A few meters from the Palma Bellver hotel, a group of foreigners are watching the match between England and Germany in the round of 16 of the European Championship on the terrace of a well-known Irish pub. They have the German flag painted on their faces and drink beers, taking advantage of the good temperature on Tuesday afternoon. Asked about the matter, they do not know what is happening in the huge 13-storey white building located a few meters away, on the Paseo Marítimo de Palma, and which houses the 249 young people who since the weekend remain confined because they are close contacts or positive for coronavirus in relation to the macro-outbreak due to study trips to Mallorca. A court will decide this Wednesday whether to ratify the resolution of the regional government to forcibly confine the kids in the hotel, a measure that the Prosecutor’s Office has opposed. Health reported on Monday that it has already detected more than a thousand positive cases associated with the macro outbreak throughout Spain and almost 5,000 people are in quarantine
Nothing indicates at first glance that the Palma Bellver hotel is the establishment that the Government of the Balearic Islands has destined to accommodate isolated tourists. The doors are closed. There are no cops at the door. But as you walk down the street, you can hear the music blasting from one of the balconies. Three girls dance on the terrace of the room. Another kid yells something unintelligible below. The feet of a couple peek out from another of the balconies. The cars that pass by the avenue honk. “Get off the island!” Shouts one of the drivers who have stopped at the traffic light.
“Now they are calm because there is football,” explains one of the security agents who has to work these days in the establishment. She says that during the day they are “more or less” calm, although later, at night, they “mess her up in the rooms” and give more work. Like the early morning of Tuesday, when a crew of the Local Police of Palma had to move to put order in the enclosure. Throughout the night, complaints about noise and disturbances from neighbors and guests of the neighboring hotel were repeated. When the police arrived, the scene was of loud music in some rooms, objects being thrown onto the street from the terraces and shouting at passers-by.
Antonio, who lives on the ground floor of the building that adjoins the hotel, affirms that “it was more than noise, it was a party”. She assures that two neighbors of the building called the police at dawn because of the scandal that was taking place and they managed to get municipal agents to put order. “They have left us the interior corridor full of shit, they throw away the whole yogurts, the food. It’s a shame, “says Antonio, who ironically criticizes the confinement of minors,” that it seems that they are not minors to be partying. “
In this four-star hotel of the Meliá group, the Balearic Government is in charge of supplying young people with food – from the Son Llátzer hospital in Palma – and covering their basic hygiene needs. The Executive has paid 1,673,000 euros for the rental of this 383-room hotel until October 31, for all types of tourists in isolation, and on Monday approved an urgent expenditure of 99,998 euros for surveillance and security in the hotel . However, the food does not seem to be very successful, given the number of delivery men who arrive laden with bags. Three in just 20 minutes.
The security guard opens the door for them. He explains that young people can order food and what they need through mobile applications and that the delivery men leave the bags at the hotel reception, where they take the order up to the rooms. Alcohol is prohibited, although the Local Police are investigating whether the owners of some bars on the Paseo Marítimo were supplying alcohol to young people through buckets tied to sheets that the kids were lifting from the terraces, as reported by the security guards who work inside from the hotel, where 33 foreign tourists are also staying, some with children, who are also quarantined for having tested positive or being close contacts.
Evening falls, and the music and singing do not stop. Young people continue to shout on the terraces and passersby stop to watch from the sidewalk. At times sheets waving asking to leave the hotel and cry out slogans such as “we want to leave, we are negative” and “freedom, freedom.” Drivers standing at traffic lights can’t help but look up at the commotion. “Get me out of here, you bastards,” yells one of the boys from the terrace. “Get down, I’ll catch you,” answered a driver stopped at the traffic light.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.