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What are the Covid rules for skiing in Spain this winter?

The winter ski season in Spain is upon us, and with many more people travelling this holiday than last year, people will want to know how the latest Covid rules may impact their winter ski break. Here's everything you need to know.

skiing in Spain
Covid-19 rules for skiing in Spain. Photo: Pexels/Pixabay

The rules for skiing this winter largely depend on which region in Spain you plan on visiting, as each has implemented slightly different measures.

Currently, no ski resorts in Spain require the Digital Covid Certificate in order to gain access to them, but they may require them for certain activities within the ski resorts. 

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

In Catalonia, the regional government requires a Digital Covid Certificate to access the interiors of bars and restaurants in ski resorts. Nightlife venues are currently closed. This will stay in place until at least January 20th.  

As per the Aragonese government rules, the ski stations in the Pyrenees in this region only request the Covid passport to attend celebrations in hotel and restaurant venues and mass events (more than 500 people gather in closed spaces or more than 1,000 in open spaces).

They also require them for après ski nightlife venues. These rules will stay in place until January 8th 2022, but may be extended if the courts grant permission. 

Currently, the Digital Covid Certificate is not necessary to ski in the Sierra Nevada, but it is necessary to access the restaurants and bars there.

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

Capacity restrictions 

Currently, there are no capacity restrictions, beyond what is normal, at any of Spain’s ski resorts. The capacity for chair and ski lifts also remains the same as normal. This is because the distance between the seats already complies with those established by the authorities, due to the space occupied by skis and snowboards.

The use of masks 

Mask rules are the same throughout Spain no matter which resort you’re visiting. Masks are again required outside when a distance between people can’t be maintained and at all times in closed spaces in ski resorts. 

This includes meeting points at ski schools, inside buildings, in public transport, bars and restaurants (when not eating or drinking), in the queue for the ski lifts and at the ski lifts, as well as at the lockers and equipment rental places. 

READ ALSO – KEY POINTS: What are the new Covid travel rules between Spain and the UK?

What if I cross the border into Andorra for skiing?

If you’re planning on heading up to Andorra for winter sports, you’ll find the rules slightly different there. The Government of Andorra has recently tightened its Covid measures and now requires a Covid pass in order to access all the facilities in its ski resorts.

Wearing a mask is also necessary for closed areas of ski resorts including the lifts, but not when actually skiing. Nightlife venues there have been closed and there is a capacity limit in restaurants of 50 percent indoors and 70 percent outdoors until further notice. A maximum of six can sit per table indoors and 10 on terraces.

Which ski resorts are open in Spain?

Baqueira Beret, Catalan Pyrenees
The resort opened on November 27th, 2021. Baqueira is scheduled to stay open until April 18th, 2022, while Beret ski resort is scheduled to close on March 27th.
La Molina – Masella, Catalan Pyrenees
These twin resorts, accessible on a day trip from Barcelona, opened on November 27th and are scheduled to stay open until April 18th, 2022. 
Formigal – Panticosa, Aragón
Aragón’s best ski resort opened on December 3rd and is scheduled to close on April 17th, 2022. 
San Isidro and Valle de Laciana-Leitariegos (Castilla y León)
These ski resorts opened on December 1st and if conditions allow, will close on April 17th, 2022.
Sierra Nevada, Andalusia
This beautiful ski resort near Granada opened to skiers on November 24th and is expected to close on April 18th, 2022. 
Grandvalira and Ordino Arcalís, Andorra
The Andorran ski resort of Grandvalira opened on December 3rd and will stay open until April 18th, whereas neighbouring Ordino Arcalís opened on November 27th and will close on April 24th, 2022. 

Travelling to Spain for skiing

All international arrivals by air or sea to Spain, regardless of where they’re from, have to fill in a health control form on the Spain Travel Health app or website before travelling. 

Travellers from EU countries can enter with their EU Digital Covid Certificates which indicate if they have been fully vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19 or have a negative Covid-19 test. 

If you have not been vaccinated, whether you need to take a PCR or antigen test beforehand will depend on where you’re travelling from in the EU. 

Spain’s Health Ministry has a list of high-risk areas in the EU which it updates weekly. You can check the latest update here under “listado de países/zonas de riesgo”.

If your country or region is on the list, then you’ll need to get tested if you haven’t been fully vaccinated. 

Accepted tests include PCR or antigen tests, which have to be carried out within 72 or 48 hours respectively prior to your arrival in Spain.

If you’re travelling from a third country outside the EU, including the UK, you must be fully vaccinated in order to enter Spain (this includes everyone over the age of 12), unless you are travelling from a destination on the list of third countries whose travellers are exempt from the usual requirements (vaccination, testing) due to their favourable epidemiological situation. This does not apply to Spanish citizens and residents of Spain. 

If you’re travelling from a country on the Spanish Health Ministry’s high-risk list, then as well as your vaccination certificate, you will have to present a negative PCR or NAAT test taken within 72 hours prior to travel to Spain.

Those travelling from the UK for skiing in Spain, as of January 7th 2022, will also now not need a pre-departure test to travel back home, but they will still need to book a Day 2 PCR test. 

READ ALSO – KEY POINTS: What are the new Covid travel rules between Spain and the UK?

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Face masks to remain mandatory on public transport in Spain until March 2023

The Spanish government's health experts have agreed not to review face mask usage on public transport until March 2023, a new report has found, by which stage almost a whole year will have passed since other face mask rules were lifted.

Face masks to remain mandatory on public transport in Spain until March 2023

Although masks haven’t been mandatory in indoor public settings (except hospitals, pharmacies, care homes and other health-related centres) since April 20th 2022, face coverings must still be worn on public transport in Spain, such as on buses, planes, taxis, metro carriages and trains.

According to a report published in Spanish news site Voz Populi, Spain’s Emergency Unit has agreed not to review Spain’s face mask rules until March 2023, even though all other Covid-19 domestic and travel restrictions were lifted before the summer of 2022.

The article, which cites internal sources from Spain’s government, adds that the country’s Public Health Commission (a body which advises Spain’s Health Ministry on which measures to introduce) has reportedly agreed to shelve any possible changes until March, and as things stand keep the rule in place “for an indefinite time” as “it is not the right time to remove masks due to the arrival of winter”.

The Health Ministry, however, argues that no fixed date for reviewing face mask legislation has been set.

“We’re taking the German approach,” the Emergency Unit source told Voz Populi about the fact that Germany is the only other country in Europe with similar mask-wearing rules to Spain.

On October 1st, new measures were brought into force in Germany stating that passengers over the age of 14 must wear FFP2 masks on long-distance trains rather than surgical ones, with the German government saying it will not review the legislation until April 2023.

Fernando Simón, Spain’s Health Emergencies chief, told journalists recently that “it’s okay to wait a little bit to see how the disease evolves” before making a decision regarding the complete removal of face masks.

However, if Spanish health experts are indeed looking to follow in the footsteps of Germany, there is even a possibility that the return of face masks to all indoor public settings this winter could happen, or at least a debate about it. 

An increase in Covid and flu cases that’s overburdened hospitals this autumn, as well as the emergence of the new Omicron subvariant BQ.1, has resulted in German authorities considering whether they should bring back old Covid-19 restrictions for the winter months.

Spain is also starting to see an increase in Covid and flu infections, and talk of an eighth coronavirus wave is rumbling in the background, but there has been no mention yet by Health Ministry representatives of a possible return to indoor face mask wearing across the board.