Coronavirus lockdown: What to do if you are on holiday in Spain

Coronavirus lockdown: What to do if you are on holiday in Spain
A police car patrolling empty streets in Madrid. All photos: AFP
What does Spain's lockdown mean for holidaymakers or visitors trying to return to their home country?

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The UK’s Foreign Office (FCO) has updated its Travel Advice to warn against all but essential travel to Spain, following the restrictions put in place by the Spanish government in response to the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19).

But what about all those currently on holiday in Spain and trying to return to their home countries?

UPDATE: Message from British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott on Thursday March 19th:

 

When the Spanish government introduced its state of emergency on Saturday, March 14th, it imposed tight restrictions on movement, allowing only very specific reasons to leave the house such as going to the store or pharmacy to buy essential supplies, going to work or travelling home. 

Everyone in Spain has been told to stay inside their homes and there will be checkpoints manned by all branches of Spain's security forces to enforce the orders. 

Members of the public who disobey confinement rules could faces fines starting at €100 for minor infractions or up to a year in prison should they “resist or seriously disobey the authorities or officers when they are carrying out their functions.”

But what about those confined to hotels? Will they be able to get to the airport and fly home?

Here’s what we know so far, but it is a fast changing situation so the best advice is to check regularly with FCO updates (If you are British) or your nation’s foreign office or embassy pages.

Also check on updates published by official sources such as the regional government where you are currently staying.

And of course keep in close contact with your hotel or accommodation provider, your airline/ferry company or holiday group.

Can I leave the hotel?

You should stay in your room and follow the advice given by your hotel as it is likely that  they will have reduced services and may be planning on closing shortly.

All restaurants and bars are closed, so too are beaches and parks so there really isn't anywhere to go unless you need to go out to buy food or supplies from the pharmacies.

Restaurants are still allowed to offer take-away and delivery options so ask at your hotel reception on how to use them.  

Can I catch my flight home?

Some airlines including Jet2 AND Easyjet have already announced cutting services from Spain but have also pledged to help travellers get home to their return countries.

 

They should be informing travellers of the next step but keep an eye for alerts on your airline’s website.

How will I get to the airport?

If you have a hire car, you should be allowed to drive it the airport because that falls under the “returning to your habitual residence” exception outline in the state of emergency decree announced on Saturday.

Public transport is also still functioning although with a reduced service so check when and if trains/buses are running and allow yourself plenty of time to get to the airport.

Several readers have got in touch to ask whether they will be allowed to drive other people to the airport, such as house guests or friends and relatives who are due to return to the UK.

This hasn’t been specifically answered by authorities but they have said that only those with valid reason can take to the roads and have ruled out people taking passengers even if the passengers and not the driver themselves have a valid reason (for example, you cannot take your partner to work).

So, until we get further clarification, don’t risk it.

However, taxis and other VTC services such as Uber and Cabify are still allowed to operate, although you must inform them if you have symptoms of the virus.

I’m booked on a ferry from Santander/Bilbao to the UK. Will it still be running and will I be allowed to drive there?


The Pont-Aven ferry was travelling to Santander from Plymouth. Photo: Brittany Ferries.

Again, being on the road to return to your habitual residence is one of the reasons allowed to leave your house. And the fuel stations will be operating but check with your ferry company that the boat is still scheduled to leave and that there are no restrictions.

Obey the rules!

Remember, everyone in Spain, regardless of whether you are a resident or visitor must conform to the lockdown and not leave their house unless it for a valid reason, which you can read more about HERE.

READ MORE: 

British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, recorded a video message for UK nationals explaining the implications of the state of emergency for both residents and tourists. He also thanked the Spanish authorities saying: “A big thank you to the Spanish authorities, in particular the healthcare professionals, for all the great work they are doing to help keep everyone in Spain – of all nationalities – safe, in circumstances that are very challenging indeed.”

READ ALSO:  Spain's number of coronavirus deaths and infected cases soar in 24 hours

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