Brexit: British expats in Spain share their thoughts on leaving EU
Benidorm has become the new home of numerous Britons over the years after escaping the UK for a sunnier life on the coast of Spain. Life in the resort amid covid is quite different from what expats originally signed up for, however. One English expat spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about what life in Benidorm is like during the pandemic.
Musician Martin Weavers, 60, moved to Benidorm three years ago, “giving everything up in England” to be lead singer of The Rollermaniacs band, a tribute to The Bay City Rollers.
While Covid has meant less work for entertainers like Martin, the expat reckons he’s safer out in Benidorm.
“I think being in Benidorm is safer than being in England,” the singer told Express.co.uk.
He believes this is thanks to Spain’s strict approach to face masks.
“I think the wearing of masks should be compulsory everywhere and most people in Benidorm are wearing them,” he said.
“When you look at news clips in England it makes me sad that people are not wearing them.”
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Benidorm has also been very strict when it comes to quarantine, with self-isolation policed much more rigorously than in the UK.
“The authorities were strict from the start, unlike England,” Martin explained.
“We had police and army on the streets in March last year. Where I live they have been very strict with quarantine rules.”
The musician also revealed that, in his experience, Benidorm has been much more hands-on when it comes to helping those forced to self-isolate.
Martin quarantined for 17 days after catching the deadly virus.
“I had Covid and reported it to our Office and they couldn’t do enough to help,” he said.
“Daily they called me, picked up our rubbish and always asked if they could do anything else to help us.”
According to Martin, the biggest impact Covid has had on Benidorm is “the obvious lack of tourists.”
“Fewer tourists in Benidorm means lack of work for bands like ours,” he shared.
“We play all the big clubs in Benidorm and at the moment they have been closed since last March.
“With Spain blocking flights and flights getting cancelled nobody is coming in so we lose work.”
As for local business, they are “struggling” in Benidorm.
“Some were doing better than others but everyone only has X amount of money to go round and now the latest rules are a kick in the teeth to them,” worried Martin.
Daily life has also been negatively affected. Stricter rules brought in on January 21 saw the smaller bars which had stayed open finally close.
However, Martin’s biggest worry amid it all is his friends and family getting Covid.
The 60-year-old has a child in England and the stringent travel rules have meant he couldn’t see him.
“My son had [coronavirus] in England and being here in Benidorm I felt helpless that I couldn’t do anything to help him,” he said.
“I just wish I could get on a plane to visit for a few days then fly back without all the fuss but I understand why restrictions have been put in place.”
As for “the only way forward” amid the pandemic, Martin believes the key “is for people to stay in their own little bubble.
“Get tested if you feel the symptoms and [don’t] go out for the recommended quarantine time,” he urged.
The covid vaccine, Martin hopes, will play a major role in getting back to normal.
“Life out here now needs the jab to make people safer and then hopefully we can open up the borders again,” he concluded.
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