Spain travel advice: latest FCO guidance on flights, holidays and lockdowns - and quarantine rules for visitors returning to the UK

Spain began welcoming UK visitors in June – but what are the new rules in place for travellers returning to the UK?

Monday, 24th August 2020, 3:25 pm

Spain has been reintroduced to the UK Government’s so-called ‘red list’, meaning travellers returning to Britain from the country will once again have to self-isolate for 14 days.

One of the most popular holiday destinations among British tourists, Spain had been included on the travel corridors list since the roster of countries was first made public early in July.

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But a spike in the number of coronavirus infections in recent weeks, and the reimposition of lockdown measures on citizens has led to a fear of a 'second wave'.

(Photo: Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
(Photo: Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

In response, the UK Government removed the country from its exemptions list of 26 July.

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Health minister Helen Whately told the BBC the bringing back of the quarantine rules was the "right thing to do" as the UK's virus rate must be kept "right down" to avoid a second spike.

She urged anyone considering booking a holiday to "be mindful that we are still in the situation of a global pandemic".

Tourists wait to check in for the first package tour flight to Mallorca since March, at Dusseldorf Airport (Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Here’s everything you need to know:

What are the lockdown restrictions in Spain?

Many of Spain’s municipal authorities and regional governments have issued advice to visitors and residents, and have imposed controls on opening hours for bars and nightclubs.

The use of face coverings is mandatory for anyone over the age of 6 years old on all forms of public transport in Spain and in many other indoor and outdoor public spaces.

Most regions in Spain have now made the use of face masks obligatory in both indoor and outdoor public spaces, even when social distancing of 1.5 metres is observed. Penalties may be imposed if you do not comply.

Social distancing measures and other safety precautions should continue to be observed at all times in Spain.

For more information on Spain’s social distancing measures, head to the FCO’s website

Have there been any local lockdowns?

A number of local outbreaks of COVID-19 have been identified since the end of the country’s ‘State of Alarm’ of 21 June (Spain is now in the ‘new normal’ phase of its de-escalation strategy).

You can consult this Ministry of Health map for information on their locations, and if you are staying in any of the affected areas, the FCO advise that you “follow the advice of the local authorities.”

One of those outbreaks in Catalonia has affected parts of the Barcelona metropolitan area, where local authorities have asked residents only to leave their accommodation for essential activities.

Meetings of more than 10 people in public or private are prohibited, and the authorities have ordered the closures of nightclubs, gyms, and restrictions to the capacity and opening hours of bars and restaurants.

Do I have to quarantine when I arrive in Spain?

British nationals no longer need to present a residency certificate to enter Spain, and travellers arriving from the United Kingdom are not required to self-isolate on arrival in Spain.

However, travellers are subject to the following three requirements, and must:

- Provide the Spanish Ministry of Health with contact information and any history of exposure to COVID-19, 48 hours prior to travel

- Undergo a temperature check

- Undergo a visual health assessment

Anyone who presents symptoms or fails one of the above requirements will be seen by a health professional.

Do I have to self-isolate when I return to the UK?

On 3 July, the FCO updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ travel, exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers.

Spain was one of the countries assessed as no longer presenting an unacceptably high risk to British people travelling abroad, but it has since been removed from the ‘safe’ list following a surge in cases.

This means travellers once again have to undergo a 14-day mandatory self-isolation period on their return to the UK.

After Spain was added back on to the list, junior health minister Helen Whately told Sky News the UK has “to keep the situation under review and I think that is what the public would expect us to do.

“If we see rates going up in a country where at the moment there is no need to quarantine, if we see the rates going up, we would have to take action because we cannot take the risk of coronavirus being spread again across the UK,” she added.

According to Whately, Britain is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation in Germany and France, and continuously reviewing the situation in popular holiday destinations.