Gomarbella visitors and even my family have asked if it is safe to travel to Spain this summer. By way of answer look at the picture. Day 71 of our lockdown you see me in the big Carrefour hypermarket in Estepona. We’ve just been allowed to drive out of our hometowns. I’m wearing my own mask. A security guard gave me gloves at the shop entrance. Wearing masks in enclosed public areas is going to be compulsory this summer. By and large every precaution will be taken for your safety when you travel to Spain. Expect hygiene and rules. It’s for everybody’s safety.
When can we travel to Spain?
As I write in early June, Spain’s international frontiers remain closed until the 1st of July 2020. The ‘state of alarm’ in Spain is due to end on 21 June meaning that the country will have successfully passed through all four phases of the eight-week de-escalation. We will have reached the state of ‘new normality,’ and be ready to welcome national and international tourism.
Is there Coronavirus in Spain?
Yes. I’d like to say we are clear but not yet. What I can say is that the numbers in Spain are looking much more positive. From a peak of 950 deaths in 24 hours in early April, we’re down to an average of 7 deaths from Coronavirus per day at the beginning of June. That’s out of a population of nearly 47 000 000 people. Spain’s Coronavirus death numbers don´t look positive against other countries. That’s because unfortunately, a large percentage of the fatalities were amongst the older section of the population living in care homes. However, the ‘R’ figure at the beginning of June is 0.67 which is very promising. Having lived through our lockdown, I’d say it’s safer to travel to Spain than a number of other countries.
Will I be safe on holiday in Spain?
Whatever difficulties the government has had in getting the numbers right, the workers in the hospitality industry know exactly what to do to keep you safe. Arriving at international airports you’ll see new signage and reminders to keep your distance and online check in will be encouraged. Baggage reclaim will be revised and passengers may have to answer a health questionnaire on arrival although the emphasis will be on as little contact as possible on entry. As I write you won’t be asked to quarantine for 14 days. Start packing!
Is it safe to stay in hotels and go out to restaurants in Spain?
Expect high standards of hygiene in hotels
As I said above, at ground level the tourism industry knows exactly what is needed by law. Hotels are scrupulously cleaned and disinfected. Access to the hotels’ swimming pools is controlled and poolside attendants should clean and disinfect them between users. Write to me if you are looking for somewhere safe to stay down on the south coast. I´ll check it out for you.
You’ll be served by masked waiters and waitresses in restaurants.
Restaurants are required by law to provide a safe distance between tables and waiters and waitresses have to wear masks. Payment by touch card minimises contact. You might find that with less tables available it is a good idea to make prior bookings for your evenings out.
Remember to social distance especially on the beaches.
On the beaches the beach beds are laid out using a tape measure to ensure a minimum distance. Beach wardens and municipal police will ensure social distancing backed up by drones. When a beach looks overcrowded, wardens will block access. In the north of Spain where the Atlantic tides reduce beach space by up to 50m to a minimum at high tide, the allocation of space for beach beds is worked out mathematically. Don’t think that down on the Mediterranean coast things will be less relaxed. Cameras on lamp posts along the 7km Fuengirola Paseo Maritimo will scan the beaches for signs of overcrowding. An 89 year old friend was fined €600 for sitting on a bench on the Paseo in Fuengirola on the first day of lockdown. Do follow instructions. The fines are not small.
Can we go out to discotheques to dance in Spain this summer?
I knew you’d ask that. Right now the answer is no. Not if you are wanting to dance. Discotheques will however, be able to play music and serve drinks. Most likely you’ll see would-be dancers sitting at tables on the dance floor.
Spain is (or was) an enormously tactile and friendly country. As always you’ll be made very welcome because we really do need our tourists back. Everybody will be working to make it safe to travel to Spain. However, in the end it’ll be down to you to take precautions where social distancing is concerned. My best suggestion to you this summer is to avoid crowded places such as discotheques and crowded bars. Enjoy your stay and stay safe!