Most countries in Europe imposed a lockdown to manage the spread of Covid-19. Spain has been one of the countries in the Schengen Area badly hit by the pandemic.
Following several months of lockdown, Spain and the rest of the continent have begun opening back their external borders. EU countries have been advised by the European Commission to lift confinement measures gradually.
Current Situation in Spain Due to the Pandemic
On August 19th, 2020, the European Center for Disease Protection and Control (ECDC) placed Spain at the “top of the list of countries in Europe with the highest infection rate in the last two weeks in relation to its population”, reported Spain’s El País.
The increasing number of cases is being dealt with at regional and local levels. Restrictions related to Covid-19 are in place in the entire country but may vary by region.
Citizens are advised to follow guidelines and wear masks at all times while in public spaces, public transport, and any time social distancing is not possible.
Spain’s Travel Measures Due Covid-19
All foreign travelers, regardless of their nationality, who wish to visit Spain must complete a health control form, FCS, and sign it electronically ahead of their trip to the country. Travelers can access this form via the Spain Travel Health website. An app is also available for iOS and Android. Visitors will receive a QR code to present upon arrival in Spain. The code can be printed or saved on a smartphone or tablet.
Once passengers have arrived in Spain by air or sea, they will need to go through a health check. This check may include:
- Having their temperature taken
- Checking their documents
- A visual examination of the passenger’s health
During a traveler’s stay in the country foreign visitors must:
- Wear a mask in all public spaces and on public transport
After entering the country, travelers are allowed to move throughout Spain with a few restricted areas to ensure safety. There is an information helpline available to check whether a specific area is restricted or not. Visitors may also check with the Civil Guard.
Spain’s Travel Health Portal
Spain has launched a portal where any person traveling to the country must complete a FCS form. The app, SpTH, is available to download on Google Play and the App Store.
It is mandatory to complete the form and sign it electronically at least 48 hours before the expected date of departure.
Travelers need an email address and should provide the following information:
- Name, surname
- Passport number, ID card, or personal identification
- Flight number and arrival date
Before submitting the form, the applicant must accept the terms. Passenger data will be treated in accordance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
After the form has been processed, the traveler will receive an email with the QR code to show at control points upon arrival in Spain.
Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) should not travel and should seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Tourism sector Covid-19 measures
All tourist services are required to apply safety protocols based on the Ministry of Health’s guidelines. Public and private tourism organizations must implement said guidelines to protect locals and visitors alike.
According to Spain’s Official Tourism website, businesses should intensify their cleaning routines using products proven to kill the virus. Restaurants and bars staff have to wear a mask at all times and disinfect chairs and tables after they have been used.
All businesses should make sanitiser gel available to their employees and customers.
Whenever possible, establishments should use resources to facilitate social distancing for instance: marks on the floor to show distances, protective barriers, restrictions on the number of people that can enter a business at the same time.
Most hospitality establishments have adapted their areas to have more space between customers. The maximum capacity in each establishment has been changed to avoid crowds. Washing of hands of employees is strongly enforced. Customers should also wash their hands at bars, cafés, and restaurants.
Payment with a debit or credit card is encouraged to avoid exchanging cash.
Public transportation is operating normally. Visitors should wear a mask covering their mouth and nose.
Though some countries have a curfew, Spain has not set not a curfew at this time.
Countries allowed into Spain
From August 4th, 2020, the passengers traveling from the following countries are able to travel to Spain:
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
Third-party countries allowed entry to Spain
On June 30th, the European Union published a list of “safe” third-party countries whose citizens or residents are able to enter the EU for tourism purposes as of July 1st, 2020. Each EU country has been given the freedom to establish their travel restrictions the best way they see fit while following the Commission’s recommendations.
Out of the 15 countries on the list published by the EU, Spain has opened its borders to 12 nations:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
For citizens traveling from these countries, quarantines are not in place and neither is mandatory testing.
European Union’s travel safety recommendations
People are expected to take precautionary measures and follow health and safety instructions in their country of residence and the country they wish to visit.
The European Commission has designed a list of guidelines for all EU countries to coordinate a “safe lifting of travel restrictions”.
- All travelers are strongly encouraged to book online whenever possible
- Check-in online is highly recommended
- Social distancing should be respected whenever possible
- The use of face masks will be required when social distancing is not possible
- Food, beverages, and other goods may not be available on board
- Transport companies may install protective barriers to ensure the safety of passengers and employees
- Drivers should open doors automatically to avoid passengers touching buttons or handles
- Appropriate ventilation should be installed on all transport
When traveling to Spain or other countries within the Schengen Area, passengers should meet regular entry requirements such as holding a valid Schengen visa and a valid passport.