Spanish sports grounds to return to full capacity as Covid restrictions lifted

Spanish sports grounds will be able to return to 100 percent capacity for the first time since the pandemic next month, health chiefs said Wednesday.

capacity stadiums spain
Despite Spain's outdoor face masks being relaxed, fans will still have to wear them at all time in sports grounds. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“From the weekend of March 4, sporting events, both outdoors and indoors, will see their capacities raised to 100 percent, given the satisfactory evolution of all the epidemiological indicators,” said health minister Carolina Darias.

However, she warned that wearing masks will remain compulsory and that it will still be forbidden to smoke, drink or eat during sporting events.

Spain’s outdoor face mask rule was lifted last week, with some exceptions. 

READ MORE: When do you still have to wear a mask outdoors in Spain?

At the end of December, Spanish authorities reduced crowd limits to 75 percent and 50 percent indoors to combat rising cases of Covid-19.

There have been more than 10 million cases of the virus recorded in Spain with 97,000 deaths.

Levels have dropped to 1,060 cases per 100,000 people over the last 14 days against 3,418 on January 21.

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Spain eases Covid entry for unvaccinated tourists

Spain on Saturday eased Covid entry rules for unvaccinated tourists from outside the European Union, in a boost for the key tourism sector ahead of the peak summer holidays.

Spain eases Covid entry for unvaccinated tourists

Until now travellers from outside the bloc — including Spain’s main tourism market Britain — could only enter with proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19.

But as of Saturday visitors from outside of the EU will also be allowed to enter Spain with a negative Covid test result, the transport ministry said in a statement.

PCR tests must be carried out in the 72 hours prior to departure to Spain or an antigen test 24 hours prior to departure.

Tourism Minister Maria Reyes Maroto said the “new phase of the pandemic” meant the country was able to relax the rules by equating non-EU travellers with those of the bloc.

“This is excellent news, much awaited by the tourism sector, which will make it easier for tourists outside of Europe to visit us during the high season,” she added in the statement.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from submitting any type of certificate.

With sunny beaches and a rich architectural heritage, Spain was the world’s second most visited country before the pandemic, with 83.5 million foreign visitors in 2019.

But international travel restrictions related to the pandemic brought Spain’s tourism sector to its knees in 2020 as it welcomed just 19 million tourists.

The figure rose to 31.1 million in 2021, far below the government forecast of 45 million arrivals.

READ ALSO: Spain lifts Covid-19 checks at French border