Spain’s Canary Islands approve voluntary use of Covid health pass

The Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands has approved the use of a voluntary Covid pass to enter bars and restaurants.

Bars in Canary Islands can now introduce covid pass
Canary Islands introduces voluntary covid pass. Photo: Ezequiel BECERRA / AFP

The new measure will come into force from December 10th to January 10th, after which the government of the Canary Islands must request permission again to extend it.

Crucially, this new measure is voluntary, meaning that it’s up to individual businesses whether they want to implement the need to show a Covid-19 certificate upon entering the premises or not.

READ ALSO: How to get Spain’s Covid health pass for daily affairs in your region

If establishments do decide to introduce the need to request a certificate however, then you will be required to show one and it will not be up to individuals to decide if they want to show one or not.

The establishments that do request the Covid pass from their clients will have greater benefits in terms of capacity and opening hours, since they will be able to operate without restrictions.

Customers must show a negative Covid test, taken no longer than 48 hours earlier (self-diagnostic tests are not allowed) or an official certificate showing they have received the complete vaccination schedule.

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

According to the judges, the measures approved by the Canarian Executive “are proportionate and reasonable”.

The new measure will be applied uniformly throughout the Canary Islands, but judges stated that “a individualised and detailed assessment for each one of the islands will be carried out, adjusting to the circumstances in each geographical area”.

It will create “healthier environments that are safer and less likely to transmit the virus,” they added.

The courts also highlighted that “the weekly cumulative incidence rate of Covid-19 is between two and four times lower among the vaccinated population” and at the same time “the impact of vaccination is not only observed in the incidence of infection, also in its severity”. 

President of the Canary Islands Ángel Víctor Torres described this resolution as “good news” on his Twitter account. “It is a measure with which sectors such as leisure and restaurants agree”, he said. “Christmas is coming: let’s be prudent and deliver.”

The Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands previously rejected a request to introduce Covid certificates last summer and in May 2021 also rejected the reintroduction of the curfew.

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TRAVEL: What Covid-19 entry requirements does Spain still have?

The pandemic no longer dominates daily life and travel, but do Spanish authorities still have restrictions in place for international travellers arriving during the summer of 2022?

TRAVEL: What Covid-19 entry requirements does Spain still have?

Spain’s tourism industry is in full swing again after two difficult years, with more than 38 million international visitors in the first half of 2022. 

All domestic restrictions have ended (with the exception of mask wearing in hospitals, other health-related centres, care homes and on public transport). 

But how about Covid-19 travel restrictions? Are the tests, form-filling and proof of vaccination that made travel to Spain in 2020 and 2021 more complicated still in place?

EU/Schengen Area countries

Passengers arriving in Spain by air or sea from EU and/or Schengen countries are not required to show proof of their Covid-19 status through a certificate (vaccination, testing or recovery) nor fill in the SpTH health control form that was previously needed.

For travellers who live in EU/Schengen nations, travel to Spain is now practically the same as it was in 2019 before the pandemic began, except that they will be required to wear a mask on the plane or inside the ferry (mask wearing on the latter depends on certain conditions).

Non-EU/Schengen countries

For UK nationals, Americans, Indians, Australians and all other third-country nationals arriving in Spain by air or sea, the pre-existing Covid-19 requirements are technically (more on this further down) still in place.

Therefore, non-EU/Schengen travellers arriving in Spain should be able to prove either that they’re:

  • Fully vaccinated. Your vaccination status must meet the Spanish authorities’ validity period requirements. If more than 270 days have passed since your initial vaccination, you need to show proof of a booster shot.
  • Had a Covid-19 test which came back negative. This should be either a PCR taken within 72 hours prior to departure, or an antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to departure. 
  • Recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months. You can use a medical certificate or recovery record to prove your Covid-19 status on entry to Spain. 

The easiest way to show proof of one of the above is by showing your Covid-19 digital or paper certificate issued by the relevant authority of your country. So far, 48 non-EU countries (and territories) have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate equivalence system, which you can check out here

If the country where you were issued a vaccination, testing or recovery certificate isn’t on the list, then you will have to fill in Spain’s health control form before travel to Spain. 

It’s worth noting that the above requirements do not apply to children under the age of 12.

Is Spain really still asking non-EU travellers to show a Covid-19 certificate?

This really depends on the airport, the airport official and any other number of factors.

It is clear that Covid-19 and the seriousness with which Spain’s Health Ministry and therefore airport border officials treat the pandemic has fallen considerably in recent months.

Many non-EU travellers on Twitter have commented on the fact that they were not asked to show any proof of Covid vaccination, testing or recovery upon arrival in Spain. 

Others who have visited the country during the summer of 2022 have said that they were asked to provide proof of their Covid status.

Therefore, even though for those who go to the trouble of paying for a Covid-19 test which then doesn’t get checked it can seem like a waste of money, it is better to be safe than sorry.

All non-EU travellers should therefore keep in mind that, technically speaking, Spain’s rules still state that arrivals from outside of the EU/Schengen Area by air or sea must have proof of vaccination, testing or recovery, so make sure you carry this with you.