Health rules and conditions related to COVID-19 for travelers to Spain explained
From 1 July, a number of EU countries will be opening their borders to travelers from other European nations. Spain was one of the most affected countries, but considers the situation under control and is now preparing to welcome sun-seekers from across the continent.
Opening the borders is seen as crucial to Spain’s economy, as tourism provides around 12% of the country’s GDP. However, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has warned that strict hygiene controls must continue to be observed, and that “the risk of a second wave must be avoided at all costs”.
Checks upon departure and arrival
?No reutilices las mascarillas que no son reutilizables
❌No te toques la cara ni la parte frontal de la mascarilla
?No lleves la mascarilla suelta en la cara o con la nariz por fuera de ella
— Ministerio de Sanidad (@sanidadgob) June 30, 2020
Up to now, personnel from the Health Ministry have been in charge of conducting airport temperature checks and handing out forms that visitors must fill in with information about any symptoms they might have, and their contact address during their stay in Spain.
This has now changed slightly, due to the small number of personnel available not expected to be able to cope with the anticipated numbers. Because of this, Spain is trying to reach deals with countries of origin to conduct additional tests at departure points.
Fernando Carreras, deputy director of Sanidad Exterior, the ministry department in charge of the screening on Spanish soil, said that his team is now using automated processes like computerized health declarations and thermal-imaging cameras, which can check the body temperature of several people simultaneously, rather than having to check each individual one-by-one with a thermometer. This also cuts down on the number of health workers required at each checkpoint.
This screening process is only expected to be used for travelers arriving by air or sea, with overland trips unaffected.
What are other rules that remain in place?
Travelers will have to observe the rules that are still in place in Spain. These measures include wearing a face mask in public places:
- The mandatory use of face masks by persons over 6 years of age on public roads, outdoors and in enclosed spaces for public use, provided that it is not possible to maintain a social distance of at least 1.5 meters (this excludes people with disabilities or respiratory illnesses, as well as during sporting activities or when eating).
- The use of masks is also mandatory on public transport, by air, sea and rail, and in private vehicles if the occupants do not live together at the same address.
A failure to comply with these rules will result in a fine of up to 100 euros.
Other rules include:
- Hotels and tourist accommodation, hotels and restaurants, shops, as well as cultural, entertainment and other recreational and sports centers must ensure that crowds are avoided in common areas.
- Workers in these establishments should maintain a minimal interpersonal distance of 1.5 meters.
- All establishments of these types must supply suitable and readily available hygiene measures for staff and customers.
Traveling within a region is unaffected
— Balearic Islands (@BalearicTour) July 1, 2020
Once a traveler has arrived in Spain, their mobility is unaffected, and they are free to travel between regions as they wish. In fact, Spain had conducted a test by allowing travel between the Balearic Islands and the mainland from 15 June, with local government workers randomly calling visitors to ask about their health.
“We need to keep in mind that this is not a police-controlled confinement, it largely depends on each person’s sense of responsibility,” said sources in the government of the Balearic Islands.
“The response has been very positive, and the calls also help travelers with any doubts they might have regarding the disease.”
Public health expert Alberto Infante recognizes that reopening borders “must be done, but done very carefully”.
For a full guide to which countries are opening and to whom, visit the official website of the EU.
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