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

Spain’s lockdown due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak doesn’t just affect residents of the peninsula. What does Spain's lockdown mean for holidaymakers or visitors trying to return home?

Spain's beaches are closed and government restrictions have ordered everyone to stay inside / Gtres
Spain's beaches are closed and government restrictions have ordered everyone to stay inside / Gtres
18 March 2020, Emma Donaldson

Spain’s lockdown due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak doesn’t just affect residents of the peninsula. What does Spain's lockdown 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 restrictions put in place by the Spanish government on Saturday (14th March), when a state of alarm was declared. This state of coronavirus lockdown means that all residents in Spain must stay at home unless absolutely necessary. Let’s have look at some frequently asked questions by British holidaymakers about Spain’s lockdown.

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

UK nationals currently in Spain should follow the advice of local authorities: the same lockdown rules apply to tourists and locals alike. As mentioned, the Spanish government has introduced very strict restrictions on movement and people can only leave their home (or accommodation) for very specific reasons. This includes necessary or justified actions such as buying food or medication or going to work if working from home isn’t an option. For the full list of what you can and can’t do during lockdown in Spain, consult our guide.

These restrictions introduced by the government ae 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, 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?

Not necessarily. The situation is currently changing very 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 but have also made promises to get holidaymakers home to the UK as soon as possible. Keep up to date on the airline websites for their latest plans of action. If you’re flights aren’t cancelled, getting to the airport shouldn’t be an issue: 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 is mostly 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?

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 if they are showing flu-like symptoms or any of the specified coronavirus symptoms. 

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

As emphasised by the British Embassy, all but essential travel to Spain is not at all recommended. 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 have relaxed their cancellation policies and are offering holidaymakers the chance to reschedule trips for another date.

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