What you need to know about travelling to and from Spain right now
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Last weekend brought a surprise announcement that the U.K. government would both reinstate its advice against all non-essential travel to Spain, and reintroduce the 14-day mandatory quarantine for all travellers returning to England from Spain. Initially, the advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) only advised against all but non-essential travel to mainland Spain, but on Monday, 27 July, this was amended to also include the Balearic and Canary Islands.
Both announcements were made with less than 24 hours notice due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Spain, especially in the Catalonia, Navarra and Aragon regions.
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Spain is a very popular foreign destination for British travellers, and the news will now likely leave plenty holidaymakers scrambling to reassess their plans. Whether you are currently in Spain, have a summer trip planned or have been looking to book travel, here is what you need to know about travelling to and from Spain right now.
Can I travel to Spain now?
The FCO now advises against all non-essential travel to all of Spain, effective immediately until further notice. The following destinations were originally exempt from this advice but have now also been included:
- Canary Islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa); and
- Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera).
If you decide to travel to Spain, you’ll be travelling against government advice. And therefore, your travel insurance may be rendered invalid. If you decide to travel against government advice, you need to be acutely aware of the risk you are taking.
Additionally, note the restrictions upon your return to England. If you’re arriving in England from Spain, you’ll be required to self-isolate for 14 days — regardless of whether you’re a British national.
Ultimately, the U.K. government is advising British nationals that it’s not safe to travel to Spain right now. You are not forbidden from doing so, but if you choose to, you are leaving yourself at risk to a number of factors.
What should I do if I am already in Spain?
At this time, the FCO does not recommend British nationals in Spain return home immediately, and it does not recommend travellers cut their Spanish travel short. However, some airlines may reduce some services to Spain over the coming weeks if there is decreased demand. As such, if you are currently in Spain, double-check your return flights are still scheduled to operate. Major airlines including British Airways and EasyJet have advised that they plan to continue flights to Spain for the foreseeable future.
What are the quarantine requirements?
There is currently no requirement to quarantine when you arrive in Spain, though you will have to complete the following:
- Provide the Spanish Ministry of Health with mandatory contact information and any history of exposure to coronavirus 48 hours prior to travel;
- A temperature check; and
- Undergo a visual health assessment.
When you return to England from all regions in Spain, including the Canary and Balearic Islands, you will be required to quarantine for 14 days at home. You will also need to complete a passenger locator form with your personal details and you may receive a phone call during this period to check you are quarantining properly. Failure to comply can result in a fine of between £100 and £1,000.
Can I cancel my Spain travel?
Airlines and other travel providers have introduced generous cancellation waivers for upcoming travel. Check with your individual travel provider, but if you decide not to travel to Spain because of these recent changes, you may be able to change the date or destination of your travel without penalty or obtain a refund if your flight is cancelled.
Am I covered by travel insurance?
If you travel against government travel advice, this will void most travel insurance policies. However, if you booked the travel before the advice was in place (including during the recent, temporary lifting of advice against travel to Spain) and now do not wish to travel, your travel insurance will likely cover you for out-of-pocket expenses where your travel provider will not refund you, though check the details of your individual policy. Most travel providers have specific COVID-19 advice pages for this exact information.
Will the travel advice for Spain change again?
Travel advice is monitored constantly and may be updated by the FCO at any time, as we saw with the sudden announcements on Saturday and Monday evening.
It’s also worth noting the suddenness of Saturday’s announcement can also happen to other countries. While the U.K. government still says travel to Italy, for example, is OK, that could change at a moment’s notice.
Spain is traditionally a common destination for British travellers, especially during July and August. The sudden change in travel advice for Spain and the reintroduction of the 14-day quarantine for all travellers returning from Spain will likely mean many British travellers will rethink their summer holiday plans.
Featured image by Gettys Images
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