Coronavirus Christmas rules and restrictions in Spain

A guide to what you can and can't do in Spain this Christmas 2020.

Madrid at Christmas
Photo by Alvaro Araoz on Unsplash
21 December 2020, Emma Donaldson

With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, there are still questions as to what exactly Christmas will look like in Spain in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The country's Health Minister, Salvador Illa, as well as Spain's Autonomous Communities have now agreed on a plan regarding COVID-19 rules and restrictions for the Christmas holidays in Spain, including an adjustment to the curfew time and the closure of regions, except for family gatherings. Let's have a look at all the up to date Christmas COVID-19 measures in Spain, including travel advice, whether you are a resident in Spain or travelling to Spain from abroad this Christmas 2020. 

Family gatherings in Spain this Christmas

Like many other European countries, Spain applies the rule of 6, where meetings between households are limited to 6 people. However, this rule will be relaxed on certain dates during the festive period in Spain. The Spanish Government's new plan will allow meetings of up to 10 people to celebrate festive lunches and dinners on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (24th and 25th December), as well as on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (31st December and 1st January). Take note that this 10 person limit includes children, and may be subject to adjustments by regional governments. For example, in Madrid, the limit for Christmas lunches and dinners has been lowered to 6 people and from a maximum of 2 households due to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the region. 

Perimetral confinements across Spain 

As part of Spain's coronavirus Christmas plan, each Autonomous Community in Spain will be required to close their borders in a bid to limit movement. This is compulsory between 23rd December 2020 and 6th January 2021. However, there is one exception meaning those living in or visiting Spain will be able to spend Christmas with their loved ones if they live in another region during this period. “Travelling to visit family and close friends” is listed as a valid reason to travel to another Spanish region (between 23rd December and 6th January). This is along with other justified reasons such as travelling to work or to study, or for medical help, for example.

Take note that each region of Spain is however free to toughen up its measures on the movement of people, and you should check the restrictions stated by local authorities before travelling.

Christmas and New Year curfew

Currently in Spain, a nighttime curfew applies from 11pm or midnight, depending on the region of the country. However, this is set to be relaxed on 24th and 31st December, meaning that on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, the start time for curfew will be put back until 1.30am so that people have some extra time to get home.

Spain's famous "Cabalgatas" are cancelled

One of the most famous festive traditions in Spain takes places on the evening of 5th January to celebrate the arrival of the 3 Kings. The streets are traditionally filled with large parades called "cabalgatas", however in 2021, due to the large crowds that these parades attract, they have also been added to the long list of cancelled events. Other traditional festive events that generally attract crowds, such as the "campanadas" to welcome the New Year have also been cancelled in Madrid's Puerta del Sol, for example, with the majority of the country bein strongly advised to follow suit. On the other hand, Christmas Nativity scenes and Christmas concerts are still taking place, but must operate with strict coronavirus measures, such as reduced capacity.

Travelling to Spain from abroad this Christmas

If you're planning on travelling to Spain from abroad this Christmas, make sure to check local rules and restrictions before your trip. Take note that to be able to enter Spain, you will need to present a negative PCR test result if travelling from certain high-risk countries, and that the same restrictions on movement and meetings will also apply throughout your stay.

Flight ban to Spain from the UK 

If you are travelling to Spain from the UK this Christmas, then take note that due to a new coronavirus strain reported in the UK, Spain has joined a growing list of countries to suspend travel from UK. These measures mean that Spain will ban all entrants from the UK starting on Tuesday 22nd December but have stated that Spanish nationals and residents in Spain will be allowed to return. There are likely to be flight cancellations and as always, the rules are subject to change. Make sure to check the most recent guidelines and advice before travelling.

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