Category: Local

TORREVIEJA OPENS ALL ITS PARKS AND CHILDREN’S PLAYGROUND ON FRIDAY

Torrevieja town hall has announced that this morning (Friday) will reopen all the parks and gardens of the town, after being closed to the public since the start of the state of alarm decreed by the Government on March 14. Carmen Gómez Candel has informed that today the disinfection process of all the children’s playground equipment in the parks, gardens and green areas of Torrevieja will be completed, so that tomorrow (Friday) they can be opened with total hygienic security for their use and enjoyment.
The Councillor for Parks and Gardens said that last Friday an emergency contract was approved for a deep disinfection at a total cost of €42,349.84, and which includes cleaning with disinfectant, bactericide, fungicide and viricide, to be carried out on days alternate (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday), on the various equipment in the town’s parks and playgrounds: 135 springs, 38 slides, 18 seesaws, 49 swings and 40 multigames.

His feelings have changed

I have been seeing a guy for over a year, and I thought we had a solid relationship. We got on famously and he was very attentive. We had been planning our future, even talking about marriage and children and everything was looking rosy. Out of the blue at the end of February my boyfriend was contacted by his ex-wife. They had split four years previously with her telling him that she no longer loved him, so he left. Then in March, the virus hit and suddenly we were in lockdown. He works away and so said he had to stay where he was because the police would not allow him to travel to another province. Since then we have kept in touch by messaging and video call. But things haven’t felt the same. When I have brought up our future plans in the conversation, and he was reluctant to talk about it. Something has changed. He admitted that he was speaking with his ex and that she wanted to get back together, which has upset me greatly. Two days ago we spoke on video call and it looked to me as though he was not at the same residence, although he said he was and just in a room that he had not called from before. I strongly suspect he is with his ex wife. I asked him if he still loved me and if he still wanted to get married, and he said of course he was ‘fond of me’, but we would have to talk about the future when we are able to meet.
Saying that he is ‘fond of you’ is rather different than saying he loves you. He also said you needed to talk when you next saw each other. You suspected something had changed, and I think you may be right. I think sadly the writing could be on the wall and he may well be back with his ex wife, or at least planning on it. You could ask him outright next time you speak to him. Personally I wouldn’t delay a frank talk – this is eating you up and it’s better to know where you stand.

New food bank for Orihuela Costa

From 1st June a food collection and distribution point will be operating from Viajes Playa Flamenca, Calle Pablo Picasso, Playa Flamenca, near to the Town Hall Orihuela Costa. Anyone wishing to donate or help with the scheme can contact 647840055, by call or WhatsApp message. The office is open 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and those needing help or wishing to help with the initiative can call in between those times.
Travel Agents Viajes Playa Flamenca is owned by Sofia Alvarez and together with a team of fantastic volunteers such as local taxis, Local Police and Guardia Civil Officers, she has established Voluntarios Orihuela Costa together with the Community Care Association. The organisation is currently co-ordinating projects to support the vulnerable and those in need of a little help living in Orihuela Costa during and after the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic – and everyone can help by donating food and essential items.
Urgent help needed
The organisation is currently calling on all local shops and supermarkets throughout Orihuela Costa to help by providing collection points for donations of food and essential supplies from their customers and their own shop.
Volunteers are needed to sort the donated food at the main food distribution point and drivers will be needed to collect food and essential supplies and bring them to the main distribution point then to distribute to the eight Food Bank outlets.
Supporting the project to date are Ray Kearney President of the Irish Community Orihuela Costa, David Young President of Reach Out and Maryanne Groningen President of the Ladies Inner Wheel Club Campoamor and the organisation hopes to work closely with all associations and charities helping those in need.
Paul Moran, owner of The Emerald Isle, La Florida, has offered to support the project, but organisers know that they still need fund raiser volunteers to help promote and raise funds for the Food Bank Project, so if you would like to get involved, please contact 647840055.

Minutes silence starts mourning period

The Mayor of Orihuela, Emilio Bascuñana, led the official minutes silence held at Playa Flamenca Town Hall last Wednesday (27th May) to mark the start of the national governments ten-day mourning period.
Nationally millions fell silent as King Felipe VI led the minutes’ silence with his family to pay respect to more than 27,000 people who have died from the Covid-19 coronavirus across Spain. All flags on public buildings have been lowered to half-mast to mark the mourning period, which is the longest declared since the restoration of democracy in the late 1970s.
Government spokesperson Maria Jesus Montero said: “Eight out of 10 victims were older than 70, they were those who helped build the country that we know today.”
Locally, many of the bars and restaurants – despite only recently being able to open to customers – have cancelled entertainment as a mark of respect for those who have lost their lives.

Sánchez will ask for last State of Alarm extension

The President Pedro Sánchez will request a sixth and final extension of the State of Alarm this week.
Sánchez announced on Sunday that the Government is going to request a “final and definitive” extension of the two-week state of alarm this week. In the final stage, each autonomous community will have “maximum responsibility” in their management of Phase 3 of the de-escalation. As the situation is currently developing, the majority of Spain could be in Phase 3 on June 8th.
The news was confirmed by Sánchez after a videoconference meeting he held with the regional presidents, to whom he revealed his intention to request this final extension to “end the health emergency” of the coronavirus.
Sánchez specified that it will be a “different” and “much lighter” although “necessary” state of alarm to complete the de-escalation and has once again appealed for the cooperation of citizens to avoid further outbreaks.
The extension – the sixth since the declaration of the state of alarm – would last from June 8th to 21st, the date on which the so-called ‘new normality’ would begin because, “given the evolution of the pandemic”, at the end of this two-week period it would not be necessary to prolong the state of alarm.
Sánchez explained, “Starting from Phase 3, it will be the autonomous governments that will decide how to manage the rhythms of their respective territories, including the phase change and its duration”, which could be less than the usual two weeks.
The president indicated that the Ministry of Health will provide support and advice to the communities if they so require in that last phase, so that “only the regulation of mobility will remain in the hands of the Government.” He has also indicated that, if the epidemiological situation allows it, some communities could propose “the lifting of the state of alarm, even before June 21.”
Sánchez also referred to the country’s economic recovery, in which he has said that he will prioritize the automotive and tourism sectors.
The Government’s intention is for the extension to be approved today (Tuesday) by the Council of Ministers for a vote in Congress on Wednesday.
Sánchez has appealed to “the responsibility and generosity of all political groups” to support a state of alarm that, in his opinion, “has revealed itself to be absolutely essential for the containment of covid-19”. However, he has announced that he will not negotiate with the Popular Party, which has refused to maintain the state of alarm.

Work to start on the Emergency Services Centre

The Mayor of Orihuela, Emilio Bascuñana, and the Councillor for Emergencies, Víctor Valverde, have announced that the contract for the building of the Orihuela Costa Emergency Centre has been awarded and work on the long-awaited facility will start this week.
The contract has been awarded to the Oriolan company Doalco for the amount of 2,064,000 euros (VAT included) and that the work will take around 6 months with the Emergency Services Centre, located in La Zenia, being completed by the end of the year.
“This was one of the first actions that we faced and the construction would have been faster if the Valencian Government had assumed the execution of the work as originally planned and had not finally deferred it to the City Council,” the Mayor said.
Councillor Valverde added: “We had to start from scratch, because it was practically a forgotten project and we had to resume talks as there were two different administrations in power before it got off the ground. However, despite all these hurdles, after a lot of work and a lot of effort, the project is a reality and we will start work in a few days .”
The Centre will house the headquarters of the different emergency and security organisations for the Orihuela Costa. These include: National Police, Guardia Civil, Policia Local, SAMU ambulance (summer only), fire crews, Forrest Brigade and Proteccion Civil.
Having a dedicated base for emergency service in Orihuela Costa has been a political hot-potato for many years. Residents, local political parties and organisations have lobbied for it to be built for many years. Currently, emergencies services have to travel to Orihuela Costa from various neighbouring boroughs. This causes delays in people receiving help or treatment and many believe that lives have been lost due to the time lost. This has been a particular issue with ambulance crews not being familiar with coastal areas and address.

Help Vega Baja calls for support

With the regional moving firmly into Phase 2 and the encouraging decrease in the daily figures for both new cases and the number of deaths, most of us are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel and are hopeful of an end to lockdown.
However, as the lock down is eased, life is not going to be any easier for many people and in fact for many locals life is actually getting more and more difficult as time goes on. Families are turning to food banks and obviously to charities such as Help Vega Baja for support. Like the rest of the country, the majority of charities have lost all income for the past two and a half months whilst at the same time Help Vega Baja has no doubt that it is going to receive more and more requests for support .
The charity has continued to help people throughout the lock down in as many ways as it can and this will continue as we move forward through de-escalation. Therefore, in an attempt to raise some funds for the charity Help-Vega-Baja has set up a GoFundMe page with an initial target of 1,500 euros. The intention is to purchase food vouchers to provide for people who the charity comes across in real need to ensure they are able to put food on the table – other things it can help with – but the immediate concern is that families are not cutting back on the food they need.
The charities GoFundMe page reads:
“Do you want to join us in making a difference to people within the Vega Baja community? For 40 years HELP Vega Baja registered charity has been supporting people, often at exceedingly difficult times in their lives. Working closely with social service departments, the consulate office, other charities or organisations and directly with those needing support, we have ensured that people have somewhere to turn to when days are dark, when they can’t find a solution to their problem and need help to get back on track. Our help is not limited to any nationality and all requests for support are considered by the elective committee.”
If you can help then please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-vega-baja?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1
Help Vega Baja is a registered charity which supports of all ages with all sorts of problems within the Vega Baja area from La Marina to Pilar de la Horadada. It has a centre at San Miguel de Salinas which includes a charity shop and a hire centre for mobility equipment and it also have a helpdesk in La Marina.
Help Vega Baja continues to support people it hears about that need help and answers requests for support on 966 723 733, email office@helpvegabaja.com and through its Facebook page where you can send a personal message.

AACC returning to the new normal

Like everyone, Maria and the Pink ladies and Panthers have had to put most of its services on hold due to the pandemic but hopefully the charity will soon be back to normal and once Zenia Boulevard re-opens, volunteers will once again have its regular Monday presence there to enable the public to make appointments for cancer screening tests.
The charity knows that ‘early detection saves lives’ and volunteers will be on site ready to help from 12.00 midday until 2pm to book screening tests for breast, bowel, skin, cervical, prostate and ovarian cancers.
It is also possible for people to log on to: www.pinkladies.es to book a screening test, simply click the tab for “screening test” and fill out the form. People can also contact the anti-cancer charity through its Facebook page ‘pinkladies/panthers’.
The AACC hopes to open its office at Flamenca Beach Commercial Centre very soon, this will be done in line with government guidelines as many of its volunteers are in the high risk age category.
Unfortunately the annual “Walk for Life” event, which has been held at the Playa Flamenca promenade since 2010, had to be cancelled this year due to the pandemic restrictions. The charity is hopeful that it can make next year’s event bigger and better than ever

Disappointment for British holidaymakers

British holidaymakers hoping to visit Spain sooner rather than later this summer were disappointed by news from Spain’s Minister for Tourism that the UK will be expected to improve its Covid-19 infection figures before they will be allowed to visit.
Spain is expecting to open its borders to welcome international tourists from July 1st without new arrivals being expected to quarantine when they get here.
However, Spain wants Britain to improve its figures before allowing tourists to visit freely. The UK death toll rose by 215 on Saturday, compared to four deaths in Spain on the same day.
“For us it is important to guarantee that people arrive healthy and leave healthy,” Minister for Tourism Maria Reyes Maroto told the media at the weekend.
The Minister confirmed that Germany and northern European countries such as Norway and Denmark are likely to be the first to be welcomed back to Spain once the country opens its borders to holidaymakers. “At this moment, their epidemiological situations are very good,” she said.
Maria Reyes Maroto told the media that regional government representatives had spoken with the likes of Jet2holidays and TUI with a view to the government approving some pilot schemes for tourists returning in July.
Meanwhile, the Balearic Islands regional government has been lobbying central government for the right to organise a test run with foreign tourists from June 16th. Officials there want central government to approve a project which would see the arrival of 3000 tourists from Germany – mainly staying on the island of Mallorca but some also allowed to travel to Ibiza and Menorca.
The news comes after Greece took a u-turn on allowing access to Britons this summer. On Friday, the Greek Ministry of Tourism announced that from June 15th it will be allowing people to enter Greece on direct flights in to Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki. It published a list of countries eligible for entry, based on Covid-19 infection figures, but it did not include the UK.
However, on Monday, Greece’s Minister for Tourism Harry Theoharis clarified the country’s new entry laws, confirming that Britons will be permitted to arrive from June 15 but will be subject to stricter requirements than certain other nations.
Greek officials confirmed that the country will accept arrivals from airports deemed high-risk by the European Union’s aviation safety agency (EASA), which includes British airports, but that these passengers will be subject to testing and possible quarantine.
Theoharis told news agencies, “Tourists originating from airports listed on EASA are obliged to be tested once they land in Greece and remain at a designated hotel for one day. If the test turns out negative, these visitors will then be obliged to observe a 7-day quarantine. If their sample is positive, they will remain in a 14-day quarantine and their health will be monitored.”
The 29 countries currently deemed safe include: Albania, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, and Switzerland. Greek authorities will conduct random sample testing on passengers arriving from these airports on the approved list.

Lockdown clear out for a good cause

Have you been spring cleaning during lock down? Have you found stuff you didn’t know you had and now want to get rid of it?
The charity Help at Home Costa Blanca is desperate for your unwanted items to sell in their two charity shops in Orihuela Costa.
Right through the lock down the charity has remained busy looking after people in real need of help. Volunteers have been taking people for hospital and doctors’ appointments, even though the number of volunteers was seriously depleted because many are in most vulnerable groups.
Things that the charity have done include working with the social workers, the town hall and hospital to help give family news and support when they come home and working to help clients access Social Service benefits and helping when loved ones have died.
Four drivers did shopping/pharmacy runs and health centre appointments and people have been loaned equipment such as hospital beds and commodes. Food parcels have been delivered and furniture provided for a woman who had no income.
Several hundred euros have had to be spent preparing the shops so they can open with the new state of alarm restrictions.
Two major fundraising events, a masquerade ball at the San Miguel Castle and a murder mystery at Drivers Bar in Villa Martin had to be cancelled.
A charity spokesperson said: “All this has seriously depleted our cash reserves. The volunteers receive no income, only their fuel expenses are reimbursed but they have not been paid for the past three months. We would have had income from the weekly market at the Emerald Isle but this obviously had to be suspended.
“In these times of crisis, our charity has been a real lifeline for so many local people, and we are in desperate need of funds to continue this important work. If people would like to donate, then we would be very happy to receive any amount small or large. The information is on our Facebook account. Or please phone the office on 965 328 794.
“We are also very interested in people who can help us in any way either by volunteering to work in the shop, by becoming a driver or a befriender. Or very importantly, a fundraiser. “
The charity shop in the Playa Flamenca Commercial Centre is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 2pm to receive and sell smaller items while the shop in Cabo Roig (off the N332) is open at the same hours Monday to Friday for furniture or to arrange collections. All possible precautions are being taken to ensure staff and customers are safe. Masks have to be worn, there is hand sanitiser in the entrances and available throughout the shops. Everything gets disinfected and the Playa Flamenca shop has been changed so make more space. The number of customers in the shop is limited and there are signs everywhere reminding people to keep to distancing rules.
Charity assessors have been working tirelessly assessing new clients and offering help and support, including finding carers for them where needed. Several families in the UK have been asking for help with elderly parents as they have not been able to get over to Spain in the lockdown.

Zenia Boulevard tightens up safety and hygiene measures for reopening

The centre has a thorough cleaning and disinfection protocol in place in toilets and communal areas, a real-time restricted entry system and increased security presence
Zenia Boulevard, managed by Ceetrus and CBRE Global Investors, revealed a meticulous series of planned hygiene measures to guarantee that customers and employees alike can be confident of their safety.
The shopping centre in Orihuela Costa, has installed more than 20 points with hydroalcoholic gel hand sanitiser dispensers and disposable gloves across the whole centre. Plus, there is a special group of dedicated staff working to keep the centre fully disinfected, even out of opening hours.
Access to the centre and customer safety measures
Some of the measures that are in effect at the shopping centre in Phase 2 include a real-time restricted entry system. The system continuously monitors the number of vehicles in the car park and ensures the number of people allowed inside the centre during any particular phase is within the permitted limit.
Another measure is that the public address system will become particularly important, as well as the special set of posters that people will come across as they move through the shopping centre, reminding them to observe good practice and do their shopping as safely as possible. The use of face masks, social distancing, paying by card or by mobile phone, preference in the use of lifts and frequent hand washing are just a few of the reminders and tips that Zenia Boulevard will be giving customers.
“Our main aim is to make customers feel safe, calm and confident, because Zenia Boulevard is an open shopping centre, with wide walkways and with enough space for everyone to respect safe social distancing. Plus, since the start of the State of Alarm, we’ve been working on this special reopening plan to ensure that safety and hygiene are top priority. We want our customers to choose us as their preferred place for shopping and leisure, with complete confidence and safe in the knowledge that they’re in the very best hands”, says Cristina Ros, Manager of Zenia Boulevard.
Special recommendations
For shopping purposes, all of Zenia Boulevard’s shops will have their own special protocols in place for limiting the number of people who can be inside at any particular time and they will be informing customers as they arrive. Posters will be displayed specifying the number of people allowed in each premises at a time so customers are aware that they will have to wait their turn. The shopping centre has been working alongside shops to organise access and set up queueing systems with barriers and posters reminding everyone to observe social distancing while they wait.
Zenia Boulevard has also taken the decision to deactivate all the digital store directories to prevent them from being used. Instead, customers will find a map of the shopping centre with the locations of all shops, so customers will still be able to make use of this service to find what they are looking for as quickly as possible.
In Phase 2, all rest areas remain closed
With the aim of making everyone feel safe and confident across all its facilities, Zenia Boulevard has closed the ‘rest spots’ in communal areas, the children’s area in Plaza Mayor and the centre fountain. Plus, there is an increased security presence to keep order and ensure the rules are adhered to.
In terms of hygiene measures, the centre has dedicated cleaning staff in each toilet block to ensure cleaning is done every 30 minutes, and cleaning will also be stepped up in sensitive areas such as handrails, door handles, lifts, etc. Another measure is that the restaurant area known as Food Xperience has been reorganised and reduced to ensure social distancing and comfort for customers and to adhere to the permitted number of customers.

Costa Blanca Beaches Association

Vicente Frasquet was named the first president of the Business Association Costa Blanca Beaches, during its official launch recently. The Association brings together companies that provide tourist services, hospitality, leisure, equipment, security and sports activities across coastal areas of the province of Alicante.
The main objective of this new business organisation is to defend and represent the interests of the group and contribute to enhancing the tourist image of the Costa Blanca, as well as advancing the quality of service provided each year to the millions of people who use the beaches of the province of Alicante.
In addition, in these special circumstances that the covid-19 pandemic has generated, one of the association’s priorities will be to ensure the safety and health of tourists who use beach services and also of the professionals who provide them.
This is a sector that is highly dependent on international tourism, and which faces a very difficult and uncertain future, which began with the forced closure of business during Easter and subsequent festivities. These businesses are now facing a short summer season through which they are going to have to adapt to a drastic reduction in the number of foreign visitors, to which are added the capacity restrictions and the incorporation of new sanitary measures and social distancing.
The businessmen intend to collaborate actively with the administrations, institutions and business organisations across the sector to activate solutions that ensure the survival of the concessionary companies and provide a service with all the health guarantees required by the protocols in the tourism sector. It will particularly focus on the peculiarities of providing beach services from parasols to beach bars.
The association considers that its companies play a relevant role in the image of the area since on many occasions they are the first reference for tourist information or information on the municipality in which they are located for visitors. The Association also believes its members provision of regulated beach services prevents the proliferation of unregulated street vending of beverages, food and other products on the coast, while improving safety rates and benefiting quality tourism.

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