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COVID-19

Spain’s party island faces an uncertain summer

Jennifer O'Mahony Jun 26, 2020
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A nearly empty boardwalk in Ibiza in May. Normally, tourists would swarm the island this time of year. Andres Iglesias/Getty Images
COVID-19

Spain’s party island faces an uncertain summer

Jennifer O'Mahony Jun 26, 2020
Heard on:
A nearly empty boardwalk in Ibiza in May. Normally, tourists would swarm the island this time of year. Andres Iglesias/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Europeans flock to Ibiza for its summer parties. White sand beaches and the world’s hottest clubs typically bring 3 million tourists to the island between May and September, while the population in winter is just 148,000.

Spain’s government has only just restarted travel to the island, and while bars and restaurants are open with limited capacity, large-scale events are still banned. Some of those who make their living with music — Ibiza’s lifeblood — are writing off 2020.

Many Ibizans live for the full year on the money they make during the summer months. Tourists spent $17.8 billion in the Balearic Islands last year, where Ibiza is the best-known spot.

Meanwhile, hotels are imposing strict hygiene measures, with mandatory temperature checks, rooms left unoccupied to space guests apart and disinfection of vehicles after each use.

If and when tourists make it back to Ibiza, a very different island experience awaits them.

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COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?

Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.

How has the pandemic changed scientific research?

Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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