Traveling to Spain during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Editor’s Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on February 16.

(CNN) — If you’re planning to travel to Spain, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Spain has suffered greatly from Covid-19, with a high number of cases and deaths. After one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns in spring 2020, it reopened to visitors over the summer, but has since entered a state of emergency that is due to run until May 2021.

What’s on offer

One of Europe’s biggest hitters for good reason, Spain pulls tourists in by the millions thanks to its warm weather, laidback vibe and excellent food and wine. Plus, of course, there are some of Europe’s best beach resorts, mountains, and cultural cities like Madrid, Seville and Barcelona.

Who can go

Travelers from most places in the European Union, alongside Australia, China, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand and Uruguay are allowed to enter Spain without having to undergo quarantine.

However, arrivals from the UK, Brazil and South Africa are restricted until March 2, 2021, except for Spanish nationals and legal residents of Spain.

The border has recently been restricted between Spain and Portugal.

Visitors from other countries are not permitted to enter, unless they gain special permission from the Spanish government.

What are the restrictions?

All travelers must complete a Health Control Form (HCF), which can be completed via the Spain Travel Health website or app. It will generate a QR code which must be shown on arrival in the country. Travelers arriving from ‘risk’ countries, based on guidelines from the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) for essential reasons must also undertake a PCR test within 72 hours of departure and show proof of a negative result on entry. This list of countries changes regularly and should be checked before travel.

Health assessments take place on arrival into Spain, with a temperature check and visual examination as standard.

Spain’s health minister also recently announced that travelers arriving from Brazil and South Africa are being given an antigen test in the airport.
Additionally, all travelers to the Canary Islands, no matter where they’re arriving from, require an antigen test taken within 72 hours of departure in order to check into their accommodation.

What’s the Covid situation?

Spain has been in a state of emergency since the start of November 2020, with curbs due to be in place until May 2021. It has seen over 3 million infections and over 65,000 deaths. Case rates remain high — on February 8, Spain recorded the biggest weekend rise in cases since the pandemic began. January 2021 was reportedly the worst month for the pandemic in Spain since the summer.

What can visitors expect?

Under the state of emergency, a national curfew is in place, effective from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. Masks must be worn in public at all times (children aged five and under are exempt), while gatherings indoors and outdoors are limited to six people.

Restrictions vary by region, with some closing their internal borders to prevent transmission of Covid-19. This regional approach means that restrictions often change depending on the local government. Curfew times may change as a result.

Hotels are operating at limited capacity, limiting guest numbers to ensure social distancing. Smoking outdoors is banned where two meters’ social distancing cannot be maintained.

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Joe Minihane, Julia Buckley and Francesca Street contributed to this report

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