The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated its travel advice following some changes to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown measures being enforced in Spain.
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Spain enforced one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe after a State of Emergency (“Estado de Alarma”) was announced on 14 March.
Since then, in line with dropping cases and deaths due to the pandemic, the government has begun to slowly reintroduce more freedoms back into daily life.
On May 11 regions where the impact of the virus was lessening began to enter into “stage one” of loosened restrictions.
Restaurants and bars are being allowed to serve clients outdoors, shops selling non-essential items may reopen and private gatherings of 10 people or fewer can be held.
Members of the public have also been allowed to exercise outside.
More severely impacted regions and cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, must wait another week before similar steps may be considered.
Speaking to the nation on Saturday, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez urged Spaniards to act with “total caution and prudence”.
However, while the citizens of Spain may be rejoicing, for holidaymakers the dream of a vacation may be slipping further away.
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In a bid to protect the country, the Spanish government has implemented stricter measures for those crossing the border.
According to the latest FCO advice, which was updated on May 12: “Following further border restrictions, only Spanish citizens, those who are legally resident in Spain, frontier workers or those who can prove they need to enter Spain for essential reasons will be allowed to enter the country.
“Only green residency certificates will be accepted as proof of residency in Spain and British travellers who are not resident and/or not in possession of this certificate should not attempt to enter the country.
“Padron certificates, utility bills and property deeds will not be accepted by Spanish authorities as proof of residency.“
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The FCO adds: “You must meet the requirements in order to enter.
“From 15 May, additionally, international arrivals will need to self-isolate for 14 days.”
Self-isolation can be done in a person’s main residence or hotel.
British travellers who are not residents are also being urged not to travel to Gibraltar and attempt to enter Spain via the land frontier.
Any Britons who are currently in Spain are being advised to return home as soon as possible.
“British travellers who are currently in Spain and who wish to return to the UK will continue to be allowed to depart and are advised to make travel plans to do so as soon as possible,” the FCO advises.
Additionally, the UK government is advising Britons against all nonessential travel for an indefinite period of time.
Under current lockdown restrictions in the UK, both international and domestic holidays are banned.
The future of travel remains uncertain, however, some experts in Spain have suggested the country may welcome back tourism as early as August.
According to the FCO: “While no specific dates have been attributed to each phase, it is estimated that each one will last for an initial period of 2 weeks from May 4.
“Moving from one phase to another will be contingent on the control of the COVID-19 outbreak in Spain and different provinces and regions of Spain may progress at different speeds.”
Spanish tourism minister Reyes Maroto spoke to local newspaper El Pais, saying: “We have to guarantee, when international tourism opens, that the person who comes to Spain is a safe person…
“The issue of borders will be accompanied by the evolution of the health crisis.
“Therefore, I do not have the solution of when [they will be able to open].
“On how you will be able to enjoy our beaches, we are defining different scenarios.
“It is very important that the sanitary recommendations are maintained, we are going to have to internalise what we are already doing now, hand washing, social distancing … even on the beaches.
“Those patterns will be in our day to day for a time, you cannot take a step back.”
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