Spain is reopening its borders with tourists in July, and the top division of football will resume in June, the prime minister said, marking another phase in avoiding one of the stringent lockdowns in world.
Pedro Sanchez’s two announcements on Saturday coincided with calls for his resignation over the impact of the lockdown on the economy from Vox’s far-right party, calling for protests in cities across Spain, drawing thousands – Thousands of horns and motorcycles.
“From July, foreign tourism will continue to be in safe conditions. We guarantee tourists will not take any risks and will not bring us any risks,”; Sanchez told a television news conference, without providing further details.
Foreign visitors contribute about one-eighth of Spain’s economic output and the government’s curves – taken to contain one of Europe’s worst coronavirus attacks – shut down everything from hotels, bars and restaurants as far as beaches and leisure parks like its tourism season.
Spain’s overnight death from coronavirus rose 48 last Saturday to a total of 28,678, the seventh straight day the death rate was less than 100, while the total number of cases rose to 235,290.
Close to one million jobs were lost in March alone when the lockdown began and the Bank of Spain expects the economy to contract by up to 12 percent this year.
Sanchez also said another national money-spinner, football’s top-flight La Liga, will resume June 8 with matches being played at empty stadiums.
Protesters on Saturday called on him and Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias – leader of left-wing Podemos, the junior partner of the Socialist Sanchez coalition – to resign over their handling of the crisis and, in particular, the collapse of the economy.
“It’s time to make a big noise against the government of unemployment and poverty that has left our self-employed and workers,” Vox said. The government said the lockdown allowed it to regain control of the pandemic.
Al Jazeera’s Marta Herrero, reporting from Madrid, shelp the protesters in the capital largely adhere to safety rules, wear face masks and maintain a safe distance from each other.
He noted that anti-lockdown sentiment began earlier “as a separate movement in a very rich, affluent neighborhood here in Madrid, with people folding pots and pans around nine o’clock. . “
Herrero said anger was slowly mounting in the wake of the government’s coronavirus crisis.
“They (the protesters) say the government is using the state of emergency to gain power and deprive civil liberties,” he added.
Authorities are set to ease more coronavirus restrictions on Monday, including in Madrid and Barcelona. The two cities account for about half of the cases recorded in the country.
Outdoor dining and gathering of up to 10 people will be allowed from next week. Some schools will start in other places. Theaters and museums may also open, but only a third of their capacity.
Al Jazeera and news agencies