MADRID (AP) — Authorities in Spain’s Balearic Islands ordered the closure Wednesday of bars and nightclubs in beachfront areas popular with young and foreign visitors, pulling the plug on endless drunken nights to the beat of techno music.
Arguing the need to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, regional authorities issued the order for all establishments along Mallorca’s “Beer St.” and “Ham St.”, as the popular party areas near the beach of Palma de Mallorca are known, and another boulevard in nearby Magaluf.
The region’s tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, said the Mediterranean archipelago also wants to shake off its reputation as a wild party destination.
“We don’t want uncivil tourists in our islands, we don’t want them to come,” Negueruela said at a press conference, announcing that the establishments should close as of Thursday until further notice.
Scenes of boozy Mallorca visitors ignoring social-distancing rules and going without face masks went viral on social media in recent weeks and made headlines in Germany and the U.K., home to many of the tourists that Mediterranean islands typically court.
Spanish regional authorities are also banning straws and glasses containing more than 0.5 liters of alcoholic beverages because they want to stop drinks from being shared by different people, as well as bar stools that might tempt party-goers to linger.
Negueruela warned that authorities would take action against tourists who disregard the regulations.
“We are not going to allow this lack of control,” he said.
It’s not the first that the popular Balearic Islands have attempted to curb binge-drinking. Earlier this year, the regional government passed a law prohibiting the organization and promotion of pub crawls and publicizing alcohol sales by means of “open bars” and “happy hours.”
They also banned the practice of jumping from hotel balconies into swimming pools, a practice known as “balconing” that has led to many injuries and several deaths.
The archipelago is trying to brand itself as a safe destination for tourists after a three-month halt on all economic activity during the coronavirus pandemic. More than 30% of the islands’ economy depends on tourism.
Spain has recorded at least 28,400 COVID-19 deaths and is grappling with dozens of fresh outbreaks after the country started to reopen last month.