Canary Islands having been chosen to carry out the very first pilot tests.

Health iCard

hi+Card is one of the solutions that the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is supporting, it is a project that has come directly from the collaboration between global experts in innovation and tech for the travel & tourism industry, and Smart Tourism Destinations innovators,  TDDS, and The Air Institute, who promote and develop scientific research in the field of computer science and artificial intelligence, a project supported by the Spanish government and now by the Government of the Canary Islands all of whom have committed to work together to assist the recovery of tourism in Spain and around the world.

This new initiative, global in scope, is linked to Turisfera the Canary Islands Business Innovation cluster, and has been launched by the Air Institute and Tourism Data Driven Solutions (TDDS) in collaboration with the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)


1649 cases of coronavirus COVID-19 detected in the Archipelago, as of 8pm Sunday, April 5

The Canary Islands Government Ministry of Health at 1pm confirmed an accumulated total of 1649 cases of coronavirus COVID-19 detected in the Archipelago, as of 8pm Sunday, April 5, 2020. Cumulatively, a total of 651 people have required hospitalisation and 133 have been admitted in ICU. In addition, a total of 157 cases have been discharged and 85 have died.
The total number of health personnel with COVID-19 stands at 336. It should also be noted that, since Monday, March 30, the number of patients discharged has been higher than reported fatalities .
The SCS General Directorate of Public Health say they have modified and improved the daily epidemiological report of Covid-19, with regards to the data spread, so the information that has been offered from today now records cases registered according to of the place of declaration and not that of residence, as had been done up until now. This is because there are people who reside on one island but their health card is registered on another, making it difficult to process the data.
So there has been a little shift in the number, according to this new criterion, there have been 1080 cases detected in all on Tenerife; 411 on Gran Canaria; 66 on La Palma; 58 on Lanzarote; 23 on Fuerteventura; 7 on La Gomera and 1 on El Hierro. Three cases have been mismatched and those cases,  at the time of closing the report had not yet been resolved, which will be reflected in the report issued tomorrow.
Source: Canary Islands Government

#Tourism0: Spanish State gives Spanish hotels until March 26 to close

The Spanish Ministry of Health last night issued an Order Declaring the obligatory closure of hotels, tourist establishments, camping sites, caravan parks and short-stay accommodation before next 26th of March, 2020.
The Order was published on Thursday night in the Official State Gazette (Boletín) and specifies that closing must take place as soon as the establishment has no customers and, in any case, within a maximum period of seven calendar days from the entry into force of this regulation, last night.
The Ministry explains that those tourist establishments hosting clients who, at the time of the state of emergency having been declared (14 March), are “stable and seasonal”, will for the moment still allowed to be open to the public, as long as their clients do not have to share any common services.
However, these establishments will not be able to admit new customers until the state of emergency ends.
At the end of 2019, there were 12,559 open hotel establishments in Spain, with 550,476 rooms and 1,137 million beds, attended by 162,420 employees.
The 1,928 four-star hotels with the largest number of rooms, a total of 244,318, represent a cumulative 519,749 beds, adding three-star hotels, which total 119,770 rooms and 253,024 beds.
Consequently, the highest volume of employment occurs in four-star hotels, which employed a total of 80,547 workers at the end of 2019, followed by three-star hotels, where 31,111 people are employed.
The number of five-star hotels is much smaller (281), with 42,829 rooms and 90,352 beds, although they are more employment-intensive and employ 28,691 people.
The average number of employees in five-star hotels is 102 people per establishment, more than double that of four stars (41.7) and much higher than those of three stars, where an average of 16.2 people work.
However, the largest number of establishments is registered in the category of hostels , with almost 6,000, nationwide representing about 80,000 beds and almost 11,000 employees.
In 2019, 343.1 million overnight stays were registered in hotel establishments, 0.9% more than a year earlier. The figures show a better evolution than in 2018, when the number of overnight stays had fallen 0.2%.
Andalusia, the Valencian Community and Catalonia were the main destinations of resident travellers, while non-residents chose mainly the Canary Islands, followed by the Balearic Islands and Catalonia.
Travellers from the United Kingdom and Germany made 98.6 million hotel overnight stays in 2019 , which represented 44.1% of the total of those made by non-residents. Overnight stays of travellers from the United Kingdom increased by 0.3%, while those of Germans decreased by 9.0%.
The average daily billing rate in hotels for each occupied room (ADR) stood at €91 in 2019, while the average daily income per available room (RevPAR), which is conditioned by occupancy, reached €61.2 on average.
Here is a quick translation of the Boletín from the hard working Nicky Gordon, over at Ask Nicky

Royal Decree 463/2020, of March 14, declaring the state of emergency for the management of the health crisis situation caused by COVID-19, published in the “Official State Gazette” dated March 14 2020, includes a series of measures aimed at protecting the health and safety of citizens, containing the progression of the disease and strengthening the public health system.
Article 10 of the aforementioned Royal Decree contains the containment measures in the field of commercial activity, cultural facilities, recreational establishments and activities, hotel and restaurant activities, and other additional measures, that is, it provides for the closure of certain establishments that are collected specifically, but without the intention of exhaustiveness or establishing numerous clauses thereof.
Thus, in section 6 of the aforementioned article, the Minister of Health is empowered to modify, expand or restrict the measures, places, establishments and activities listed in the preceding sections, for justified reasons of public health, and may therefore extend this suspension to those other assumptions that are considered necessary.
The concentration of people in tourist accommodation, which must share certain common spaces, implies an increased risk of contagion, which is why, given the situation of restriction in the mobility of people, it is necessary, to guarantee the containment of the pandemic, to suspend the opening to the public of these establishments in line with the provisions of section 4 of article 10 of Royal Decree 463/2020.
In accordance with the foregoing, the Minister of Health, as delegated competent authority, under Article 4, sections 2 and 3, and Article 10, section 6, of Royal Decree 463/2020, of March 14, provided:
First. Suspension of opening to the public of tourist accommodation establishments.
Establish the suspension of opening to the public of all hotels and similar accommodation, tourist accommodation and other short-stay accommodation, campsites, caravan parks and other similar establishments, located anywhere in the national territory.
Exceptionally, the provision of surveillance, security and maintenance services in these establishments is permitted.
Second. Long-stay and seasonal tourist accommodation establishments.
It is permitted to open to the public those tourist establishments provided for in the first section of this order that house clients who, at the time of declaration of the state of emergency, are staying in a stable and seasonal manner, provided that their occupants have the infrastructures, in their own residential spaces, to be able to carry out the activities of first necessity in the terms established by Royal Decree 463/2020, of March 14, declaring the state of emergency for the management of the situation health crisis caused by COVID-19. However, these establishments will not be able to admit new customers until the suspension provided for in the previous section ends.
Third. Closing process.
The closing included in the first section will take place at the moment in which the establishment does not have clients to which it must attend and, in any case, within a maximum period of seven calendar days from the entry into force of this regulation.
Development and execution.
It is the responsibility of the competent authorities of each autonomous community to issue the resolutions, provisions and instructions that, in the specific sphere of their action, are necessary to guarantee the effectiveness of the provisions of this order.
First final provision. Habilitation to the Minister of Health.
In accordance with the provisions of article 4.3 of Royal Decree 463/2020, of March 14, declaring the state of emergency for the management of the health crisis situation caused by COVID-19, how many orders will be issued , resolutions, provisions and instructions necessary for the application of this measure.
Second final provision. Entry into force.
This order will enter into force the same day of its publication in the «Official Gazette of theState”.
Third final provision. Validity.
This order will be applied from its publication in the “Official State Gazette” until the end of the declaration of the period of the state of emergency orextensions thereof.
Madrid, March 19, 2020. – The Minister of Health, Salvador Illa Roca.



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The Canary News, Views & Sunshine - Est. 2009

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