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COVID-19 RULES

REMINDER: What are Spain’s mask rules for travel?

Do you still need to wear a mask on airplanes, trains and buses in Spain? And what about at airports, stations or on ferries? Here's what you need to know about when and where you need to wear a mask when it comes to travelling.

masks on the metro in Barcelona
Masks are still required on public transport in Spain. Photo: PAU BARRENA / AFP

On Wednesday April 20th 2022, the Spanish government officially dropped the requirement to wear masks indoors.

There a still a few places you need to wear them, but for the most part, it’s now up to citizens to decide whether they should wear a face mask or not in indoor public spaces.

READ ALSO: Where do you still need to wear a mask indoors in Spain? 

But what are the particular rules when it comes to travel? Do you still have to wear masks at Spanish airports and train stations and what about inside Uber or Cabify vehicles? Let’s take a look at exactly when masks are required when travelling and when they’re not.

The transport rules cover all modes of public transport including trains, metros, buses, planes, boats, ferries, trams, funiculars and cable cars, but let’s take focus on some of the most common ones. 

On May 11th, the EU recommended that Member States drop the mask rules for airports and airplanes from May 16th, but Spain has ruled out amending its regulations for now, and the mask rules for travel in the country are as follows:

Airports and planes

Masks are no longer required inside the airport terminals in Spain, such as when passing through security or passport control. However, once you leave the airport and board the plane itself, you must put your mask on and wear it for the duration of the flight, unless told otherwise by airline staff. 

The same rules apply to passengers and airport workers.

Stations and trains

Similarly, masks will not be required when entering train or metro stations or while waiting on the platform.

Once the train or metro arrives, you will be required to wear your mask to board and for the duration of the journey, before you can remove it again. The Official State Gazette (BOE) is very clear and states “It has been considered that the obligation to wear a mask should not be maintained for platforms and stations”.

Ports and ferries

In the case of boats and ferries, masks will not be required anywhere onboard, unless a safety distance of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained (except when you’re travelling alongside those you live with). It’s no longer necessary to wear a mask inside ports. 

Taxis

In this case, taxis are also considered to be public transport and therefore it’s mandatory for both the driver and the passenger to wear masks.

The same rule applies to ride services such as Uber and Cabify –  both parties must wear a mask while inside the vehicle at all times.

Private cars

Masks are no longer required in private vehicles when you’re travelling with others who you don’t live with. This means that there are now no more mask rules regarding your own private transportation.

But what about car sharing such as Blablacar or urban car rentals like Zity and Car2go? Masks will also no longer required on these methods of transport, whether travelling with those you live with or not. 

READ ALSO: Why you now need to book a rental car in advance in Spain

Are there still fines in place for not wearing a mask on public transport?

Yes, the fine for not wearing your mask on public transport continues to be the same at €100.

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TRAVEL NEWS

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

Britons, Americans and other non-EU/Schengen travellers who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered from Covid-19 will not be able to visit Spain for tourism for at least another month, Spanish authorities have confirmed.

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

The Spanish government has again extended temporary restrictions for non-essential travel (including tourism) from most third countries for another month, until June 15th 2022.

That means that non-EU/Schengen adults who reside outside of the EU and who haven’t been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or recovered from the illness in the past six months cannot go on holiday to Spain during the next month. 

Therefore, Spain continues to not accept negative Covid-19 tests from British, American, Canadian, Indian or other third-country nationals who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered. 

There had been hopes that the shorter two-week extension to the ban on non-essential travel issued on April 30th, as well as talk of the “orderly and progressive reopening” of the country’s borders, would mean that unvaccinated third country nationals would be allowed into Spain in May.

But in the end, Saturday May 14th’s state bulletin confirmed that Spain will keep the same measures in place for another 31 days, stating that they “will eventually be modified to respond to a change of circumstances or to new recommendations in the context of the European Union”.

Spain’s ban on unvaccinated non-EU travellers is arguably the last major Covid-19 restriction in place in the country, and other EU countries such as Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Ireland are allowing unvaccinated tourists in.

This latest announcement by the Spanish government marks the umpteenth extension to non-essential travel from outside of the EU/Schengen area over the past two years of the pandemic, the previous one was due to expire on May 15th. 

But perhaps this extension is the most surprising, as the Spanish health ministry has modified its rulebook to treat Covid-19 like the flu and the country wants to recover the tourism numbers it had pre-pandemic.

The ban affects unvaccinated British tourists in particular, as the UK is still the biggest tourism market for Spain, but Britons’ non-EU status means they have to follow the same Covid-19 travel rules as other third-country nationals.

Vaccinated or recovered third-country travellers

Those who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 more than two weeks prior to travel to Spain will need to show a valid vaccination certificate with an EMA or WHO approved vaccine.

If their initial vaccination treatment was completed more than 9 months ago (270 days), they’ll need to show they’ve had a Covid-19 booster shot. 

As for non-EU/Schengen travellers who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, they will need to show a recovery certificate to prove this

According to Spain’s Health Ministry, recovery certificates accepted as valid are those “issued at least 11 days after the first positive NAAT or RAT, and up to a maximum of 180 days after the date of sampling”, as well as being issued by the relevant authorities.

Exceptions

In early February, Spanish authorities also decided to start allowing unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen teenagers aged 12 to 17 to visit Spain for tourism if they provided a negative PCR.

Spain continues to have a small list of low-risk third countries whose travellers visiting Spain for non-essential reasons can enter without having to present proof of Covid-19 testing, recovery or vaccination. 

This is updated weekly and can be checked here by clicking on the PDF under “risk and high risk countries/areas”. 

READ ALSO: Can I travel to my second home in Spain if I’m not vaccinated?

If you’re not vaccinated or recovered, the exceptions for travel to Spain from third countries that fall under the non-essential travel restrictions are:

  • You are a resident in the EU or Schengen country.
  • You have a visa for a long duration stay in an EU or Schengen country.
  • You work in transport, such as airline staff or are in a maritime profession.
  • You work in diplomatic, consular, international organisations, military or civil protection or are a member of a humanitarian organisation.
  • You have a student visa for a country in the EU or Schengen zone.
  • You are a highly qualified worker or athlete whose work cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  • You are travelling for duly accredited imperative family reasons.
  • You are allowed entry due to force majeure or on humanitarian grounds.
  • And as mentioned earlier in the article, if you have a vaccination certificate that Spain’s Ministry of Health recognises, as well as for any accompanying minors (unless they’re under 12 years of age).

READ ALSO: When do I need to fill out Spain’s Covid health control form for travel?

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