From 14 November, travellers staying in tourist accommodation in the Canaries must supply a negative covid test – here are the rules:
- applies to everyone over six years of age
- tourist accommodation means hotels, tourist apartments with a sole agent and reception, and residential property registered under the VV or rural tourism schemes (nothing else is legal for tourists to stay in)
- test must be for the diagnosis of active infection, and so showing antigens not antibodies
- test must be physically done no more than 72 hours before arrival at accomodation (so factor in time to get results, fly, get through the airport and to your accommodation)
- if negative, the certificate can be supplied in paper or digital form
- If positive go into isolation where you are and do not come here
- if you’re staying in more than one place you will have to produce further tests once the previous test is more than 72 hours old; once you’ve been here 15 days you will then be able to self-declare that you’ve been in the Canaries without symptoms for 15 days and so will not require a test
- tourist establishments are required by law to deny access to accommodation for visitors who don’t have the test
- they are also required by law to instruct their guests to download the track and trace app (see HERE). The Canarian Government has confirmed that this is then a legal liability on the tourist with fines of up to €60,000 for breaches of tourism law if they don’t, or if they delete it or fail to maintain it active
- not having the right phone doesn’t give an exemption. If you can’t, don’t want to, or won’t download the app, and wish to access regulated tourist accommodation, I would advise either to change the phone or go to a destination outside the Canaries where it isn’t required
- one phone per group will be OK because there is a group option to enter details of travellers as is clear when you click on the site to download the app
- fuller details are below
Updated 10 November: As Sue has said in the readers’ comments below, “The posters for hotels etc that I commented on previously have thankfully now been corrected to say that the RADAR App is “obligatorio” so it is good that the discrepancy has been fixed.” Downloading the app is a confirmed legal requirement, in the law as obligatory and part of the booking-in procedure where access to accommodation is only permitted if the visitor has a test certificate showing a negative result AND has been instructed to download the app and keep it on. This is the legal requirement imposed on the accommodation providers, whether hotels, sole agents, private VV-registered owners of residential apartments.
If a visitor then disables or removes the app, the legal liability instantly transfers to them, and fines for violating emergency public health measures are up to €60,000 so for those inclined to mock it, do by all means ridicule the chances of being caught … but that’s a big sum to crowdfund from people who may be less than sympathetic to someone holidaying in a pandemic while explicitly violating emergency health measures intended to improve our chances of staying safe.
As has also been discussed in the comments below, some hotels are now offering tests here as an alternative to visitors bringing test results with them. The law views testing here as an exception but it’s the hotels that bear the legal responsibility and they can normalise it if they’re prepared to bear the expense, which some obviously are. The drawback for guests is that they’ll have to isolate in their room apart from going for the test and will have to remain there until they have their results, however long they might take to come through. After 15 days in these islands everyone is considered safe but depending on the efficiency of the lab doing the testing, tourists could be stuck in their room for the entirety of their fortnight’s holiday. Another drawback is that anyone who tests positive here won’t be able just to go home and relax in home comfort, nor even stay in their hotel, but be taken off to the ITER houses where all the positive cases will be housed until they recover or need to go into hospital.
Updated 5 November: There are plenty of hills to die on and tourism is not one of mine. But I’ve now had a few emails from prospective tourists who have been contacted by their “accommodation providers” (not further defined and, oddly the same term in each of them) to say that they should not bother getting a test before coming here because although required (which suggests regulated accommodation) they can have a private one done locally.
As I say, this is not a hill I’m remotely interested in dying on, but the decree says:
Excepcionalmente, en el supuesto de que el usuario turístico no acredite su sometimiento al test diagnóstico, pero demuestre su disponibilidad para realizárselo, podrá autorizarse su acceso y pernoctación el tiempo imprescindible para obtener los resultados. En este caso, el usuario turístico no podrá abandonar la habitación salvo para realizar el test y recoger los resultados.
Exceptionally, should a tourist not bring proof of the diagnostic test, but is prepared to have one done, then it’s permitted to let them stay for the time needed to get results … they have to stay in their room except to go for the tests and then get the results.
Exceptionally. Not “as an alternative”, but as an exception, for cases perhaps like those who simply cannot get a test done because of a last-minute booking, or perhaps have mislaid the certificate they’re required to produce. An exception, not a routine alternative. Emails to tourists suggesting otherwise are misleading and misrepresent the law, and I would point to another clause in the overall law that the decree amends that says:
Artículo 76.- Infracciones graves. Constituyen infracciones graves a la normativa turística:
- La publicidad turística engañosa, las ofertas equívocas, la omisión de la información relativa a los requisitos …
Serious offences. The following will be considered serious offences against tourism legislation:
Deceptive tourism advertising, misleading offers, omission of information about requirements …
Fines for infracciones graves of tourism legislation range from €3,000 to €60,000. In a pandemic where tourism law is being used as a vehicle for public health emergency measures you can be absolutely certain that they will be nearer the top end than the bottom! And in any case as I’ve posted before in various places, going by what people are saying really quite widely, private tests have anything but a solid reputation. I’m just saying.
Updated 4 November: The British Government has issued THIS updated information on the new testing rules. GovUK says:
From November 14th until further notice, if you’re travelling to the Canary Islands and are booked into regulated tourist accommodation, you will be obliged to:
- produce an official, negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours earlier, when checking in to your accommodation.
- download and activate the Radar COVID notification app throughout your stay on the islands, and for 15 days after your return home.
These measures apply to all guests aged 7 years and over, unless they have proof of travel confirming their uninterrupted presence on the islands for the previous 15 days. Any traveller failing to comply, risks being refused access to accommodation. For further information, refer to guidance from the Canarian tourist board, and check with your accommodation provider prior to travel.
In my opinion this is now as clear as it ever needed to be:
- applies to those arriving on and after 14th November
- applies to anyone over the age of 6 (so from and including 7 years old upwards)
- applies ONLY to tourist accommodation – which means:
- apartments that are touristic (24 hour reception, agent on site)
- any property that is legally registered under tourism law – so VV or rural tourism (they will be displaying an official plaque saying this)
Any other tourist accommodation will not be legal and that brings a whole heap of other problems for both owner and tourist. I hope you will understnd my reasons for, now, just deleting any questions that indicate that this has not been read, and it cannot be clearer so there is no point trying to clarify for anyone who still cannot understand it.
Updated 3 November: Turismo has made available for tourist establishments a range of materials and advice about the rules, as well as posters etc that they are legally responsible for when tourists arrive. Please click HERE for full details from the Canarian Government.
Updated 2 November: Turismo has now confirmed in English that the start date for the test requirement is 14 November. Please see HERE.
Updated 5.30pm, 31/10: Canarian Government has confirmed start date for the test requirement is Saturday 14 November – THIS is from Turismo Canarias’ official account. The 13th is clearly the last day of the grace period rather than the first day of the requirement … or, in my view, they’ve taken “the next day” from publication to be a working day, and so Monday rather than Sunday (BOC publications are usually on a weekday).
Updated 5pm, 31/10: For those who prefer to view rather than read, THIS is brilliant by Tim Dowd. It’s what I’ve written below but in video form AND it includes a great Q&A session because Tim does a youtube vlog. It is super, and very very helpful.
Updated pm, 31/10: The decree, HERE, is a single measure to establish a regime for access to tourist accommodation. The Canarian Government cannot control its international borders because that is not a devolved power but it can control tourism, which is. As such, the Canarian Government says that its measures in this decree are within its powers to control tourism and restrict access to tourist accommodation: the decree will remain in place until further notice. This means that these measures are related only to those staying in regulated touristic accomodation, ie hotels, touristic complexes of apartments, and residential property registered for holiday letting under the Vivienda Vacacional scheme.
Any and all international arrivals to Spain, however, have to provide a passenger location form for track and trace purposes, paper or digital (see HERE and HERE for other rules in place). This means that anyone letting out unregulated holiday accommodation, ie illegal lets, is putting themselves at enormous risk, first for illegal letting and secondly for putting up tourists without the mandatory test that all tourists have to provide: fines for violation of emergency health measures run into the many tens, sometimes hundreds, of thousands … I’m just saying what the situation is.
So, the legislation’s provisions are:
- A test certifying that any visitor over the age of six is not positive for covid19 is required before they are allowed to access their tourist accommodation. This test is described as “test de diagnóstico de infección activa” – diagnostic test of active infection, which is the official generic name of this type of test: the term is used because different tests are constantly being developed by researchers, some more reliable and easier to carry out than others, and the specific test is therefore less important than it being one that diagnoses an active infection. (My understanding is that what is required are PCR/antigen tests because they show active infection whereas antibody tests show that there has been an infection in the past).
- The test certification can be provided in digital or paper form, and must show the identity of the person tested, the lab doing the testing, and the negative result. It must also show by means of date and time that it was carried out a maximum of 72 hours before arrival (I know this is an issue so this means that the test must be physically carried out no more than 72 hours before arrival at accommodation … so you have to factor in time to get the results and to fly here).
- The test should be done before the visitor leaves their country of origin but can be done here in designated places prior to the visitor accessing their accommodation. Tourist establishments will be responsible for telling them where they can get that test and are required to deny access to any visitor not complying with this decree’s regulations. In the case of a visitor without a test certificate but who is prepared to get one immediately, they can allow access to the accommodation overnight and the visitor must remain under lockdown except to go for the test and get its results with the establishment legally liable for violation. (Anyone who gets a positive result in a test carried out here will be required to stay in isolating accommodation – see 6pm, 29/10 update below).
- Tourist establishments are responsible for getting visitors to make a formal agreement of compliance, and verifying the certification they provide, on accessing their accommodation, and from now on for telling people at the point of booking of the requirements. They must also have signs and notices in at least five languages with information in reception areas. These must include the requirement for visitors to download the covid Radar app (see HERE) for the purposes of track and trace, and keep it active during their stay in the Canaries, and for 15 days following their return.
- Residents who are staying in tourist accommodation but who have already been in the Canaries for 15 days can instead make a formal legal declaration for Sanidad records that they have not left the islands in that period and that they have not had symptoms in that time. They will have to supply their residence registration document as well. Non-residents can also make the declaration if they have been here a fortnight already but will be required to show travel documents to prove it if they cannot produce a Registro/TIE. This is because they will have already been here for the period in which they could be expected to become ill and therefore represent no risk for Sanidad’s capacity. Nevertheless, given the epidemiological uncertainty of the pandemic abroad as well as here, the regional Government can modify the rule to make tests compulsory in these cases too.
- Although not applicable at the moment, should the UK require those returning home to have test results or go into quarantine, this decree requires tourist establishments here to advise people where they can get such a test if they want one.
- Tourist establishments are responsible for keeping records of all certifications, compliance statements, etc., for Sanidad under data protection rules.
- The decree will be law tomorrow (day after publication), and will apply to tourist accommodation arrivals from 10 working days after that – by my calculations that is Friday 13 November.
Updated 31 October: HERE is the legislation published this morning in the BOC. I am tied up today but will deal with it later, but at least you have the link to see the law direct for now.
Updated 6pm, 30/10: This decree is likely to be published in the BOC tomorrow. It is likely but not certain to contain the following stipulations which appear to be the main concerns for visitors:
- traveller must be over 12 years of age
- test must be carried out a maximum of 72 hours prior to arrival and must certify that the traveller has not tested positive as a transmitter of covid19
- tourist accommodation must provide information about the test requirements before finalising a booking
- residents staying in tourist accommodation will be exempt provided they can show legal residence and makes a formal legal declaration that they have not left the Canaries for the previous 15 days
- also exempt will be non-residents who can show by means of travel documents that they have not left the Canaries for the 15 days prior to arriving at their tourist accommodation
- tourist establishments must tell tourists to whom they deny access because of the lack of a test where they can get the nearest test here in Tenerife or provide such in the establishment itself at the cost of the tourist. Visitors will be able to stay in their booked accommodation overnight or for the time needed only to get the test and results here, but in the meanwhile may not leave their individual accommodation except to take the test and collect the results.
- all tourist establishments must make information about the test requirements available in their receptions in a minimum of five languages
- tourist establishments must keep documentary registration information available for Sanidad (Canarias) along with accrediting documentation as required by the decree: all personal information is protected by data legislation
- before finalising a booking, tourist establishments must inform visitors that they are required to download the covid app, keep it active during their stay and for 15 days after their return home.
Updated 30 October: I’m closing this to comments and have deleted at least a dozen identical questions that cannot be answered because as I’ve said several times already I can’t answer questions about a law that I haven’t seen yet! We have to wait for the law to be published for further detail.
Updated 6pm, 29/10: The Canarian Cabinet has approved the decree which will require all tourists staying in regulated accommodation to present a prior negative covid test for active infection carried out 72 hours beforehand with proof required before access is allowed to their accommodation. This proof will be a certificate that can be presented telematically or in paper form, confirming the diagnostic test and its result, and will include details of date and time of test, verifying laboratory, and the negative result.
We’ll have more detail when the decree is published, hopefully tomorrow or Saturday. It will come into legal effect the day after publication but won’t be applied until ten days after that, effectively giving a period of grace and time for people who have already booked flights to get a test without having to cancel.
Meanwhile, Tenerife President Pedro Martín said today that the Cabildo has made available to Sanidad (Canarias) 100 places in the 24 ITER bioclimatic houses near the Granadilla megaport. President Martín said that he hoped Ashotel would ensure that the hotel sector would make available any extra accommodation needed for infected tourists required to isolate by Sanidad.
Updated 29 October: No, there is no more information yet. The measures have to be approved by Cabinet and that meets today. They may announce what has been decided later today, or it might be tomorrow. Even then it won’t be the published measures which will be the only secure way of knowing exactly what is required. The Bill is likely to be published in the BOC tomorrow or Saturday. As soon as they say what they’ve decided I’ll post, and as soon as it’s published I’ll post a link and try to identify any differences between what they’ve said and what they end up publishing. Until I make those posts I have no more information ….
Original post 26 October: The Canaries could soon have a law that requires covid tests for tourists from the mainland and further afield. Regional president Ángel Torres said this evening that businesses, unions and island Cabildos have backed the proposed legislation which will be put to Cabinet for approval this week. Canarian tourism minister Yaiza Castilla explained in a joint press call with Torres that the measure would require a negative covid test for arrivals to tourism establishments: these are currently unspecified but will presumably be legal tourism accommodation such as hotels, touristic complexes and residential apartments registered under the Vivienda Vacacional scheme.
We will have to wait to see the decree – assuming it’s actually approved this week – before we know exactly what the measures will comprise, but from what has been said so far it appears that a test – unclear which type – will be have to be carried out, almost certainly at the traveller’s expense, to accredit that they are not carrying the virus: at present it is not clear whether the decree will require the test to be carried out at home before departure or immediately on arrival but it appears that if before departure it will need to have been carried out around 48 hours or so beforehand, perhaps up to 72 hours. Again we need the detail from the legislation before making categoric statements.
Torres said that the plans had been put in place before Germany and the UK had lifted their no-fly advice, and it seems that those Governments’ announcements took the regional authorities by surprise. Apparently although they were hoping that the no-fly advice would be lifted they expected to have time to put such as these plans into effect ready for that event. Torres and Castilla said that the plans were unique in Spain’s regions and would not actually impose a test forcibly but would allow the regional authorities to refuse admission to regulated accommodation to anyone without one.
It’s also possible that the officially underwritten AXA insurance policy (see HERE) for those with covid-related expenses would be unavailable to anyone without one regardless of the accommodation they’re staying in … again we need the legislation for details.
I wasn’t going to post this until we had clarity but my inbox has exploded tonight …