Following a surge in new cases of COVID-19 across parts of Spain, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) reinstated its travel advisory for the country, warning against “all but essential international travel”. Unlike when the pandemic first took hold of the world and travel bans were initially put in place, this time the FCO is not urging Britons to cut short their stays.
Many holidaymakers had already jetted off to the destination when travel corridors reopened, which meant the sudden U-turn on its travel advisory sent the travel industry into chaos.
However, the FCO has issued a warning for Britons who are still in some regions of Spain.
“A number of local outbreaks of COVID-19 have been identified in Spain since the end of the State of Alarm, states the FCO.
“One of those outbreaks has affected parts of Catalonia (namely parts of Barcelona metropolitan area, and the areas of La Noguera, El Segria and L’Alt Empordà), where local authorities have asked residents only to leave their accommodation for essential activities.”
This rule applies to visitors too, which means tourists staying in any of the listed regions may be required to stay in their hotel accommodation unless essential.
Britons are reminded to “follow the advice of the local authorities” if staying in any of the affected areas.
The FCO adds: “Meetings of more than 10 people in public or private are prohibited, and the authorities have ordered the closures of nightclubs, gyms, and restrictions to the capacity and opening hours of bars and restaurants.
“These measures will be in place until further notice.”
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Visitors are also reminded to follow the strict face mask rules which are currently being enforced across Spain.
Rules vary by region, though face coverings are mandatory on public transport and in most indoor spaces in the entire country.
“Specific rules on the use of face masks may vary from one region to the next, you should refer to local authorities for advice. You should carry a face mask with you and be prepared to wear it throughout your stay,” advises the FCO.
Some parts of Spain have introduced strict new repercussions for those who are found to be flouting the rules.
In the Costa del Sol, fines have been introduced to try and boost safety.
The new fines will range from €100 (£90.09) to €600,000 (£540,564) and will include powers to close premises flouting the rules for up to five years.
Introduced yesterday by the Andalusian government, the measures apply to both Spanish residents and visitors.
UK holidaymakers currently in Spain will be required to undergo a 14-day period of quarantine upon their return back to the UK.
The same rule applies to those visiting Spain’s Balearic and Canary Islands.
In recent days Spanish authorities have suggested that the Canary Islands might soon be removed from the UK’s “red list”, however, so far the UK Government has remained tight-lipped on any plans to do so.
“The government of the Canaries is confident that the negotiations with the United Kingdom will bear fruit and that this week the quarantine for travellers returning from the Islands can be lifted,” said President of the Canaries, Ángel Víctor Torres.
Though the Government has given no indication as to how things could change in the coming weeks or months, the UK Ministry of Transport says that the re-evaluation of the air bridge list continues to be done every four weeks.
It adds it may introduce “changes weekly, to reflect the changing panorama of international health”.
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