Spain mulls lifting restrictions for hotels, restaurants, cafes

Travellers entering the country will have had to be vaccinated with any of the six COVID-19 vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). [EFE/CATI CLADERA]

Spain’s health ministry is in favour of gradually lifting restrictions for the hotel, restaurant and cafes sector known as HORECA and is mulling the reopening of nightlife activities for medium-risk regions for COVID-19. EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.

Nightly restrictions have already been lifted in low-risk regions, but with the new COVID-19 measures to be implemented in June being flexible, these should be updated depending on how the pandemic evolves, official sources told EFE.

Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias on Tuesday (8 June) proposed softening the health strategy adopted last week, after opposition from several Spanish regions, including Madrid.

Spain to also accept travellers with cheaper rapid antigen tests

Spain will allow travellers to enter the country as of Monday if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, present a negative PCR test or show that they have taken the much cheaper rapid antigen test. EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported. 

Equipped airports

As the vaccination campaign gathers pace, Spain on Monday one of the first eight EU countries to issue and accept the Green Pass with QR codes, which allows travellers to move freely in the continent without having to show negative COVID-19 tests or go into quarantine if they meet the required criteria.

Almost all big Spanish airports are now equipped with the new digital travel documents. 

As of Monday, vaccinated travellers from outside the EU’s free-travel area can also enter Spain without restrictions as long as they can present a vaccine certificate proving they are fully vaccinated 14 days before travel. 

For tourists coming from low-risk zones such as the UK, proof of vaccination is not required. 

Spain to reopen nightlife for summer season

Spain plans to reopen nightlife venues in regions with fewer COVID-19 cases in time for the summer season as the country eyes an international tourism sector badly hit by the pandemic, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported. 

Only approved vaccines

Travellers entering the country will have had to be vaccinated with any of six of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). These include the Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Jonhson & Johnson  and the two Chinese-made jabs, Sinopharm and Sinovac.

COVID-19 transmission rates continue to drop in Spain as health authorities in some regions have started to vaccinate citizens in the 40-49 age group.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of British tourists have in the last hours flocked to Portugal’s airports to return home before quarantine rules were re-imposed in the UK after the government removed the popular tourist destination from its safe travel list.

The restrictions announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government last week came into force in the early hours of Tuesday. 

[Edited by Daniel Eck and Josie Le Blond]

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