Spain has now backtracked on plans to ease rules for unvaccinated travellers

Apr 7, 2022

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This article has been updated.

Yesterday afternoon, it was believed Spanish authorities had loosened travel restrictions for unvaccinated visitors ahead of the busy Easter break, allowing anyone without jabs to enter the country provided they could show a negative PCR or rapid antigen test.

The development was hailed by the Spanish Tourist Office in the U.K. as a ‘step in the right direction’. However, by evening time, less than 10 hours after the so-called announcement, Spanish officials performed a jumbo jet-sized U-turn, claiming the previous rules for unvaccinated travellers were still in place.

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In an astonishing show of turnabout-face, Pedro Medina, Director of Spain’s Tourist Office in the U.K, said: “We apologise unreservedly for the miscommunication earlier today which was due to a misunderstanding of the new entry requirements.”

Once again, any unvaccinated person over 12-years-old hoping to visit Spain must produce a valid recovery certificate no more than six months old, or the U.K.’s proof of COVID-19 recovery record, or proof of exemption.

Fully vaccinated visitors do not require a test to enter but must show their vaccination status through the NHS Covid Pass. If more than 270 days have passed since the final dose, a certification of a booster vaccination is required — except, that is, for teenagers aged between 12 and 17 accompanying vaccinated parents.

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One upside is that this figure of 270 days was previously only 180 days. This had led many to worry that even those who’ve had the jabs much earlier than most — particularly older or more vulnerable visitors — would find themselves categorised as unvaccinated going into Easter and towards the summer.

Playa Papagayo, Canary Islands. (Photo by Zu Sanchez Photography / Getty Images)

Another minor tweak to the ruling is that children under 12 and those travelling to Spain with an NHS Covid travel pass no longer need to complete Spain’s health control before arrival. But for thousands of unvaccinated Brits, thousands of whom may well have snapped up airline tickets yesterday evening to capitalise on the supposed changes, it’s back to square one.

As if the impending Easter break hadn’t been stressful enough for British travellers following chaotic airport scenes up and down the country, for such a popular destination, yesterday’s gaffe was as embarrassing as it was unhelpful.

Going into Easter time, many travel experts had believed that Spain would not ease any more rules ahead of the holidays, that it wouldn’t budge in denying entry to unvaccinated visitors, and guess what? They were more or less on the money, despite France easing rules for unvaccinated travellers last week.

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Despite Spanish officials being keen to keep restrictions tight, COVID-19 rates are falling faster than they have done in the past two years. Since the start of the pandemic, Spain has seen over 11m infections and 102,747 COVID-19 related deaths. Right now, infections are only 5% of what they were at the peak of the crisis, with 98 infections reported per 100k people.

(Photo courtesy of the Ritz Carlton Abama Tenerife/Facebook)

In reflection of the falling rates, travel workers have been critical of Spain for its reluctance to drop its restrictions as fast as other EU countries. Let’s just hope they don’t implement another ban on dancing in the Canary Islands.

We’ll bring you more updates when we have them.

Featured image by Shutterstock.

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