Three Kings parades: What are the Covid restrictions across Spain?

In a bid to prevent any further Covid infections, Spain’s towns and cities have introduced Covid measures for their Three Kings parades (La Cabalgata de Reyes) that will be held across the country on Wednesday January 5th. 

Three Kings parades: What are the Covid restrictions across Spain?
Many city authorities have decided that this year the Three Kings shouldn't throw sweets from the floats to children as a means of avoiding more Covid-19 infections. Photo: CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP

Huge Three Kings parades or cabalgatas are traditionally held around Spain on January 5th. 

They are enormous spectacles featuring hundreds of actors – most important of all Melchior, Gaspar and Baltasar, the Three Wise Men – who move through town centres on ornately decorated floats as they greet the children and throw sweets to them. 

READ MORE: Why Spain loves the Three Kings more than Santa

Every city and sizable town usually stages a parade which draws huge crowds of families, but this year will be different as the celebration is coinciding with the highest Covid infection figures on record in Spain since the pandemic began.

Here are the Covid restrictions and measures for Three Kings parades in Spain’s biggest cities this year.

Not all cities and towns that are holding cabalgatas are included below as there are too many to name, but the general Covid restrictions being implemented by authorities include capacity limits, pre-booking a place in some cases, choosing wider streets for the parade to avoid crowds, a ban on throwing sweets from the floats and “static” parades rather than the usual mobile parade through the streets.

Madrid: The Spanish capital made 7,000 tickets available for this year’s closed off Three Kings parade, but these sold out in just 12 minutes. That means that only a select few ‘early birds’ will be able to attend Madrid’s cabalgata this year as city authorities try to prevent further Covid infections. As an extra safety measure, no sweets will be thrown to the children from the floats as the tradition marks.

Barcelona: Three Kings Parades in Barcelona and the Catalan region won’t have capacity limits but authorities will require attendees aged 6 and over to wear a face mask, and they are also recommended for children aged 3 to 5. People with Covid-19 symptoms or with a positive result, as well as their close contacts, must not attend. 

Bilbao: The Three Wise Men will not parade through the streets but will greet Bilbao’s children at the Bilbao Arena, although pre-booked tickets are required to attend. 

San Sebastián: The coastal Basque city will host a longer parade to avoid crowds and will distribute sweets in hand to children rather than throw them from the floats. 

Seville: The City Council has changed the route to avoid narrow streets and will opt instead for the parade to take place along wider avenues.

Granada: The cabalgata route will go from being 2km long to 8km to avoid crowds.

Córdoba: The historic city will also expand its cabalgata route.

Huelva: Huelva will not change its usual Three Kings parade plans.

Málaga: Mayor Francisco de la Torre announced on December 28th that the royal parade will not be cancelled but will require “more security measures”.

Valencia: Authorities in the eastern city initially planned a parade with fewer floats but it was finally decided it will be a “static” parade in the city’s bull ring rather than a moving cabalgata through the streets.

Alicante: The Costa Blanca city has kept its mobile parade plans, although it will expand the route to avoid crowds, as well as keeping capacity checks throughout. 

Palma de Mallorca: The cabalgata in the Balearic capital will go ahead as usual but with “extra security measures”.

Tenerife: In Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where the Three Wise Men usually arrive by helicopter at the Heliodoro Rodríguez López football stadium, this tradition will not go ahead this year but there will be a parade through certain neighbourhoods.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Authorities in the Canaries’ biggest city have cancelled their static parade plans and instead the Three Kings will tour five city districts in their floats from 11:30 am to 8:00 pm.

Valladolid: The Castilla y León city will keep its moving parade but choose wider streets for its route.

Salamanca: The university city has extended its route to avoid crowds.

Vigo: The Galician city will hold a static parade from 11am to 8pm. 

A Coruña: Authorities have decided to go ahead with the usual parade but with capacity limits.

Santander: The Cantabrian capital will hold a static parade around its cathedral.

Zaragoza: The Aragonese capital will hold a smaller cabalgata starting at 6pm in a bid to avoid big crowds.

EXPLAINED: The Covid restrictions in your region of Spain this Christmas

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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?