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COVID-19 RULES

How Spain’s regions are tightening Covid restrictions for New Year’s Eve

Spain is ending 2021 with its highest Covid infection indicators on record, spurring many regions to tighten restrictions specifically for New Year's Eve celebrations. Here's how your plans could be disrupted depending on where you are in the country.

 New Year's Eve in Spain covid
Expect cancelled celebrations and tighter restrictions specifically for New Year's Eve in Spain this December 31st. Photo: Pau Barrena/AFP

The sixth wave of the coronavirus in Spain is growing incessantly as the country prepares to ring in a new year. 

Daily infection records are being set on a daily basis (100,000 new cases reported on Tuesday) and Spain now has the highest national infection rate since the pandemic began, with health experts warning that as many as one in every 50 people could be infected with Covid-19 in the coming days. 

As a result, many Spanish regions have announced extra restrictions for Nochevieja, as New Year’s Eve is called in Spanish.

Regional authorities have already tightened Covid restrictions for Christmas and early January – which can be found here – but the following article covers specifically what the rules will be in each part of Spain on the night of Friday December 31st.

So far Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, Zaragoza, Murcia, Málaga, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Palma de Mallorca have announced they will not be holding or allowing mass celebrations in their city centres over the New Year period. Countless other smaller towns and villages across Spain have also decided they will not hold any gatherings or parties.

Here are the restrictions and cancellations announced by regional authorities for New Year’s Eve in particular:

Andalusia

Before Christmas, the Andalusian government made Covid passports or a negative diagnostic test mandatory for entering hotels, bars, restaurants, other leisure establishments, care homes and hospitals. In Granada, the council have cancelled the New Year’s Eve party in the Plaza del Carmen to avoid contagions. 

Aragón

Aragon has introduced new restrictions: it has brought forward the closure of the hospitality businesses to midnight and nightlife venues must now close at 02:00am . There’s now a maximum table capacity of ten people, and eating standing up – as is popular in Spain – is no longer allowed.

Asturias

In Asturias the interiors of nightlife establishments are closed for a month and other hospitality establishments must close by 01:00am. Like other regions, a COVID passport is now necessary to access residences, bars, restaurants, cultural and sports establishments.

Balearics

The Balearic government plans to deploy police officers on New Year’ Eve to ensure hospitality venues stick to the rules. COVID certificates are mandatory to access restaurants, regardless of their capacity. Health workers must also have the vaccination certificate, or, failing that, undergo three weekly PCRs, and in Menorca restaurants have been closed.

Basque Country

Hospitality businesses must also close from one in the morning in the Basque Country, in line with its neighbouring communities. The measure will reportedly run until January 28, and New Year’s parties are prohibited. COVID passports remain compulsory for entry into most venues.

Canary Islands

The Canary government wants to introduce a curfew for New Year’s Eve from midnight until 6am on the islands with very high infection rates, a decision which is pending court approval. In Gran Canaria and Tenerife capacity at hospitality venues has been capped at 50 percent outdoors and 33 percent indoors, and there are limitations on the number of people who can meet in public or private spaces – six at a maximum. Hospitality venues must close at 02:00, and a curfew for the 31st and 6th may follow.

Cantabria

Cantabria has completely closed nightlife venues for New Year’s Eve and most of January and has limited capacity to 75 percent in hospitality and sports or cultural activities in towns and villages at level 3 incidence level. In municipalities at level 2 and 3, the COVID passport is needed to enter bars, restaurants, hotels, nightlife, cultural events and mass and sporting events.

Castilla-La Mancha

Castilla la Mancha is yet to impose restrictions over New Year.

Castile y León

Castilla y León is yet to impose restrictions over New Year.

Catalonia

Catalonians have already had a Christmas curfew from 1:00 to 6:00 in municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants or an incidence rate of more than 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and meetings have been limited to ten people both indoors and outdoors. Bar and restaurant capacity will continue over New Year, as in cinemas and theaters, at cultural and sports activities. Nightlife venues have been closed, and eating and drinking at events has been limited.

Valencia region

The COVID passport is already necessary to access leisure and restaurant venues in Valencia, regardless of capacity, and also in recreational spaces and events and celebrations of more than 500 people. It’s also mandatory to enter hospitals and residences, as well as in gyms or cinemas, circuses, sports facilities and venues where food or drink is consumed.

Valencia, Alicante and Elche have already cancelled New Year events.

Extremadura

There are no new New Year specific restrictions in Extremadura.

Galicia

Officially, nightlife venues can stay open until 3:00 in the morning for New Year, although the Galician government is considering the possibility of closing them, and from December 31st to January 18st bars and restaurants must close at midnight every day except Friday and Saturday, which is extended at 1:00 in the morning.

A special curfew is in effect in the community between 3:00 and 6:00. Incredibly, you can only walk on the street alone or with people from the same family unit. Like in many regions of Spain, a COVID certificate is mandatory to enter bars and restaurants, nightlife, hospitals, nursing homes, sports facilities and gyms, and other mass events. In restaurants and bars, tables are limited to a maximum of 8 indoors and a maximum of 10 people per group on terraces.

La Rioja

Bars and restaurants will close from 1:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., and nightlife venues at 2:00 a.m. until January 15, with limits of 10 people per table at restaurants.

Madrid

Madrid is leaving it last minute. Government has already reduced capacity for New Years’ celebrations at Puerta del Sol to 7,000 people, and five other planned events across the region have been cancelled.

The final decision to cancel these mass events will be made and announced sometime on the 29th or 30th.

Murcia

In Murcia, restaurants and nightlife will close at 1am, and diners are limited to 10 people indoors and 12 on terraces. There are also restrictions on dance floors and an overall reduction of capacity to 30 percent.

Navarre

In Navarra hospitality and nightlife establishments will close  between 1:00 and 6:00. Tables are limited to 10 people, and eating and drinking at the bar is banned. 

COVID passports are mandatory to access many bars and clubs, restaurants with a large capacity, and for all kinds of indoor cultural shows, care homes, hotels and gyms.

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COVID-19 RULES

What are Spain’s current rules for asymptomatic and mild Covid cases?

Spain is currently experiencing an eighth Covid wave. For those who test positive during the summer of 2022, here's a reminder of all the rules and recommendations you need to be aware of, concerning asymptomatic, mild and serious cases.

What are Spain's current rules for asymptomatic and mild Covid cases?

No one wants to get Covid, particularly when the summer season is approaching and many have booked their annual holidays.

But if you do find that you test positive for Covid-19, here’s what you need to know about Spain’s current health rules. 

Whatever questions you have, from wanting to know if you still need to get an official test or inform your doctor, to whether you can go outside and if you need to wear a face mask, we’ve got you covered. 

Q: What if I get Covid but don’t have any symptoms?

A: If you are asymptomatic, in other words you test positive for Covid-19 but don’t experience any symptoms, then it’s not necessary to self-isolate and you are not required to quarantine at home.

Spain’s quarantine requirement for asymptomatic cases was dropped as of March 28th 2022.

However, the health body that advises Spain’s Health Ministry recommends that you still stay at home and rest and that if you do go out, you wear a mask indoors and outdoors, and that you keep social contact to a minimum for a week. 

Q: What if I have mild Covid symptoms?

A: If you have mild Covid symptoms, you fall into the same category as those who have no symptoms for Spanish health authorities.

This means that while it’s not mandatory to isolate at home, you should still rest, wear a mask indoors and outdoors and avoid social contact.

The obligatory quarantine for mild cases was also scrapped as of March 28th, 2022.

Q: What if I have severe Covid symptoms?

A: If you have serious Covid symptoms, Spain’s Health Ministry continues to require a quarantine period of seven days, meaning that it’s mandatory.

It is also still required for those classified as part of the high-risk or vulnerable population, which includes those aged 60 or older, immunosuppressed people and pregnant women. 

Q: Am I allowed to go outside if I have Covid?

A: Yes, as mentioned above, if you have mild or asymptomatic symptoms you are allowed to go outside while you have Covid. However, you should limit your contact with others for a week to make sure you’re not putting others at risk. You should aim to stay at home as much as possible until your symptoms disappear.

Keep in mind that you are highly contagious in the first few days of the illness, so you may want to avoid going out during that time.

Q: Can I go to events if I have Covid-19?

A: Yes, you can leave the house if you have Covid-19, but as you’re expected to limit your contact with others, going to a large event with hundreds of people is not recommended. You could unknowingly be putting vulnerable people at risk. Health authorities still recommend that you avoid gatherings for at least a week after a positive test. 

Q: Do I need to wear a mask if I test positive?

A: The Spanish Health Ministry has confirmed that those who have Covid must wear a mask for “ten days from the diagnosis” of the virus.

They should be worn indoors, as well as outdoors, if a distance can’t be maintained from others. Experts recommend using the FFP2 masks during this time because even if your symptoms are mild, you can still be contagious.

READ ALSO: How likely is it that Spain will make face masks mandatory indoors again?

Q: Can I go to work if I have Covid-19?

A: If you have mild or asymptomatic Covid-19, although the recommendation is to work from home or take sick leave, you can still go in.

However, the health authorities recommend that you wear a mask, avoid contact with vulnerable people and avoid enclosed spaces with little ventilation.

Q: Is it necessary to get officially tested?

A: No, it’s not necessary to get a PCR or antigen done at your local health centre or at a private clinic any more. An antigen test bought from a pharmacy and performed at home will suffice.

Only those with serious symptoms and high-risk groups should get tested now. Although you it’s not necessary anymore to confirm your infection with a test, it’s still useful to test yourself at home so you can avoid contact with others if it’s positive and know when you can get back to life as normal.

Q: Do I have to tell my doctor if I have or have recently had Covid?

A: No, it’s not necessary for everyone to call their doctor if they have Covid, because not all cases are being counted by authorities anymore.

You may, however, still need to call your doctor if you need to sick leave from work. Those in Catalonia will be given an automatic five-day sick leave if they have Covid symptoms, even if they don’t take a test.  

If you are over the age of 60, are immunosuppressed or are in a high risk group, it’s still a good idea to tell your doctor if you test positive.

Q: What do I do if I have come into close contact with someone who has Covid-19?

A: If you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, it’s not necessary for you to take a test or to self-isolate.

The health authorities do recommend that you take precautions though, such as limiting social interactions, wearing a mask and avoid vulnerable people.

Remember that the days before you test positive, but after you have been exposed to the virus are when you are the most contagious. 

Q: What if I get Covid while on holiday in Spain?

A: If you have a mild or asymptomatic case of Covid-19 while on holiday in Spain, you don’t have to quarantine and you don’t have to inform the local health authorities, unless you are in a vulnerable category.

Like above, Spain’s Health Ministry only recommends that you stay at home and rest, that if you do have to go out you wear a mask indoors and outdoors, and that you keep social contact to a minimum for a week.

Different countries have different rules so you may not be able to travel home if you have Covid and may have to wait until you test negative.

READ MORE: What tourists should do if they get Covid while on holiday in Spain? 

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