British Embassy to hold Facebook Q&A this Wednesday on new residency document for UK nationals

The Spanish Government has launched a new residency document for UK nationals who are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement – the Tarjeta de identidad de extranjero or TIE.

This means some changes to the appointments process and that anyone registering from now on will be issued with the biometric TIE card, rather than the current green paper document.

Spain is one of the first EU countries to bring in a new residency system for British nationals and HMA Hugh Elliott welcomed its introduction. He also clarified what it means for UK nationals in a short video https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=630716360883658 saying:

“We’ve seen lots of questions and concerns on social media, so I want to underline two key points. First, I want to assure you that all British nationals, who are legally resident in Spain by the end of this year, will have their rights protected, including the right to live and work here, and lifelong access to healthcare for UK state pensioners, including those who claim a pension in the future.

"And second, whether you already have the green residency certificate – A4 or credit card-sized version – or in the future the TIE, they are equally valid in demonstrating your residence status and your rights as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. Almost 360,000 British people are already registered here in Spain. And whilst you may choose to exchange your current certificate for a TIE at some point in the future, there is no requirement to do so. The green residency document gives you the same rights as the new TIE card. So please be assured on that point.

There is one group of people who must take action. If you live here, but don’t already have a green residency certificate, you must apply for the new TIE as soon as possible. A link to the Spanish administration website is https://sede.administracionespublicas.gob.es/icpplus/index.html.”

The British Embassy is holding a Facebook Live Q&A at 20:00 on Wednesday, July 8 Please join via www.facebook.com/britsinspain. It will also be available to watch afterwards.

Information for UK nationals is available at gov.uk/livinginspain – sign up for email alerts to be kept updated. This is in the process of being updated to reflect the new process.


Mario Zumaquero

Police seek driver after fatal hit-and-run

Well-known Marbella cyclist Mario Zumaquero was killed in a hit-and-run accident on Sunday morning.

Zumaquero (pictured) was training at 6.40am when he was struck by what is believed to be a Mercedes. The accident happened at km 167 on the A7, close to Diana Park.

Several witnesses saw the car strike Zumaquero without stopping. The emergency services were quickly on the scene but were unable to save him. Guardia Civil and Local Police have begun a search for the occupants of the light coloured Mercedes, which they believe will have damage to the right hand side.

Tributes have been posted on Social Media for the 44-year-old Zumaquero, who was a popular figure on the local cycling scene.


Something for the Weekend? 'Where the Crawdads Sing' by Delia Owens

Alicia Duggan of The Bookshop with her latest review.

This beautifully written debut novel by Delia Owens is part murder mystery, part coming of age novel but mostly a story of survival and hope.

Kya lives in the marshlands of North Carolina. When she is six her mother walks out on the family leaving Kya with her brother, who leaves soon after, and her alcoholic and often violent father who spends less and less time at home and eventually disappears leaving Kya to fend for herself.

Labelled by the people of the local village as “swamp trash” Kya keeps to herself, isolated, lonely, and making money however she can. The swamp and its wildlife become her family. Time passes and her isolation grown until Tate, an old friend of her brother, befriends Kya and teaches her to read, opening up a world of possibilities to her.

It is a captivating tale of love, loss, murder, racism, social division and the human condition.

http://www.thebookshop.es


England scraps quarantine for arrivals from Spain

Travellers from more than 50 countries including France, Italy and Spain can stop self-isolating on arrival in England from July 10, the UK government has confirmed.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will each announce their own separate rules depending on how they work in England.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the change, which reverses a two-week quarantine policy imposed in June, would lead to the "reopening of the nation".

Under the new rules, a traffic-light system -- red, amber and green -- would be used for different countries depending on their prevalence of the coronavirus.

Travellers from the green and amber countries will no longer have to self-isolate on arrival.

The amber countries will have reciprocal arrangements in place with England, while the green countries are deemed to be safer than England, such as New Zealand. The amber countries include France, Italy and Spain.

The government had hoped to introduce the system across all four UK nations, but a political row has left England going it alone.

"Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation," said Shapps.

"Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses."

People arriving in England would still have to fill out a locator form, he added.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash


Marbella increases grant to Triple A

Marbella animal charity Triple A finally has reason to celebrate

Marbella Town Hall this week reinforced its commitment to Triple A with an annual grant of 80,000 euros, and also announced a project to update the facilities.

Mayor Ángeles Muñoz signed the annual collaboration agreement with the president of the group, Bettina Pietsch, on Tuesday. This increases aid for maintenance expenses by 20,000 euros compared to 2019.

The mayor praised the “great work” carried out by the association and explained that the objective of the agreement is "to guarantee the treatment and care of animals in relation to microchips, vaccination or sterilisation."

"In response to their needs, the Works delegation has designed a functional and visual project that lives up to what a city like Marbella and the association deserves," she said. The mayor also called on citizens and groups to continue collaborating and to continue adopting animals.

In reply Pietsch thanked the Town Hall for its support and stated that the project for the new facilities "is going to be magnificent". "We are going to have the beautiful facility that Marbella deserves," she said.

Secretary of the association, Jan Weima, added that the collaboration agreement will be "a great oxygen balloon" for Triple A


Marbella launches real time app for beaches

Marbella Town Hall has launched PlayasApp, a real time App that lets the public know the occupancy of the municipality's beaches.

Marbella's 27 kilometres of coastline are home to 26 beaches totaling​​430,000 square metres. Under the new social distancing guidelines, the total capacity allowed is 85,000 people, and the new app will advise you on the occupancy of each beach, as well as local amenities.

Marbella Town Hall also announced that the beaches will be patroled by 150 auxiliaries from the Junta de Andalucia; 35 Civil Protection volunteers; more than forty lifeguards. In addition the Local Police has assigned 35 officers, eight quads, two drones and the Mounted Police unit to the beaches.


UK set to give green light to Spanish holidays on Monday

Brace yourselves. It looks like, this time, the British really are coming!

Britons will be able to go on summer holidays abroad as the UK government prepares to announce that people travelling to certain countries will no longer be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to the UK.

Ministers are poised to clear the way for trips to France, Greece and Spain after confirming the quarantine measures would be changed at Monday's review.

Officials will replace existing rules with a traffic light system that will see countries placed into green, amber and red categories based on the prevalence of coronavirus in each.

It will mean only passengers arriving back from nations in the red category - where the spread of coronavirus is deemed to be high - will have to self-isolate for a fortnight.

People will still have to reveal the address where they plan to stay on their return, no matter which country they are coming back from.

The government said the changes would provide a "vital lifeline for UK travel operators and those whose jobs rely on the travel industry".

"Our new risk-assessment system will enable us to carefully open a number of safe travel routes around the world - giving people the opportunity for a summer holiday abroad and boosting the UK economy through tourism and business.

The existing quarantine measures have attracted widespread derision since their introduction, with critics suggesting they were brought in too late and applied to some countries where COVID-19 was not as rife as in the UK.

Rules implemented from June 8 have meant all passengers - with a handful of exemptions - have been required to go into self-isolation for 14 days at a declared address when they arrive in the UK.

The International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) described the blanket quarantine measures as "illogical", while budget airline Ryanair labelled them "idiotic rubbish".

Government sources confirmed countries where people will be able to travel restriction-free from as soon as July 6 will include France, Spain and Greece.

Photo by Federico Giampieri on Unsplash


Covid Commission

Coronavirus - Over 3000 penalties issued in Marbella during State of Alarm

Marbella handed out over 3000 penalties for breaches of the State of Alarm.

That was the finding of the final meeting of Marbella's Security Coordination Commission for Covid-19.

The Commission highlighted that breaches during the confinement resulted in 3,200 penalties being issued, and that local police and fire officials carried out more than 13,000 interventions.

There were also almost 5,300 hours of service provided by the 714 Civil Protection volunteers in prevention, sanitation or distribution of food, educational and sanitary material.

The Commission also reported that local police dealt with more than 3,000 calls related to COVID-19.


No Juan's Land

One of the biggest nights of the summer has been cancelled this year.

Noche de San Juan is traditionally held on the evening of June 23, when leaping over bonfires on the beach and taking your first dip in the sea, while dressed in white, is meant to absolve you of your sins.

The purifying nature of the festival has been somewhat neglected over the past few years, with recent celebrations featuring huge crowds, reggaeton artists and fireworks. The resultant clean up operation the following day always makes the front pages too, with the beaches left looking more like a rubbish tip than a tourist attraction.

This year, however, the Noche de San Juan celebrations in Marbella have been cancelled by the Town Hall due to the coronavirus situation. So at least the sea and beaches will remain pristine. And we will just have to live with our sins for another year...

Photo: Delphine Ducaruge on Unsplash


Sunday Morning Mutterings - The lighter side of Lockdown

By the time you read this, Spain will have bravely stepped into the ‘New Normal’.

To be honest, I have had enough trouble adjusting to the ‘Old Normal’ since the mid-80s, but I blame that on moving from Stoke-on-Trent to Marbella without a suitable quarantine period.

Although the lockdown period did impose significant restrictions on each and every one of us, there were some lighter moments. I spent the past three months providing daily COVID-19 updates for Talk Radio Europe – and there were some stories that made me smile.

Monty Python had a famous sketch called ‘The Upper Class Twit of the Year’ and Belgian Prince Joachim proved that upper class twits are still alive and well and living in Brussels when he decided to visit Spain during the pandemic. Obviously deciding that Crown Heads of State were immune to coronavirus, he regally decided to disobey the quarantine requirements and, after landing in Madrid, caught a high speed train to Cordoba with is girlfriend. Unfortunately for the Prince and his beloved, they were in town to party and after subsequent social gathering, he awoke with not only (we imagine) a champagne induced hangover, but also having contracted the virus and a resultant fine of over €10,000.

Meanwhile, Spaniards were also coming up with creative ways to leave the house. One man was videoed by police taking out the rubbish dressed in a fancy dress T-Rex costume. I can only imagine that was his own version of PPE – Prehistoric Predator Equipment. While you were allowed to take your pets out for a walk, police also stopped people taking sheep, hens and in one case, a toy dog on wheels, for walkies. But the best of the lot was the genius in Logroño, who was discovered sitting on a bench with his pet goldfish - in its bowl.

With the absence of humanity on the streets, wild animals ventured back into Spanish cities. Wild boar were spotted in Madrid, lynx in an empty factory in Toledo, wild horses on the slopes of Sierra Nevada and even peacocks strutting in Ronda. As many of you know, I overlook a lake, and couldn't resist the opportunity of putting up a scene from the dinosaur epic Jurassic Park - specifically the photo where Sam Elliot, Jeff Goldbum and the rest of the group get their first, awe inspiring view of the park, complete with brachiosaurus. It was meant as a joke, but my feed then started to get "Isn't it wonderful how nature is coming back?" comments. Either people hadn't spotted the huge dinosaurs in the lake, or some of you had started on the lockdown breakfast booze...

But the best story of all was the newscaster Alfonso Merlos who, like many of this media colleagues, was forced to broadcast live from his living room. The proverbial hit the fan when a half-naked woman casually sauntered by in the background.

If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, the young lady in question turned out to be fellow journalist Alexia Rivas, rather than his then high-profile girlfriend, Spanish Big Brother contestant Marta López. Rivas later claimed that Merlos had told her that he was newly single, a fact that was news to López. Not surprisingly the reality star swiftly dumped the caddish anchor man, but not after some very public mud-slinging.

Makes me glad that I work in radio. At least the public don’t get to see the half of what goes on in the background when I broadcast…

A version of this article appears in www.theolivepress.es