Spain’s Andalusia and Valencia regions set to extend Covid health pass rule for daily affairs

Valencian authorities on Thursday announced they will extend the requirement of the Covid health pass to access indoor public spaces for another month, while the Andalusian government have requested local judges keep the measure as well, bucking the trend of other Spanish regions that are scrapping the rule. 

Covid health pass Spain

Residents and tourists staying in Alicante or other parts of the Costa Blanca or the Valencia region will have to continue showing a Covid certificate for domestic matters until February 28th.

That means that people in the region of 5 million inhabitants will need to show a Covid certificate with a QR Code that shows Covid vaccination, testing or recovery in order to gain access to the inside of bars, restaurants, nightclubs, celebrations, large events, hospitals and care homes. 

Valencian regional president Ximo Puig announced on Thursday that his government had received judicial approval to keep the measure in place, arguing that it does help to prevent Covid infections in indoor spaces. 

Whether the Covid health pass is effective in preventing the spread of the Omicron variant has been called into question by health experts. Authorities first in Cantabria and on Wednesday in Catalonia have decided to scrap the measure after studies found it to be ineffective in reducing case numbers. 

The other Spanish regions that implemented the Covid passport rule now have to consider whether to request an extension or not. The government of the Balearics Islands – which includes Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera – announced last Friday that they had received court approval to keep requesting the Covid health pass to enter hospitality venues for an extra week until Friday January 28th.

READ ALSO: Is the Covid health pass helping to reduce infections in Spain?

What the Covid health pass may have helped to achieve in the Valencian Community is the vaccination of 132,000 people with their first vaccine dose, a spike that’s occurred since the health pass rule was implemented.  

In the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, authorities have also requested their regional high court extend the Covid health pass rule for daily affairs for another 15 days until mid-February (*UPDATE: On Saturday January 29th approved this extension until February 15th). 

If approved, providing the Covid-19 vaccination certificate or a negative test – PCR within 72 hours or antigen within 48 hours– will continue to be required for entry into hospitality and nightlife establishments as well as for visits to hospitals and nursing homes in Andalusia.

Around 90 percent of the region’s population over the age of five has been fully vaccinated, so an extension would potentially affect one in ten people in the region of 8.4 million inhabitants.

Andalusia and the Valencia region already received approval from local judges to extend the Covid health pass measure on another occasion earlier in January.

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

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Spain lifts Covid-19 checks at French border

Spanish authorities will no longer request proof of Covid-19 vaccination, testing or recovery from people who enter Spain by land from France.

Spain lifts Covid-19 checks at French border

The news was announced in Spain’s official BOE state bulletin on Wednesday, and will come into effect the following day, on Thursday May 19th 2022.

For the past 26 months, Spanish legislation has allowed border officials to be able to require a Covid health pass from anyone over the age of 12 entering Spain from France by car, train or on foot. 

In reality, Spain’s borders with France haven’t always been manned and Covid-19 health checks haven’t been a constant throughout the pandemic as in the case of air travel, for which Spain still has Covid-19 restrictions for travellers arriving from France. 

READ ALSO: When will Spain get rid of all its Covid-19 travel restrictions?

At times when infection rates were high, border checks on both sides were tightened, or as happened during the summer of 2021, there were tough health checks to enter France but not to enter Spain.

According to Spain’s Health Ministry, the decision to scrap health checks at Spain’s land border with France has been reached given the high levels of vaccination and immunisation achieved in both countries, which has led to a significant decrease in serious Covid-19 cases and deaths.

However, the French Embassy in Spain states that all unvaccinated arrivals in France, including those arriving by land, still have to be able to show proof of a negative PCR or antigen test before crossing over into France from Spain, with some exceptions for cross-border workers and urgent matters.

According to Spain’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, there are no Covid certificate requirements at the land border between Spain and Portugal