Spain urged foreign tourists on Monday to return from July as one of Europe's strictest lockdowns eased, with streets gradually filling again and some pupils returning to school.
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The world's second-most visited nation closed its doors and beaches in March to handle the COVID-19 pandemic but has seen out the worst and plans to lift a 14-day quarantine requirement on overseas arrivals within weeks.
“It is perfectly coherent to plan summer vacations to come to Spain in July,” Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto told radio station Onda Cero as Spain geared up to salvage a tourism industry that normally draws 80 million people a year.
The hard-hit capital Madrid was coming back to life on Monday, with people allowed back into its main Retiro park and a few bars and restaurant terraces reopening.
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“This is great, I was really looking forward to it. And so was my dog!” said interior designer Anna Pardo, walking her pet in the sunshine in the Retiro.
Strolling, jogging and chatting, Madrilenos passed through the park's shaded alleys or stopped for a moment to enjoy its small lake, still devoid of the usual rowing boats.