Coronavirus: what to do if you’re currently on holiday in Spain

Spain’s increasing number of COVID-19 cases and local outbreaks don’t just affect residents of the peninsula. What does Spain's coronavirus situation mean for holidaymakers or visitors trying to return home?

31 July 2020, Emma Donaldson

Spain’s increasing number of coronavirus cases and localised COVID-19 outbreaks, including local lockdowns in some cases, don’t just affect residents of the peninsula. What does Spain's increasing number of coronavirus cases mean for holidaymakers or visitors trying to return home?

The UK’s Foreign Office (FCO) is updating its Travel Advice for British tourists on a daily basis and above all, is warning Brits against all but essential travel to Spain, following the reintroduction of some restrictions by the Spanish government across the country. This has also provoked the UK to introduce a 2 week quarantine for those entering or returning to the UK from Spain. Let’s have look at some frequently asked questions by British holidaymakers about Spain’s current COVID-19 situation.

If I am currently in Spain, what should I do?

UK nationals currently in Spain should follow the advice of local authorities: the same rules apply to tourists and locals alike. As mentioned, the Spanish government has introduced some new restrictions on movement and activities, as well as the compulsory use of facemasks for almost everyone, except in certain circumstances, such as children under 6 or those who have breathing difficulties. 

These restrictions introduced by the government are being strictly enforced and members of the public who disobey them could face fines or even prison for severe infringements. The FCO has stated: “If the local authority where you are, proposes to quarantine you for your own protection or if there are certain rules to obey, you should follow their advice. When you are abroad, your safety and security is their responsibility.”

Does this mean I can’t leave Spain and return to the UK?

There are currently no restrictions on leaving Spain and returning to the UK, except the 14 day quarentine that awaits you. The situation is however changing quickly but first and foremost, you need to contact your airline and tour operator (if you have one), as well as regularly checking the FCO updates and official updates from the regional government where you are staying. 

Some airlines have announced reduced and cancelled services to and from Spain. Keep up to date on the airline websites for their latest plans of action and updates on cancelled routes. If you’re flights aren’t cancelled, getting to the airport shouldn’t be an issue in the case of a local lockdown: if you have a hire car, you will be allowed to drive it the airport because this falls in the category of “returning to your habitual residence” and is one of the exceptional circumstances allowing people to be on the street. Public transport is also still running but in some cases operating a reduced service so allow yourself plenty of time to get to the airport.

Do I need to self-quarantine if I have visited Spain?

Yes. As mentioned, the British government has stated that any UK citizens who have travelled to Spain in the last 14 days have been instructed to self-isolate in the UK, even if they are  not showing flu-like symptoms or any of the specified coronavirus symptoms. 

I have already booked a holiday to Spain. Is it safe to go?

The Spanish authorities are stating that Spain is still very much open to tourists. However, the British Embassy and authorities in general are advising against all but essential travel to Spain. If your trip is necessary then you should contact your airline and hotel for confirmation, and if not, explore the options of postponing your trip to a later date. Most airlines, hotels and tour operators continue to offer relaxed cancellation policies and are offering holidaymakers the chance to reschedule trips for another date.

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