Controversy is brewing in Spain with confirmation that the seven-week Sunshine Tour at Vejer de la Frontera will go ahead despite a heartfelt plea from the local mayor to postpone it due to escalating Covid-19 infections in the area.Mayor Francisco Manuel Flor Lara said the equestrian activity was incompatible with Spanish citizens currently being subject to stay-at-home orders, night-time curfew and restricted travel between regions. “It is not justifiable to organize such an event at this time, when we are asking the population to stay at home and not go out on the streets,” he said. “It is a very important event for our residents and the region, but we cannot allow it at this time.”The town has a population of 13,000. To keep visitors away from its famous beach at El Palmar, local government last year closed all but one access road and monitored properties used at holiday rentals.Huge numbers of European riders flock south to sunnier Mediterranean climes in January. The first of the tours at Vejer de la Frontera – founded in 1994 – is due to start on February 9 through March 28. The venue attracts 2,000 horses and 400 jumping riders from 40 countries, all vying for 38 rankings classes and Euros 2 million in prize money.The organizers say there will be strict safety protocols, as set by the Spanish health ministry and the Spanish equestrian federation. Riders must provide a negative Covid test 72 hours before arrival. Air purifying systems have been installed, communal areas will be disinfected and face masks worn.Justifying their reasons to proceed, organizers point out sponsorship from the regional tourism agency and prestigious companies and that is followed by fans in 200 countries. In a normal year it generates 25 million euros for the regional economy, according to a study by the University of Cádiz.A statement issued by the organizer also claimed this was “necessary sports planning,” providing qualifying competitions for the European and World Championships and Olympic Games, even though it is arguable whether more than a handful of riders genuinely in contention for upcoming championships are still actively seeking minimum qualifications.Spain has one of the worst shortages of Covid vaccine in the EU. Deputy head of Madrid’s regional government, Ignacio Aguado, said that his region will stop vaccinating new patients for two weeks to ensure others can receive their second doses. He said that at “the current pace” Spain will be far off its target of vaccinating 70% of the population by the end of summer and is unlikely to reach general immunity until 2023. Tags: show jumping, Spain, Sunshine Tour, Vejer de la Frontera, Covid, Email* Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! More from News:MARS Bromont CCI Announces Requirements For US-Based RidersThe first set of requirements to allow American athletes and support teams to enter Canada for the June 2-6 competition have been released.Canadian Eventer Jessica Phoenix Reaches the 100 CCI4*-S MarkPhoenix achieved the milestone while riding Pavarotti at the inaugural 2021 CCI4*-S at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.Tribunal Satisfied That Kocher Made Prolonged Use of Electric SpursAs well as horse abuse, the US rider is found to have brought the sport into disrepute and committed criminal acts under Swiss law.Washington International Horse Show Returns to TryonTIEC will again provide the venue for the WIHS Oct. 26-31 with a full schedule of hunter, jumper and equitation classes. SIGN UP Horse Sport Enews We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding.