Spanish islands warn tourists to abide by virus restrictions

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FILE - In this Monday, July 27, 2020 file photo, tourists take photos in the town of Soller in the Balearic Island of Mallorca, Spain. Faced with a possible flood of visitors from Germany later this month, authorities in Spains Balearic Islands are warning hotel owners that tourists must adhere to coronavirus restrictions the same way residents do. The archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea is strengthening measures to combat the virus before the Easter period. But the restrictions havent stopped eager German tourists who have rushed to book flights and accommodation this week following their governments removal of the islands from a list of high-risk contagion zones. (AP Photo/Joan Mateu, FIle)

MADRID – Faced with a possible flood of visitors from Germany later this month, authorities in Spain's Balearic Islands are warning hotel owners that tourists must adhere to coronavirus restrictions the same way residents do.

Like the rest of Spain, the archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea is strengthening measures to combat the virus before the Easter period beginning April 1. They include further limiting social interactions to people living under the same roof and closing bars and restaurants at 5 p.m.

But the restrictions haven't stopped eager German tourists who have rushed to book flights and accommodation this week following their government's removal of the Balearic Islands and other holiday destinations from a list of high-risk areas.

Travelers will no longer need to quarantine on their return to Germany, although they will need a negative coronavirus test before departing. The German government still discourages all nonessential travel.

Given that all nonessential domestic travel across most Spanish regions is banned, the existing measures mean that flying from most of Europe for a weekend in Madrid or a beach holiday on the island of Ibiza, for example, is often easier than for many Spaniards to visit relatives in other regions or spend time in their second homes.

Balearic regional government spokesman Iago Negueruela said Tuesday that both the existing measures and new ones kicking off on March 26 must be carried out “by everybody, no matter where they come from.”

Negueruela, who is also the islands' tourism minister, said that authorities will be on high alert monitoring for possible rulebreakers, private news agency Europa Press reported.

Budget airline Eurowings is providing hundreds of extra flights to Mallorca, the biggest of the archipelago's five main islands, before the Easter period, and travel operator TUI said it's opening hotels on the island.