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COVID-19

Q&A: When can I travel to my second home in Spain?

With the summer weather arriving this weekend, people are itching to get to their second homes. But when will it possible?

Q&A: When can I travel to my second home in Spain?
Police patrolling San Sebastian's La Concha beach during lockdown. Photo: AFP

2022 UPDATE: For the latest Covid rules for foreigners with property in Spain, here is an updated version of this article with the latest info

 

*** The information below is not applicable in 2022.

Spain has been on lockdown since March 14th to contain the spread of the coronavirus and the borders were closed later that month.

Strict restrictions have been in place to limit movement into the country with only Spanish citizens, legal residents or frontier workers allowed to enter.

But even travel within the country has been banned with only those who have valid reason to be on the road allowed.

Road blocks have been in place and fines of €1,500 issued to those caught on the road attempting to drive to a second residence.

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Photo: AFP

Now Spain has outlined a roadmap to easing restrictions which involves four phases and which will be rolled out province by province once each one has met the criteria set by health authorities.

Although no specific timeline has been put in place, “the plan for the transition to a new normality” will begin to be rolled out from May 4th and the most optimistic assessment means that some places could arrive in the “new normal” by the end of June.

So what does that mean for those who have holiday homes in Spain?

That depends on whether you live here already or are coming from abroad.

For those who live here already and have a second residence, the  guidelines so far state that if that second residence is in the same province as your primary residence then you should be able to visit it as soon as your province moves into Phase 1.

However, those who have a home in another province will have to wait untilboth the province in which you live, and the one you want to visit have both entered the final stage – Phase 3.

But it is expected that further details on how this might work and when this might occur will be announced closer to the time.

It has not yet been made clear when restrictions will be lifted on public transport between provinces and regions. Currently people must have very good reason to use the services that are running, such as returning to primary residence or because of essential work reasons.

What about if you live outside Spain and want to make plans to visit?

If however you live abroad and hope to make plans to visit your holiday home in Spain, it will be a longer wait.

Currently the borders, both land and air are closed to all except Spanish citizens, those who are legally resident in Spain, frontier workers or those who can prove “exceptional reason” to enter Spain.

Lloyd Millen, the British Consul in Barcelona outlined the current rules in a Facebook video explaining that only those who have their green “tarjeta de residencia” will be allowed to cross into Spain.

Padron certificates and utility bills are not sufficient proof of residence and you could risk being turned away at the border.

Millen confirmed that British Nationals with homes in Spain had been turned away at the border, both land and at the airport, because they didn’t have the proper paperwork to prove residency.

 

He urged those who believe they have “essential reasons for wanting to enter” to appeal to the Spanish authorities at the embassy in the UK or the government delegation in the region they wish to travel to before attempting the journey.

Under the current road map, the earliest we can expect to reach “the new normality” is the end of June, and as yet have no indication of how soon borders will be lifted and international travel into Spain permitted.

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COVID-19

Spain rules out EU’s advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 

Spain’s Health Ministry said Thursday there will be no mandatory vaccination in the country following the European Commission’s advice to Member States to “think about it” and Germany’s announcement that it will make vaccines compulsory in February.

Spain rules out EU's advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 
A Spanish man being vaccinated poses with a custom-made T-shirt showing Spain's chief epidimiologist Fernando Simón striking a 'Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood' pose over the words "What part of keep a two-metre distance don't you understand?' Photo: José Jordan

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday told journalists Covid-19 vaccines will continue to be voluntary in Spain given the “very high awareness of the population” with regard to the benefits of vaccination.

This follows the words of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, urging Member States to “think about mandatory vaccination” as more cases of the Omicron variant are detected across Europe. 

READ ALSO: Is Spain proving facts rather than force can convince the unvaccinated?

“I can understand that countries with low vaccine coverage are contemplating this and that Von der Leyen is considering opening up a debate, but in our country the situation is absolutely different,” Darias said at the press conference following her meeting with Spain’s Interterritorial Health Council.

According to the national health minister,  this was also “the general belief” of regional health leaders of each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities she had just been in discussion with over Christmas Covid measures. 

READ MORE: Spain rules out new restrictions against Omicron variant

Almost 80 percent of Spain’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a figure which is around 10 percent higher if looking at those who are eligible for the vaccine (over 12s). 

It has the highest vaccination rate among Europe’s most populous countries.

Germany announced tough new restrictions on Thursday in a bid to contain its fourth wave of Covid-19 aimed largely at the country’s unvaccinated people, with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which the German parliament is due to vote on soon.

Austria has also already said it will make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory next February, Belgium is also considering it and Greece on Tuesday said it will make vaccination obligatory for those over 60.

But for Spain, strict Covid-19 vaccination rules have never been on the table, having said from the start that getting the Covid-19 jabs was voluntary. 

There’s also a huge legal implication to imposing such a rule which Spanish courts are unlikely to look on favourably. 

Stricter Covid restrictions and the country’s two states of alarm, the first resulting in a full national lockdown from March to May 2020, have both been deemed unconstitutional by Spain’s Constitutional Court. 

READ ALSO: Could Spain lock down its unvaccinated or make Covid vaccines compulsory?

The Covid-19 health pass to access indoor public spaces was also until recently consistently rejected by regional high courts for breaching fundamental rights, although judges have changed their stance favouring this Covid certificate over old Covid-19 restrictions that affect the whole population.

MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?

“In Spain what we have to do is to continue vaccinating as we have done until now” Darias added. 

“Spaniards understand that vaccines are not only a right, they are an obligation because we protect others with them”.

What Spanish health authorities are still considering is whether to vaccinate their 5 to 11 year olds after the go-ahead from the European Medicines Agency, with regions such as Madrid claiming they will start vaccinating their young children in December despite there being no official confirmation from Spain’s Vaccine Committee yet.

READ MORE: Will Spain soon vaccinate its children under 12?

Spain’s infection rate continues to rise day by day, jumping 17 points up to 234 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday. There are now also five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the country, one through community transmission.

Hospital bed occupancy with Covid patients has also risen slightly nationwide to 3.3 percent, as has ICU Covid occupancy which now stands at 8.4 percent, but the Spanish government insists these figures are “almost three times lower” than during previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic.

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