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COVID-19 RULES

REMINDER: The Covid restrictions in your region of Spain in February

Covid-19 infection rates remain high in Spain but have been declining over the past month. This means that most regions in Spain are relaxing restrictions. Here are the Covid rules in your part of Spain. 

A waiter checks Covid pass at a bar in Spain
Covid pass Spain. Photo: ANDER GILLENEA / AFP

Spain is now finally coming out of the sixth wave of Covid-19, which was largely caused by the Omicron variant. 

Covid-19 infection rates have been in steady decline over the month causing many regions to loosen restrictions and scrap the use of the Covid health passes to enter establishments. 

Like it’s been for much of the pandemic, each region is in charge of its own restrictions, so closures, curfews, capacity limits, closing times, and the Covid health pass requirements will depend on where you are in Spain. 

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

Andalusia

Bars and restaurants: There are currently no limits on capacity or opening hours.

Nightlife: There are no restrictions on capacity or closing times.

Covid health pass: It is currently required for hotels, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, cafés, hospitals and care homes. Under 12s are exempt. 

Aragón

Bars and restaurants: There are no limits on capacity or opening hours. Hospitality venues are allowed to stay open until the time that their licence states. Consuming at the bar is allowed. 

Nightlife: There are no limits on capacity or opening hours. Nightlife venues are allowed to stay open until the time that their licence states. Consuming at the bar is allowed. 

Covid health pass: As of February 4th, the Covid pass is only required to visit hospitals and care homes. 

Asturias

The Asturian Government has decided to increase the capacity in open facilities to 85 percent and to 75 percent in closed venues for national football games.

Bars and restaurants: There are no limits on capacity or opening hours. 

Nightlife: Nightlife venues reopened on January 28th. Drinking at the bar is allowed, but masks have to be worn on the dance floors. 

Covid health pass: The use Covid certificates were scrapped from January 28th. 

Balearic Islands

Bars and restaurants:  There are currently no time or capacity restrictions for bars, cafés and restaurants on the Mediterranean islands. 

Nightlife: There are also no limits on capacity or opening times for nightlife venues. 

Covid health pass: Until at least February 28th, a Covid certificate will be required in all nightlife venues, restaurants, bars, cafes and other spaces, regardless of capacity. It’s also requested in cinemas, gyms and theatres. The Balearic high court has also endorsed the health document requirement for health workers, or three weekly tests. 

Basque Country

The Basque Government will lift its health emergency status on February 14th, when all current restrictions will end.

Bars and restaurants: Currently hospitality establishments must close by 1am and there is an indoor capacity limit set at 60 percent. 10 are allowed to sit per table. 

Nightlife: Like bars and restaurants, nightlife venues can only open until 1am and have a capacity limit of 60 percent. 

Covid health pass: Covid passes are no longer required in the Basque Country as of February 4th. 

Canary Islands

Bars and restaurants: Authorities in the Atlantic archipelago have a complex system in place where the opening hours and the capacity of hospitality establishments – both indoors and outdoors – is determined by the alert level of each island and whether the owners request the Covid health pass from customers. If they do require it, they can operate with the restrictions a level under which their island finds itself, which means more capacity and longer opening hours. 

Nightlife: The same complex rules apply to nightclubs in the Canaries. As things stand on February 14th, Tenerife and Gran Canaria are at level 4 and all other islands are at level 3.

Covid health pass: The Canarian Government wanted to extend the use of a voluntary COVID passport to allow premises that required it to operate with more capacity, but it has not received judicial endorsement.

Cantabria

Out of the102 municipalities in Cantabria, 64 are at alert level 3, while the remaining 38 are at level 2. In level 3 all the towns with more than 5,000 inhabitants, such as Santander, the capital, where nightlife venues remain closed.

Bars and restaurants: For places in level 1 or 2 tables are limited to 10 people and in level 3 capacity is limited to 75 percent and 6 people per table. They must have CO2 meters installed. 

Nightlife: For those in level 1 and 2, nightclubs can only open if they have CO2 meters. The indoor capacity for nightclubs on level 1 is 75 percent and for those on level 2 is 50 percent. A maximum of 10 per table is set for level 1 and 2 nightclubs. For places in level 3 nightclubs must close.

Covid health pass: The Covid pass is no longer required in Cantabria as of January 19th. 

READ ALSO: Spain’s Cantabria scraps Covid health pass for being ‘ineffective’

Castilla-La Mancha

Bars and restaurants: No capacity restrictions or time limits.

Nightlife: No capacity restrictions or time limits. 

Covid health pass: Castilla-La Mancha’s government has not implemented the requirement of the Covid certificate for daily affairs or any establishment in the region.

Castilla y León

Bars and restaurants: No restrictions on capacity or opening hours. 

Nightlife: No capacity restrictions or time limits. 

Covid health pass: Castilla y Leon’s government is also one of the few regional governments in Spain that have decided it isn’t necessary to require the Covid certificate for daily affairs or any establishments in the region.

Catalonia 

Bars and restaurants: There are no capacity limits inside bars and restaurants and they can stay open until their normal operating hours. 

Nightlife: Nightlife venues reopened on February 11th. Masks are mandatory, but dance floors are open. 

Covid health pass: These are no longer required to enter any venue in Catalonia. 

Extremadura

Bars and restaurants: There is no official capacity limit but Extremaduran authorities do recommend that 80 percent capacity indoors is observed and a maximum of ten people per table and other gatherings. 

Nightlife: The same rules and recommendations that apply to bars and restaurants apply to nightclubs in the western region.

Covid health pass: The health document isn’t required for daily affairs in Extremadura.

Galicia

Bars and restaurants: Hospitality venues can have 100 percent capacity indoors and on terraces, with a maximum of eight people per table indoors and 15 outdoors. They can resume normal closing hours. 

Nightlife: Nightclubs can stay open until 4am on weekdays and 5am on weekends. The number of people allowed per table is the same for bars and restaurants. 

Covid health pass: Until February 27th, it will be required to access restaurants, nightlife venues, bars, cafés after 9pm, hostels, hospitals, gyms, closed sports facilities, indoor swimming pools, care homes and mass events, including those with a capacity of more than 200 people indoors and that sell food or beverages.

Madrid

Bars and restaurants: No time or capacity limits, being served at the bar is allowed but only sitting. Smoking isn’t allowed on terraces unless you can keep a distance from others.

Nightlife:  Madrid’s nightclubs will have normal opening hours and capacity. Dancing is allowed indoors – without consuming alcohol – and outdoors with a mask. Concerts and shows where the crowd is standing are allowed but eating and drinking may only be allowed in authorised areas.

Covid health pass: The health document isn’t required in the Spanish capital.

Murcia

The Murcian authorities have announced that dance floors will reopen from February 14th if the epidemiological situation allows.

Bars and restaurants: Murcia’s bar and restaurant can open up to 100 percent capacity in all risk levels when Covid health passes are requested by the establishments. The capacity limit is set at 75 percent for those that don’t.

Nightlife: Nightlife venues follow the same rules as bars and restaurants. 

Covid health pass: Certificates are voluntary so that establishments can ask for them if they want to can open up to full capacity. 

Navarre

From Tuesday February 15th, there will be no more restrictions on opening times and the use of Covid pass will also be eliminated. 

Bars and restaurants: Currently, establishments must close by 1am and no more than 10 are allowed per table. Smoking on terraces is not allowed unless a distance of 2 metres can be kept.

Nightlife: Venues must also close by 1am. 

Covid health pass: Covid certificates are mandatory to access restaurants with more than 60 diners and nightlife establishments. They are also required in hotels, gyms and care homes. 

La Rioja 

Bars and restaurants: Establishments can resume normal opening hours. 

Nightlife: Nightlife venues can resume normal opening hours. 

Covid health pass: Until Monday February 14th, Covid certificates will be required to access nightlife establishments; restaurants with more than 50 diners; hospitals, care homes and outdoor events with more than 1,000 people when food or drink is consumed. From February 15th onwards, it will only be required for hospitals and care homes. 

Valencia region 

Bars and restaurants: There are no capacity or time limitations for hospitality venues in the region, apart from a maximum of ten people per table.

Nightlife: The same applies to nightclubs in the eastern region, which will have a limit of ten people per table.

Covid health pass: It’s mandatory for now to access leisure and hospitality venues including bars and restaurants, nightclubs, music festivals and events with more than 500 attendees, for hospital and care home visits, cinemas, gyms, etc. 

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COVID-19 ALERT

Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

A resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Europe, this time driven by new, fast-spreading Omicron subvariants, is once again threatening to disrupt people's summer plans.

Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

Several Western European nations have recently recorded their highest daily case numbers in months, due in part to Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

The increase in cases has spurred calls for increased vigilance across a continent that has relaxed most if not all coronavirus restrictions.

The first resurgence came in May in Portugal, where BA.5 propelled a wave that hit almost 30,000 cases a day at the beginning of June. That wave has since started to subside, however.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: German Health Ministry lays out autumn Covid plan

Italy recorded more than 62,700 cases on Tuesday, nearly doubling the number from the previous week, the health ministry said. 

Germany meanwhile reported more than 122,000 cases on Tuesday. 

France recorded over 95,000 cases on Tuesday, its highest daily number since late April, representing a 45-percent increase in just a week.

Austria this Wednesday recorded more than 10,000 for the first time since April.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Cases have also surged in Britain, where there has been a seven-fold increase in Omicron reinfection, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS blamed the rise on the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but also said Covid fell to the sixth most common cause of death in May, accounting for 3.3 percent of all deaths in England and Wales.

BA.5 ‘taking over’

Mircea Sofonea, an epidemiologist at the University of Montpellier, said Covid’s European summer wave could be explained by two factors.

READ ALSO: 11,000 new cases: Will Austria reintroduce restrictions as infection numbers rise?

One is declining immunity, because “the protection conferred by an infection or a vaccine dose decreases in time,” he told AFP.

The other came down to the new subvariants BA.4 and particularly BA.5, which are spreading more quickly because they appear to be both more contagious and better able to escape immunity.

Olivier Schwartz, head of the virus and immunity unit at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said BA.5 was “taking over” because it is 10 percent more contagious than BA.2.

“We are faced with a continuous evolution of the virus, which encounters people who already have antibodies — because they have been previously infected or vaccinated — and then must find a selective advantage to be able to sneak in,” he said.

READ ALSO: Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in France

But are the new subvariants more severe?

“Based on limited data, there is no evidence of BA.4 and BA.5 being associated with increased infection severity compared to the circulating variants BA.1 and BA.2,” the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said last week.

But rising cases can result in increasing hospitalisations and deaths, the ECDC warned.

Could masks be making a comeback over summer? (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Alain Fischer, who coordinates France’s pandemic vaccine strategy, warned that the country’s hospitalisations had begun to rise, which would likely lead to more intensive care admissions and eventually more deaths.

However, in Germany, virologist Klaus Stohr told the ZDF channel that “nothing dramatic will happen in the intensive care units in hospitals”.

Return of the mask? 

The ECDC called on European countries to “remain vigilant” by maintaining testing and surveillance systems.

“It is expected that additional booster doses will be needed for those groups most at risk of severe disease, in anticipation of future waves,” it added.

Faced with rising cases, last week Italy’s government chose to extend a requirement to wear medical grade FFP2 masks on public transport until September 30.

“I want to continue to recommend protecting yourself by getting a second booster shot,” said Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza, who recently tested positive for Covid.

READ ALSO: Spain to offer fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose to ‘entire population’

Fischer said France had “clearly insufficient vaccination rates” and that a second booster shot was needed.

Germany’s government is waiting on expert advice on June 30 to decide whether to reimpose mandatory mask-wearing rules indoors.

The chairman of the World Medical Association, German doctor Frank Ulrich Montgomery, has recommended a “toolbox” against the Covid wave that includes mask-wearing, vaccination and limiting the number of contacts.

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