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Letter from... Madrid

19 June 2020

By Javier Roca, Consultant, ACH (Part of SEC Newgate)

From Sunday, the longest day and the official start of summer, Spain will no longer be in a state of alarm. After almost 100 days, six extensions approved by Parliament, hundreds of thousands of jobs destroyed and fifty thousand lives lost. 

But we goes on, and from this Sunday the borders with the Schengen area will be opened excepting those with our Portuguese neighbours, who will do so next month. Northern Europeans, especially those from Germany, will start filling the Balearic Islands and 13% of Spain's GDP will be able to function again. 

For a few weeks now it has seemed that everything is as it was before. The morning radio has a slot for travel news once again, as traffic jams return to the main streets and the roads surrounding big cities. There are people on the streets at all hours and children and teens – who will not return to school until September – occupy the pavements. And when the sun goes down, there is even less room on bar terraces when there wasn’t much before. But always with a mask and sometimes this new costume is accompanied by gloves and glasses. In the news, images of people with their noses and mouths covered are not of distant cities but from here at home.

In spite of this, from this Sunday there will also be total mobility in Spain. Madrid and Barcelona are cities that welcome people from all over the country, like myself. At last, we will be able to move freely and without justification to any part of the country. Three months since the pandemic struck, we will be able to take a train and return home. 

As I write this there is news of fresh outbreaks of coronavirus in Beijing and different parts of Germany. So we'll keep in sight what we've been through. We'll be careful.