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Expats Spain Can I visit Spain? The latest advice ahead of ‘air bridge’ announcement – Telegraph.co.uk


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Expats Spain Can I visit Spain? The latest advice ahead of ‘air bridge’ announcement – Telegraph.co.uk

Spain is on a list of countries announced by the UK Government for which quarantine measures do not apply. The country’s inclusion means the resumption of summer holidays from July 10.  The Mediterranean summer favourite initially refused to lift restrictions for Britons unless it secured a reciprocal arrangement for Spanish arrivals to the UK, but backed…

Expats Spain Can I visit Spain? The latest advice ahead of ‘air bridge’ announcement – Telegraph.co.uk

Expats Spain

Spain is on a list of countries announced by the UK Government for which quarantine measures do not apply.

The country’s inclusion means the resumption of summer holidays from July 10

The Mediterranean summer favourite initially refused to lift restrictions for Britons unless it secured a reciprocal arrangement for Spanish arrivals to the UK, but backed down under pressure to boost its battered tourism industry. 

Now a reciprocal deal is officially confirmed, British tourists arriving back from Spain before July 10 will not have to stay at home for two weeks on their return. 

“We will allow British visitors to enter Spain just like the rest of the European Union or Schengen from June 21 freely and without the need for the quarantine,” Arancha González Laya said in June. 

However, lockdown has had to be reinstated in two towns over the weekend after fresh outbreaks of coronavirus, sparking concerns that other parts of Spain may have to close for business during the summer.

Travel has been curtailed in the county of Segria in Catalonia and the town of La Marina in Galicia, with nobody allowed to enter or leave the respective areas unless it is for work purposes.

There are fewer crowds in Barcelona

Credit:
getty

“Social distancing and lockdown measures were the key to flattening the curve. Now they are needed again to stop the outbreaks,” said the Spanish Health Minister, Salvador Illa.

The cases remain isolated and as yet there are no plans to impose similar restrictions on the rest of the country – news is likely to please up to 400,000 Britons with second homes in Spain or those desperate to visit some of the 240,000 British expats in the country.

New arrivals in Spain will have their temperatures checked and be required to provide contact details to authorities so that they can be traced in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak, Ms González said.

Since July 1, visitors from 14 countries outside the EU or Schengen area (including including Canada, Morocco and Australia, but not the US, Brazil and Russia) have also been free to visit Spain. 

Airlines are slowly relaunching routes from the UK, too, with easyJet offering its first post-lockdown service last month, but options are few and far between. If you want to fly to the Catalan capital on Saturday, for example, services from Heathrow (with BA) and Stansted (with Ryanair) are the only direct options.

The situation should improve in the coming weeks, with Ryanair due to restart many more services and Jet2 returning on July 15, but Britons hoping to book an early summer holiday, particularly those who rely on regional airports, may find their options limited as airlines focus on key routes in the face of reduced demand. Tui says it will restart holidays on July 11. 

Below, we detail some of the questions travellers will be asking about trips to Spain, and outline the latest Foreign Office advice. This page will be updated as and when guidance changes.

Can I visit Spain?

From July 4, Spain will be exempt from the Foreign Office ban on all but essential overseas travel, but you will need to quarantine for 14 days on your return. 

From July 10, the quarantine measures will be dropped and travel will be unimpeded, with leisure holidays able to run again. 

However, two local lockdowns have now been reimposed after towns in Catalonia and Galicia experience renewed outbreaks of coronavirus. West of Barcelona, restrictions were put back in place for the residents of Lleida and surrounding Segria county on July 4, while the north Galician community of La Marina went into lockdown again the following day.

Travel to and from these areas is forbidden to all except those who need to do so for work. 

Are flights operating?

As outlined above, airlines are beginning to increase services, despite the fact that most people cannot – or are at least advised against – travel. A spot check by Telegraph Travel found options in July from UK airports to 26 Spanish destinations, albeit at reduced frequency and largely from London hubs. 

Lufthansa plans to resume 165 weekly flights to Spain’s main tourist hubs during July. Ryanair is also bullishly confident of restoring a large chunk of its route network and will be offering up to 1,000 daily flights, including many services to Spain, from this month.

Beaches have reopened

Credit:
getty

EasyJet, which plans to resume 50 per cent of its routes in July, and 75 per cent by August, has launched a summer sale with flights from the UK to Spain for under £20. British Airways also plans to restart 50 per cent of its flights to Spain in July.

Are hotels open?

Hotels were given permission to reopen a month ago but, due to low demand, many chose to stay shut. 

Some hotels are still closed, however, and at those that have reopened visitors should expect plenty of empty rooms. In the Balearic Islands, one recent forecast was for summer occupancy rates of only 30 per cent – and largely from domestic tourism. Hotel groups there are already looking to spring 2021 for any sort of normal operations. 

In Palma, Majorca, the hotel association says two thirds of its members will open by the end of July. 

The Foreign Office adds: “Hotels and other short-stay accommodation (such as campsites or caravan parks) are permitted to re-open with some restrictions (e.g. limited or no access to communal facilities) depending on the phase of the de-escalation plan it is in). You should contact your accommodation provider prior to booking for information regarding the restrictions in place.”

The country is working to provide peace of mind for those seeking a holiday in Spain. Instructions and recommendations for preventing the spread of Covid-19 are detailed in a series of guides. They cover hotels and tourist apartments; restaurants; travel agencies; golf courses; rural accommodation; spas; museums; tourist guides; information offices; hostels; camping sites; and active tourism. 

The new safety guides include specific instructions for hotels regarding service, cleaning and disinfection, maintenance and risk management. 

Do I need to wear a face mask?

Face masks on all forms of public transport, and in crowded spaces, are obligatory.

The FCO says: “From May 21, the use of face masks will be obligatory to anyone over the age of six in all public spaces in Spain, where it is not possible to maintain social distancing of two metres. Face masks must cover the nose and mouth. Sanctions may be imposed if you do not comply.

“Those with respiratory problems or those unable to wear a mask due to other health conditions or disabilities are exempt from this rule.

You may also be asked to provide contact details by shops, other businesses and transport companies for tracking and tracing purposes.

Can I go to the beach?

Spain reopened its beaches on June 1, but local authorities are taking measures to ensure social distancing and hygiene regulations are observed. 

The Costa de Almería holiday resort of Roquetas de Mar, for example, reopened 10 miles of coastline to sunbathers on May 25. Roquetas mayor Gabriel Amat said that the stretches of sand are open between 9am and 10pm, allowing for cleaning and disinfection outside of these hours. A team of 25 beach assistants are on hand to remind visitors of social distancing rules. 

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