As Europe continues to enforce social distancing rules and impose new lockdowns to tackle another wave of COVID-19, Madrid is looking rather appealing. Bars, restaurants and cafes are busy. The relaxed rules of the Spanish capital is attracting hundreds of tourists. They come to catch some sun and take a break from the COVID fatigue affecting most of the continent.
Madrid”s police chief, José Luis Morcillo, says tourists are coming from across Europe: “[They are] not only French nationals but from other parts too. They come in groups, and in some cases, they party in their apartments. That creates some problems”.
And Morcillo says parties are being held in a variety of locations, “this weekend we intervened in a marble shop, jewelry shop, garages, warehouses, paint workshops. Basically anywhere that can serve as a venue to host people.”
Madrid has taken an uncommon approach, allowing for more activity in the tourism and hospitality sector, which employs 13% of Spain’s workforce:
With four million people jobless in the country at the moment, Madrid is trying to find a balance between health protection and the economy.
Madrid’s GDP grew by 4.4% in the last quarter of 2020, created one out of three jobs in Spain and for the first time leads the national statistics of employees working in the tourism and hospitality sector.
However, it also leading the rate of new COVID-19 infections, so these days in the sun may not last into the summer.
Watch Euronews’s full report in the player above.