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CHRISTMAS

UPDATE: Spain’s current coronavirus restrictions in each region

The festive season in Spain will be marked by travel restrictions, curfews and limits on the number of people allowed to celebrate together but these will differ from region to region and are also subject to change if infection rates rise.

UPDATE: Spain's current coronavirus restrictions in each region
Photos: AFP

Spain’s government had agreed a general plan with the Inter-Territorial Council of the National Healthcare System on December 2 as part of the State of Alarm measures but on December 16held another meeting and agreed that the regions be allowed to impose stricter measures if they see fit.

The Health Ministry has published an interactive map that allows you to check the restrictions currently in place in each of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions.

 

So here’s what we know so far:

The Health Ministry plan restricts travel between regions over the entire holiday period between December 23 and January 6 although it allows exceptions for visiting family and closest friends (described as allegados, a term that has proved controversial).

It extends the limit on gatherings from six to ten people on  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well as New Year's Eve and New Year's Day  and will also delay curfew until 1.30am on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

The 10-person limit includes children, and the official recommendation is for people to limit the number of households celebrating together to reduce risks.

All sporting events, such as the traditional race of San Silvestre, a run which takes place on New Year's Eve in cities across Spain,  are cancelled and so too are events which draw crowds such as New Year’s Eve celebration in public squares (campanada) and the Three King  parades (cabagatas)

For more details on the Health Ministry plan READ HERE:

Within these guidelines, regional authorities have adopted their own measures so here’s a look at each one:

Andalusia

Spain’s southern region of Andalusia will on December 18 lift restrictions that have been in place since November and allow people to once again travel between its eight provinces.

However the ban on travel to and from other regions will remain in place until at least January 10  except between December 23 and January 6 when it will allow people to enter for the purposes of visiting family – but it has not included the term allegados (close friends).

A curfew is in place between 11pm and 6am except on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve when it is delayed until 1.30am.

Social gatherings are limited to six people except on December 24th, 25th, 31st and January 1st and 6th when ten are allowed.

From December 18 restaurants across the entire region will be allowed to open from the morning until 6pm and from 8pm until 10.30 pm.

The number of people allowed in shops, restaurants, on public transport and at religious events will depend on the level of alert of each municipality.

Full details can be found at the interactive map published by the regional government HERE:

Aragon

The regional border will remain closed except between the dates of December 23 and 26 and December 30 and January 2 when an exception will be made for those travelling to meet family only – Aragon has also chosen not to include the term allegados.

Travel between the three provinces of Aragon – Teruel, Huesca and Zaragoza – is also not allowed except between the above dates and for family visits only.

A declaration form must be filled out for all trips across provincial and regional borders in Aragon which can be found HERE.

Curfew run betweens 11pm until 6am except on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve when it is delayed until 1.30am.

Social gatherings are limited to six people except on December 24th, 25th, 31st and January 1st when ten are allowed in private homes.

At present bars and restaurants have limited capacity and must close at 8pm but will be allowed to open until 10pm on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.

Asturias

Travel in and out of the territory is banned except between December 23 and January 1 when an exception is made for those visiting family and close friends. (Asturias has chosen to allow allegados).

On December 24th, 25th, 31st, January 1st and January 6 social gatherings of ten people are allowed as long as they represent no more than two households but at all other times meetings must be capped at six people.

Visitors from outside the region aged between 18 and 30 must take a PCR test if they will be visiting households where over-65s or at-risk people will also be staying.

Balearic Islands

There is no travel ban on entering or leaving the islands but each island has different rules in place depending on its risk level.

But those arriving from outside the islands must present a negative PCR test or agree to isolate until an antigen test taken on arrivall comes back negative.

Mallorca currently is at level four which means a maximum of six people at social gatherings from only two households and this currently includes all dates over Christmas and New year, though it may be reviewed.

In Mallorca the curfew runs from 10pm until 6am while elsewhere on the islands it’s in place from midnight while the inside of bars and restaurants are required to close at 10pm except on Fridays and Saturdays on Christmas Eve, New Year’s eve when they will close at 6pm.

The other islands – Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera – the curfew starts at midnight and ends at 6am except on Christmas and New Year’s Eve when it is delayed until 1.30am.

Social gatherings are capped across the islands to six people inside (except Formentera which allows ten) but on all those except Mallorca, the limit increases to ten people on December 24th, 25th, 31st and January 1st and 6 in line with state rules.

 

 Canary Islands

The government of the Canary Islands have decided to ban non-essential travel to the island of Tenerife from Friday December 18th after a recent surge in infections.

For a period of two weeks, travel between municipalities on the island should be avoided, social gatherings would be limited to four people except on December 24, 25, 31 and January 1 and 6 when a limit of six is in place from a maximum of two households.The curfew would be brought forward to 10pm.

Tourists however, both from mainland Spain and abroad, are exempt from the travel ban provided they have accommodation booked and can show a negative Covid-19 test that was taken within 72 hours prior to arrival. 

Across all the Canary Islands apart from Tenerife, a curfew will be in place between December 23 and January 6 from 1am to 6am with the exception of Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, when the limitation will start at the 1.30am.

All  foreign visitors to the islands will need to provide a PCR or TMA test (also known as a LAMP test), while an antigen test is valid for travelers coming from Spain.

Cantabria

The region has been closed since November 4th and will remain so over the Christmas period but it will allow make an exception for visits to family and close friends between December 23 and January 6 in accordance with Spain’s Health Ministry guidelines.

It will also extend the limit on the number of people allowed to meet from six to ten on both Christmas and New Year’s Eve as well as Christmas Day and and New Year’s Day.

A curfew is in place from 10pm until 6am except on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve when it is delayed until 1.30am.

Castilla y Leon

The region will remain closed until at least January 10 with exceptions for travel to visit family (not close friends) between December 23 and December 26, December 30 and January 2 and January 5 to January 6.

A curfew is in place from 10pm until 6am except on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve when it is delayed until 1.30am

It will also extend the limit on the number of people allowed to meet from six to ten on the dates of December 24, 25, 31 and January 1 but recommends that groups are limited to a maximum of two households.

Castilla-La Mancha

Regional borders will remain closed over the Christmas period but it will allow make an exception for visits to family and friends between December 23 and January 6 in accordance with Spain’s Health Ministry guidelines.

It will also extend the limit on the number of people allowed to meet from six to ten on the dates of December 24, 25, 31 and January 1 but recommends that groups are limited to those within the same household or a maximum of two.

 A curfew is in place from midnight until 6am except on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and January 5 when it is delayed until 1.30am

Catalonia

 

 

Regional borders will remain closed over the Christmas period but it makes an exception for visits to family and close friends between December 23 and January 6 in accordance with Spain’s Health Ministry guidelines.

In addition Catalonia extended a ban on travelling between comarcas (counties) from December 21 until January 11, although it makes exceptions for visits to family and close friends (allegados) or to stay in a second residence or hotel.

Anyone travelling between comarcas or across regional borders must fill in a declaration form which can be downloaded HERE

A curfew across the whole region at all times between 10pm and 6am but will be delayed to 1am on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Social gatherings are restricted to six people but this will be extended to ten people on the important dates over Christmas holidays but limited to two households.

Restaurants and bars will only be allowed to open for limited hours over breakfast and lunch and must remain closed (except for take-away service) in the evenings.

Valencia

Valencia announced that it will seal off its borders completely over the Christmas and New Year period and not make an exemption for those wanting to visit family and friends contrary to guidelines issued by Spain’s Health Ministry.

Regional premier Ximo Puig at a news conference on Thursday evening said that until January 15, the only people allowed into the region will be those returning to their primary place of residence or because of justified reasons that include work or study.

The region has also capped social gatherings to six people from two households on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, instead of extending it to ten, as allowed under the state guidelines.

The curfew will be delayed only until midnight on December 24 and 31 but kept at 11pm on all other days.

Madrid

 

Regional authorities in Madrid announced that it will not extend the limit allowed for social gatherings to ten people on those important Christmas dates but that groups must remain capped at six and with a maximum of two households.

The region will close its perimeter only between December 23 and January 6 but will make an exception for people to come and go if visiting family or close friends (allegados).

A justification form needs to be filled out by all travellers and can be downloaded HERE.

The curfew will be delayed from midnight to 1.30 on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Galicia

The region has no perimeter confinement around the region but it will do so following national guidelines between December 23 and January 6 except for those visiting family.

Visitors who arrive from places deemed high risk which includes Madrid, Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha, the Balearic Islands, Valencia and Extremadura as well as abroad must register their arrival in Galicia with health authorities within 24 hours. The form to do that can be downloaded HERE. 

Social gatherings are limited to six even on the important holidays although children under ten are not included in this number. But the recommendation is that celebrations should just include one family unit although they can add one other if, for example, that person was elderly and lived alone.

The curfew is in place between 11pm until 6am except on Christmas Eve when it is delayed until 1.30 am. No decision has yet been taken to delay curfew on New Year’s Eve.

Other restrictions are in place in various municipalities across the region which are under perimetral confinement except between midnight on December 23 and 11pm on December 25th to allow people to visit close family.  For full info look at the interactive map below:

Extremadura

The region is one of the few in Spain which has not imposed a perimeter confinement around the region but it will close its regional borders following national guidelines between December 23 and January 6 except for those visiting family (but not close friends).

Social gatherings are limited to six in both private homes and restaurants except on December 24 and December 31 when ten are allowed from the same family. (friends are not permitted).

The curfew will be delayed from midnight until 12.30am for those returning home on the nights of  December 24 and  December 31

Murcia

The ban on travel in and out of Murcia will only be lifted between December 23 and 6 for those visiting family but not close friends, after authorities removed that exception following rising infections. 

On the dates of December 24, December 25 and December 31 and January 1 social gathering has been extended from six to ten although with a recommendation that involves a maximum of three family units.

The curfew will be delayed from 11pm until 1.30 on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Bars and restaurants must close between 6pm and 9pm on the dates of December 24, 25, 31 and January 1.

Basque Country

The ban on travel in and out of the Basque Country will only be lifted between December 23 to 26 and December 30 to January 2 for those visiting family and close friends. Those doing so will have to complete the justification form required by regional authorities HERE

Social gatherings are limited to six except on December 24, December 25 and December 31 and January 1 when ten are allowed although from a maximum of two households.

The curfew will be delayed from 10pm until 1.30 on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Navarra

The ban on travel in and out of Navarra will only be lifted between December 23 to 26and December 30 to January 2 for those visiting family and close friends.

Travellers must fill in a form if crossing regional borders which can be downloaded HERE

Social gatherings are limited to six except on December 24, December 25 and December 31 and January 1 when ten are allowed although from a maximum of two households.

The curfew will be delayed from 11pm until 1.30 on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

La Rioja

The ban on travel in and out of La Rioja will only be lifted between December 23 to 26 and December 30 to January 2 for those visiting family and close friends.

Travellers must fill in a declaration form to justify the visit which can be downloaded HERE.

Between those same dates restaurants and bars must close by 8pm except for take-away service.

Social gatherings are limited to six except on December 24, December 25 and December 31 and January 1 when ten are allowed although from a maximum of two households.

The curfew will be delayed from 11pm until 1.30 on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

READ MORE: 

 

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TRAVEL NEWS

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

Britons, Americans and other non-EU/Schengen travellers who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered from Covid-19 will not be able to visit Spain for tourism for at least another month, Spanish authorities have confirmed.

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

The Spanish government has again extended temporary restrictions for non-essential travel (including tourism) from most third countries for another month, until June 15th 2022.

That means that non-EU/Schengen adults who reside outside of the EU and who haven’t been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or recovered from the illness in the past six months cannot go on holiday to Spain during the next month. 

Therefore, Spain continues to not accept negative Covid-19 tests from British, American, Canadian, Indian or other third-country nationals who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered. 

There had been hopes that the shorter two-week extension to the ban on non-essential travel issued on April 30th, as well as talk of the “orderly and progressive reopening” of the country’s borders, would mean that unvaccinated third country nationals would be allowed into Spain in May.

But in the end, Saturday May 14th’s state bulletin confirmed that Spain will keep the same measures in place for another 31 days, stating that they “will eventually be modified to respond to a change of circumstances or to new recommendations in the context of the European Union”.

Spain’s ban on unvaccinated non-EU travellers is arguably the last major Covid-19 restriction in place in the country, and other EU countries such as Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Ireland are allowing unvaccinated tourists in.

This latest announcement by the Spanish government marks the umpteenth extension to non-essential travel from outside of the EU/Schengen area over the past two years of the pandemic, the previous one was due to expire on May 15th. 

But perhaps this extension is the most surprising, as the Spanish health ministry has modified its rulebook to treat Covid-19 like the flu and the country wants to recover the tourism numbers it had pre-pandemic.

The ban affects unvaccinated British tourists in particular, as the UK is still the biggest tourism market for Spain, but Britons’ non-EU status means they have to follow the same Covid-19 travel rules as other third-country nationals.

Vaccinated or recovered third-country travellers

Those who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 more than two weeks prior to travel to Spain will need to show a valid vaccination certificate with an EMA or WHO approved vaccine.

If their initial vaccination treatment was completed more than 9 months ago (270 days), they’ll need to show they’ve had a Covid-19 booster shot. 

As for non-EU/Schengen travellers who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, they will need to show a recovery certificate to prove this

According to Spain’s Health Ministry, recovery certificates accepted as valid are those “issued at least 11 days after the first positive NAAT or RAT, and up to a maximum of 180 days after the date of sampling”, as well as being issued by the relevant authorities.

Exceptions

In early February, Spanish authorities also decided to start allowing unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen teenagers aged 12 to 17 to visit Spain for tourism if they provided a negative PCR.

Spain continues to have a small list of low-risk third countries whose travellers visiting Spain for non-essential reasons can enter without having to present proof of Covid-19 testing, recovery or vaccination. 

This is updated weekly and can be checked here by clicking on the PDF under “risk and high risk countries/areas”. 

READ ALSO: Can I travel to my second home in Spain if I’m not vaccinated?

If you’re not vaccinated or recovered, the exceptions for travel to Spain from third countries that fall under the non-essential travel restrictions are:

  • You are a resident in the EU or Schengen country.
  • You have a visa for a long duration stay in an EU or Schengen country.
  • You work in transport, such as airline staff or are in a maritime profession.
  • You work in diplomatic, consular, international organisations, military or civil protection or are a member of a humanitarian organisation.
  • You have a student visa for a country in the EU or Schengen zone.
  • You are a highly qualified worker or athlete whose work cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  • You are travelling for duly accredited imperative family reasons.
  • You are allowed entry due to force majeure or on humanitarian grounds.
  • And as mentioned earlier in the article, if you have a vaccination certificate that Spain’s Ministry of Health recognises, as well as for any accompanying minors (unless they’re under 12 years of age).

READ ALSO: When do I need to fill out Spain’s Covid health control form for travel?

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