After two difficult years, and with the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, Spain has relaxed most of the Covid safety measures. However, it is still important to keep up to date with any restrictions that remain in place nationally, locally and when travelling.
As and when any national changes are announced, you can read about them here. You might also find the following links useful for further information:
- View the latest Covid figures for Spain from Worldometers here
- Sign up to RadarCOVID Spain for alerts re contact here
- When travelling, use the Spain Travel Health app here
Please continue to be vigilant, observe any Covid safety measures and stay safe!
Check back with us regularly for the LATEST NEWS updates re: changes to safety measures, travel arrangements and much more.
20 April: Face masks no longer required in most indoor settings
Effective immediately, face masks will no longer be required indoors under most circumstances. The changes – first announced on April 6 – were confirmed by Spain’s Council of Ministers on April 19.
Masks are still required indoors under the following circumstances:
- In hospitals and other health-related establishments, e.g. dental clinics, pharmacies
- In care homes, for both visitors and staff
- On public transport
In work places, the employer will decide whether face masks are required.
The health service advise the public to continue to exercise “common sense” and “caution”.
6 April: Health Control Form no longer required for all visitors to Spain
The Spanish Government has changed the rules regarding the Health Control Form used by travellers entering Spain. It is no longer required that all passengers complete one on arrival.
Passengers will now simply have to show an EU Digital Covid Certificate or an equivalent from a non-EU country. It is recommended, however, that before you travel you check your certification is valid for entry. You can do so on the Spain Travel Health website.
Read the official government bulletin here
10 February: Masks no longer required outdoors
Mask wearing outdoors is no longer required, except in the following circumstances:
- At large outdoor events where attendees are required to stand
- At large outdoor events where attendees are seated but are not able to maintain a safe distance of 1.5 metres
- Use of masks is still recommended in crowds
Further details are available in the official Royal Decree (BOE) here
23 December: New Covid restrictions re mask wearing outdoors
A special cabinet meeting was held today to approve mandatory outdoor mask wearing in a bid to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. The decision was made at a virtual meeting on 22 December with regional heads of government. It followed concerns regarding the recent rise in case numbers, reaching the highest daily figures since the pandemic began. Experts are warning that the new measures alone are “insufficient” in the fight to flatten the curve of infections. The new measures will take effect on Christmas Eve. You can watch the official announcement from the Ministry of Health here.
Exceptions to the new mask-wearing rules include: when practicing sports; when in “natural spaces” such as the countryside or beach; when alone; when maintaining a distance of 1.5 meters.
The armed forces will be used to aid the vaccination programme and contact tracing. PM Pedro Sánchez insists that vaccinations and boosters remain the best tool against the virus.
As at 21 December, Spain has the 3rd best vaccination record in Europe, with 80.9% of its population fully vaccinated. The UK, by comparison, vaccinated 69.1% of the population over the same period.
For live data tracking of European vaccinations, click here
Read more on this story in El Pais here
Read Spanish Ministry of Health Covid information, including travel advice and vaccine certification here
1 December: New travel restrictions Brits travelling to Spain
With immediate effect, visitors from the UK will now be required to prove they have been fully vaccinated in order to enter Spain. A negative Covid test will no longer be an alternative option.
The new vaccine requirements apply to anyone aged 12 and over. Under 12’s do not need vaccine certification, and can travel to Spain with fully vaccinated parents. Fully vaccinated means either having received “both doses of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a one-dose vaccine”, at least 14 days prior to travel to Spain.
Certificates of recovery, a medical document proving you have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months, are also no longer acceptable.
As the 12-15 year age group are only now being offered a second vaccine in the UK, the new rules will prevent them from visiting Spain for the next few weeks, and certainly for Christmas.
Spain accepts the NHS Covid pass.
The requirement for all visitors to complete a Spanish Travel Health Form remains in place.
Issued by the Spanish Embassy in London
25 June: Face mask restrictions to be lifted
On Thursday 24 June, the Cabinet held an extraordinary meeting to finalise the proposal regarding the wearing of face masks outdoors. The news came days after France and Germany also announced the relaxation of face mask rules.
Effective from Saturday 26 June, it will no longer be necessary to wear face masks in outdoor spaces, except when it is impossible to maintain a safe 1.5 metre distance.
The proposed change was originally announced by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at a press interview on June 18 – you can listen to the announcement here
Sanchez said, “Our streets, our faces, will begin to regain their normal appearance in the coming days”.
For more on this story, read El Pais here
9 May: Spain’s State of Alarm comes to an end
As the national state of alarm comes to an end, many of the national covid restrictions will be lifted. Spain’s regions are still determining what measures will be lifted and which retained.
Restrictions likely to affected include:
- lifting of curfews
- opening of borders across the provinces
- longer opening hours for shops
- eating indoors at bars & restaurants permitted
- numbers of people you are allowed to meet to increase
Regional authorities will need support from the courts for further measures to remain in place.
For further information, including covid measures by region, read El Pais article here
16 APRIL: ‘Digital Green Certificate’ – EU’s vaccine passport – to come into force in June
By the end of June, travellers arriving in Spain with the new EU vaccine passport will no longer be required to take a Covid test or to quarantine.
The new document will come in the form of a free QR code (in digital and physical form) and will allow more people to travel “in a safer manner”, said Alfredo González, the general secretary of Digital Health, Information and Innovation. He added, “This certificate is not a passport, it’s not a travel document, and it’s not a requirement for travel. It’s a mechanism that will facilitate mobility in the European Union. It will respect data protection, safety and privacy. It is planned so that it will not be discriminatory, and that is one of the major advantages.”
The plan is part of the government’s strategy for this year, during which the authorities are forecasting that 40 million foreign visitors will arrive.
For more on this story, from El Pais, read the full article here
Read more about the EU’s Digital Green Certificate here
31 MARCH: Stricter face mask rules introduced
Face coverings in public spaces are now mandatory, regardless of the distance between people. The Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE) published yesterday requires anyone aged six and over to wear a face mask “on public streets, in outdoor spaces and in any closed space that has a public use or is open to the public”.
Previously, it was only necessary to wear a mask in public and outdoor spaces when it was not possible to maintain a safe distance of 1.5 metres. For further information:
3 MARCH: Vaccination Strategy update
The Spanish authorities have issued an updated vaccination strategy detailing when priority groups can expect to be vaccinated. The government website includes many links and documents, and the most frequently asked questions (FAQs).
JANUARY 25: Covid 19 restrictions updated by region
As infections soar across the country, many regional authorities have announced new safety restrictions. The national government has so far resisted the call to reintroduce a national lockdown, arguing that the new highly-localised restrictions are sufficient.
The Ministry of Health has published in interactive map that allows you to check the restrictions in place in your area.
DECEMBER 10: Spain relaxes the Covid test requirements for air passengers to allow for TMA tests
From today, arrivals at Spanish airports will be able to present results of a Transcription-Mediated Amplification (TMA) test, as an alternative to a PCR test. The TMA option is in response to complaints that the PCR are more expensive, and results take longer.
DECEMBER 4: Regulations & recommendations on celebrating Christmas this year
Health Minister, Salvador Illa, has announced rules & recommendations for a safe Covid-free Christmas. Between 23rd December & 6th January movement between autonomous communities is limited, except for grouping of family & friends.
- On Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, News Years Eve & New Years Day, meetings will be restricted to 10 people (including children)
- Curfew on Christmas Eve & New Years Eve will be extended to 1.30 am.
NOVEMBER 12: Travellers will need a negative PCR test result before arrival in Spain
From Monday 23 November, the Spanish government will require passengers arriving from at-risk countries to provide proof of a negative PCR test before allowing their entry into Spain. The test must be taken no more than 72 hours before departure & will only apply at airports, not at land borders.
The measure – which will affect most EU countries – will apply to over 60 countries worldwide that have high infection rates. Further details of countries affected will be available shortly.
For EU/EEA countries, the authorities will use data provided by the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control – you can view their ‘risk map’ here
For other countries, the restrictions will apply to countries with an infection rate of over 150 in 100,000.
OCTOBER 30: Most Spanish regions set to close borders ahead of All Saints weekend
With the exception of Extremadura, Galicia & the Canary Islands, all Spanish regions have announced plans to close their borders before the holiday weekend. The closures will limit travel across the country, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
To interact with a map of Spain for further information, visit La Sexta here
For more on this story, read the article in El Pais here
The situation is very fluid at present, so please check in regularly for the latest updates
OCTOBER 30: Congress votes to extend ‘state of alarm’ until 9 May 2021
Last Sunday, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a new ‘state of alarm’ & his intention to seek parliament’s approval to extend it for six months. Today, following a two-day debate, Congress has voted for that extension.
The ‘state of alarm’ will enable regional governments to enforce the new curfew and mobility restrictions.
For further information, read the article in Spain in English here
OCTOBER 25: Prime Minister approves a new state of alarm
The Spanish Cabinet have approved a new national state of alarm, providing a legal framework for regional authorities to curb public mobility. In a bid to combat the spread of Covid, socialising at night will be restricted.
Although the measures are initially for 15 days, the government has made clear its intention to keep them in place until April 2021.
The new restrictions are:
- A curfew from 23.00 to 6.00 daily (with flexibility to add/subtract 1 hour either way)
- Travel restrictions between regions, unless justified
For the full story, read El Pais here
To view the press statement from President Pedro Sánchez, visit the government Facebook page here
OCTOBER 23: New Covid measures put in place across 2214 municipalities
Due to the rise in infection rates, new restrictions are being put in place in many towns and municipalities across the country. The restrictions, which will affect areas with 500+ new cases per 100,000 population, over the last 14 days, will include curfews and “perimeter confinement”.
For further information, and to identify areas affected, click here.
You can also find information relating to specific areas, on the Road Safety Association Facebook page.
Read articles in El Pais covering the following topics:
- 7 million Spanish residents now facing perimetral lockdown here
- Valencian Community, Andalusia & Castilla y León announce curfews here
11 autonomous authorities are so concerned about rising infections they are calling on central government to declare a “State of Alert”. An urgent ministerial meeting is being convened by Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, on 25 October. Read more on this story in El Pais here
AUGUST 25: Autonomous regions can request ‘state of alert’; contract tracing support from military & government app
- In a press conference today, Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez offered regional premiers the authority to request their own ‘state of alert’, firmly putting the authority back with the regions. Sánchez said the progress of the coronavirus curve was worrying and that it “needed to be tackled”.
- In Catalonia and Madrid – two of the worst affected areas for new cases – the Prime Minister has offered the support of the military to aid with contract tracing.
- Regional authorities are being encouraged to roll out the use of a new contract tracing app, created by the government. If widely used by the public, the ‘Radar Covid’ app is expected to reduce the impact of the pandemic by 30%. The app does not require the supply of personal data, so personal privacy is protected.
AUGUST 14: Health Minister announces new measures to curb the spread of the virus
Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, today announced a ban on smoking in outside public spaces and closure of nightclubs, discos & music bars.
Illa said that smoking is only allowed in open public spaces as long as a safe distance of 2 meters can be maintained.
In hospitality premises, a minimum safe distance of 1.5 metres must be maintained at bars & tables, with a maximum of 10 people only at each table.
All establishments, including bars and restaurants, will have to close at 1:00 am & no new patrons will be allowed entry after midnight.
For more on this story, read Spain in English: https://www.spainenglish.com/2020/08/14/spain-imposes-new-measures-on-nightlife-bans-smoking/
AUGUST 7: Guidance for wearing masks
The Spanish government has issued advice about wearing masks, in order to keep the population safe from coronavirus.
- Wash your hands first
- Make sure your mask is in good condition
- Wear the mask the right way round:
- Metal strip at the top
- Coloured side on the outside
- Make sure to cover your nose, mouth & chin
- Ensure the mask fits correctly, with no gaping
- Don’t touch the mask while wearing (except for the straps)
- Replace mask after a maximum of 4 hours wear
JULY 18: Wearing of masks now mandatory in the Valencian Community
Following the example set by many other Spanish regions, the wearing of masks became mandatory today in the Valencian Community. The decision was taken due to the four-fold increase in the number of infections of 20 to 40-year olds.
Masks will be compulsory at all time, with the following exceptions:
- on the beach or in a swimming pool
- in outdoor areas such as the countryside or the mountains
- in bars & restaurants
- for those with respiratory problems
- whilst taking part in sports activities
JULY 14: Many Spanish regions implement mandatory face coverings
A number of regional governments are making the wearing of face masks compulsory in public spaces. The following regions have either made face coverings mandatory or are about to:
- Aragón, Asturias, Cantabria, Navarre, La Rioja, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, Extremadura, Andalusia & Murcia
In the Valencia region, the option is being seriously considered – a decision will be reached shortly.
For more on this story, read El Pais: https://english.elpais.com/spanish_news/2020-07-13/with-over-100-coronavirus-outbreaks-more-spanish-regions-make-face-masks-mandatory.html
June 30: Spain prepares to open its borders
As part of reciprocal arrangements between the European Union & 15 other countries, Spain will open its borders from July 1.
The named countries have been selected based on the epidemiological situation in each country, which must have a similar or lower contagion rate than the European average for every 100,000 inhabitants for 14 days.
The named countries are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Japan, Georgia, Morocco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. China will also be included, but only if visitors from the EU receive reciprocal treatment.
For more on this story, read El Pais: https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-06-30/as-eu-prepares-to-reopen-borders-spanish-experts-stress-importance-of-coronavirus-safety-measures.html
June 21: All of Spain enters the ‘New Normality’
The ‘state of alert’ has officially ended after 24 weeks of lockdown measures. Whilst many restrictions have been removed, 4 essential rules remain:
- Social distancing of 1.5 meters
- Compulsory wearing of face masks when social distancing measures cannot be maintained
- Hand washing/sanitising
- Hygiene in public & private spaces
Travel between provinces is now allowed, and travel from EU countries/UK is now permitted, without quarantine, with the exception of Portugal (to follow shortly).
June 21: Brits can visit Spain without quarantine
Spain’s Foreign Minister, Arancha Gonzalez, has announced that with immediate effect, British citizens can travel to Spain from today, without facing quarantine measures. British visitors will need to:
- Provide contact information & any history of Covid exposure
- Undergo a temperature check & a visual health assessment
For full travel details re Spain, checkout this EU webpage, updated in real time – use the icons on the right to scroll around transport options: https://reopen.europa.eu/en/map/ESP
Currently this decision is a unilateral one, & we await confirmation regarding quarantine measures for Brits returning from Spain to the UK.
Read more on this story in El Pais here: https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-06-20/no-quarantine-for-uk-travelers-entering-spain-foreign-minister-confirms.html
Spanish Department of Health travel page has useful travel/health information about including the online travel form: https://www.spth.gob.es/
Worldometers monitor the number of cases & death tolls, by country: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation (IHME) COVID-19 death toll projections for Spain: https://covid19.healthdata.org/spain
For updates about the lockdown rules – Boletín Oficial del Estado: https://www.boe.es/index.php?lang=en
The Spanish government website has all the latest news from Spain, in English: https://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/lang/en/Paginas/index.aspx
N322 Road Safety Association has a wealth of information about lockdown measures on their Facebook page:
European Commission coronavirus home page: https://ec.europa.eu/health/coronavirus_en
WHO specific information on Spain: http://www.euro.who.int/en/countries/spain
WHO specific information on UK: http://www.euro.who.int/en/countries/united-kingdom-of-great-britain-and-northern-ireland
Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs & Social Welfare: https://www.mscbs.gob.es/en/home.htm
Spanish Ministry of the Environment: https://www.miteco.gob.es/es/ministerio/medidas-covid19/
UK Foreign Office travel advice for Spain: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain
Brits in Spain (British Embassy in Madrid) Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BritsInSpain/
Brits in Spain website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-spain#coronavirus