NB: Tenerife is in Phase 2 of a de-escalation process within a state of emergency (estado de alarma). There are more relaxed measures in Phase 2, the ten main rules are as follows:
- face masks must be worn at all times in public transport as well as in any public space (in or outdoors) where a 2m physical distance cannot be maintained – there are exceptions for those with breathing problems and anyone doing something where it’s impossible but they must carry a mask to use when they have stopped their activity
- there is no restriction on people going in cars with others but if they are not from the same household all must wear facemasks
- there is no restriction on people going for a walk or to exercise but for the moment the over-70s still have a reserved time slot 10am-12noon and 7-8pm and should stay within their municipio – this limitation is apparently also going to end soon
- social groups of up to 15 can meet in venues or each others’ homes – physical distancing required
- restaurants and bars can open and allow people inside (nightclubs & discos cannot open in phase 2) – capacity restrictions and distancing requirements will apply and will be signposted on site
- we can go anywhere within Tenerife (in fact the western province) for any reason but should use local beaches rather than heading for the most popular ones because there are restrictions on numbers – local rules will vary and will be signposted on site
- shops and commercial centres are open, as are museums, libraries, cinemas, churches, etc – various specific restrictions will apply and will be signposted on site
- driving lessons and exams can take place, and most administrative offices and ITV stations will be open for official procedures – all will have restrictions which will be advised and signposted, and an appointment is almost certainly going to be needed (any deadlines that have been suspended are likely to resume from 1 June, as is the case with ITVs for cars)
- hikes in group of up to 20 are allowed but must be with an official active tourism organizer or business
- only legal residents (plus Spanish nationals and a very few other exceptions) may enter the country. Legal residents will have a green Certificado de Registro, and must have it with them. All arrivals must go into quarantine in their own homes for a fortnight after entering the country: the quarantine system will be in place for all arrivals before the end of June.
Updated 10.30am, 29/5: Canarian tourism minister Yaiza Castilla has said that although expectations inevitably rose once Pedro Sánchez said borders would be reopening to tourism from 1 July, its restart in the islands will be a much slower process than people seem to think. As I’ve already said in a futile attempt to manage expectations, Sánchez’ “announcement” was a statement of desire as much as intent, and along with it he called for a national debate next month on how tourism could be reactivated throughout Spain. In the Canaries, in any case, regional President Torres has consistently sounded a cautious note, indicating that international tourism may not even start in these islands before September, if then. None of this has been focused on by the majority of media, however, who have reported little other than Sánchez words, and in a way that indicated Spain’s borders would be thrown open to all and sundry from the end of next month.
Castilla said that many factors other than health security were involved in reopening the Canaries to tourists from outside of Spain, not least the economic hit of the covid19 pandemic, which has affected many people’s ability to afford holidays. There are also considerations beyond the control of Spain itself, with various countries’ border control decisions and flight availability potentially impacting visitors’ ability to travel. Castilla, taking part on behalf of the Canaries in Sánchez interterritorial conference about how to restart tourism in Spain, has effectively confirmed what I’ve been trying to caution for several weeks now: international tourism to the Canaries will not be restarting any time soon, and when it does it will be slow. If we have anything even approaching a normal winter season this year I think we will be able to consider ourselves very fortunate … from an economic and tourism perspective. From a health perspective, some might prefer to wait even longer.
Updated 29 May: The system for registration of foreigners resident in Spain, a legal requirement for all who come to live here within three months of arrival in the country, has been restarted with appointments available from Tuesday 2 June. Diana McGowan explains that British Nationals will only be able to register and acquire their green Certificado de Registro at the Extranjeria in Calle La Marina, Santa Cruz: appointments are required and are in slots between 9am and 1.30pm Monday to Friday. Appointments can be made online HERE, but Diana advises that places are limited.
Updated 28 May: La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa will move into phase 3 this coming Monday, 1 June. Tenerife and the rest of the Canaries will naturally remain in phase 2.
Updated 5pm, 26/5: The Tenerife Cabildo has issued its rules for use of the mountains now that the forest fire alert has been lifted, and explains that although the area is open to the public, use is subject to restrictions imposed as part of phase 2 of the de-escalation process. As such, camping zones, recreational areas, and visitor centres will remain closed for the time being, but walking and other sporting activities can be undertaken individually or in groups up to 20, always respecting physical distancing requirements, and only when organized through active tourism clubs, sporting associations, official authorities, or registered businesses or individuals. The Cabildo says that although the forest fire alert has been lifted, conditions are still critical because of high temperatures and so the public should take the utmost care to leave the area safe and as found.
Updated 26 May: I don’t know what’s been published in the British press but I’ve had a rush of enquiries about people assuming they can come back from 1 July. Clearly the impression is out there that Spain’s borders are going to be open again from then to all comers, and without quarantine. The last bit is almost certainly right: the Government has said that it plans to remove the quarantine requirement for all arrivals after 1 July. The rest is not.
Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez has said that he wants Spain to open up to international tourism from 1 July, and for that reason he wants an interterritorial conference to take place next month with tourism authorities from around Spain contributing thoughts and ideas to help the country plan its return as an international tourist destination from 1 July. That is all the information there is at present.
In my opinion, no-one should book flights, even if they can find them, on this basis. There is no guarantee whatsoever that tourism will actually restart on 1 July, nor what form it will take, nor whether there will be any restrictions imposed on certain countries nor what criteria might be in place to determine whether restrictions should be imposed. Others might think differently, and go ahead and book their tickets, but please do so in the full knowledge that we have no idea of what will happen other than, I repeat, Sánchez wants international tourism to restart from 1 July and the country will debate the whole issue through next month to decide what, when, where, if and how.
Updated 25 May: This is lovely! As the Canaries and much of Spain moves into Phase 2, PM Pedro Sánchez has released the following video. He says we’re doing this! Thanks to the effort and responsibility of everyone we’ve managed to get this far. It’s you who’ve pushed the virus back and put Spain securely on the road to its new normality. As the video says, you’re stronger than you knew, and now you do know it!
Lo estamos consiguiendo. Gracias al esfuerzo y responsabilidad de todas y todos hemos llegado hasta aquí. Sois vosotros los que habéis hecho retroceder al virus.
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) May 25, 2020
Updated 24 May: I would like to address the issue of walks for the over-70s and groups considered vulnerable because although I have been the first to complain about everyone being “confused” about completely straightforward rules – at least in terms of the famous British common sense – I myself now find one rule that appears “confusing”.
The confusion arises because the order publishing the relaxation measures for phase 2 a week or so ago established that anyone up to the age of 70 could carry out their sport or physical exercise at any time, without time slots, except for those reserved for the 70+s. These hours we will remember are 10am-12 noon and 7-8pm. We will also recall that the regions were given the right to adapt these time slots by a couple of hours should they be in areas which became too hot in those original slots.
So far so clear. Then on Wednesday, national Health Secretary Salvador Illa said in his weekly appearance in Congress’ Health Committee that all time slots would be eliminated in phase 2, and that even further relaxation measures would be added to those originally envisaged because of the positive way the outbreak was evolving.
Within a few hours of that, director of the Spanish Health Alerts & Emergencies Coordination Centre Fernando Simón seemed to attempt to clarify by saying that time slots were indeed eliminated except for those relating to the 70+s and those considered vulnerable. In their cases, he said, regional authorities and/or ayuntamientos would determine what the times would be: “si bien deberán ser las Comunidades Autónomas o ayuntamientos los que las delimiten”.
To round off his comments, Simón said that the Government was working on a new ministerial Order that would correlate all the various requests from Spain’s regions in an attempt to find a consensus on the matter. It seems to me, therefore, that there remains no clarity on the matter of walks for the 70+s, with an actual BOE-published Order saying time slots remain for them superseded by confirmation of their elimination by the Minister of Health himself – now in complete control of Spain’s covid19 response, countered by the Emergencies Centre Director with “it’s up to the regions”.
We must hope that Simón’s promise of a Ministerial Order clarifying the matter will be realised soon, but for the moment, for me, Illa’s comments are crystal clear and he is the ultimate authority. If there is a new Order stating time slots remain or an announcement by the Canarian Government on the matter for us regionally, I’ll post it of course.
*In terms of the elderly, those who wish to visit an elderly person in a residencial home will not be able to in the Canaries even though nationally it’s allowed in phase 2. The Canarian Government has chosen to maintain the restriction in this respect in the region, something they’re able to do – they can be more restrictive than the national measures, but not less so.* (** edited 25 May)
Updated 23 May: When Tenerife moves into Phase 2 on Monday along with 47% of the rest of the country, various aspects of life will become more flexible. Beaches are opening up, with many councils now making announcements about social distancing still being required, which beaches are conditioned for swimmers, which for recreational or sporting use: there are so many variations that it would be a hopeless task to try to correlate them all here, and indeed the slightest change in any of the municipal regulations would need to be amended in the post and that would require constant monitoring – it is unachievable. Anyone who wants information about a beach, therefore, will need to check with their local ayuntamiento to see what rules are in place for which beaches locally.
As far as swimming in communal pools is concerned, this was never anticipated for phase 2, and indeed has not been explicitly covered by the measure. Community pools may not reopen *unless they can comply with the strict measures in place HERE – something that the association of administrators has said most will be unable to do* (** edited 24 May). A community administrator will be able to explain why in detail though Clio and I have covered the reasons for this in one of the recent podcasts. Public swimming pools in towns will be open for the public but under strict limitations: the management of each will advise on the regulations and incorporate any additional measures required by any given local ayuntamiento.
Time slots for walks are totally eliminated including that for the over-70s which was originally going to be kept in place: *this is a developing situation with the BOE-published legislation maintaining time slots for the 70+s but with the Government saying changes will be announced soon* (** edited 24 May). Children will no longer be limited to groups of three with one adult for walks but those walking together must be from the same household. People will be able to get together in social groups of up to 15 instead of 10, but the restrictions on staying within a province remain. Similarly the number in groups practising “active tourism” or hiking in nature, and the like, is increased to 20 but must still be under the auspices of organized tourism businesses.
Diners will be able to eat inside restaurants and bars, but with clear physical distance and hygiene requirements as well as capacity restrictions. Nightclubs and discos remain closed, however. Commercial centres will be able to reopen with clear limitations on locales being allowed to trade (only those under 400 m2 or if larger then 400m2 must be cordoned off for use), numbers entering (40%), and use of communal areas (only for transit, not use): clear requirements for hygiene and physical distancing will also be employed, with signs placed to advise the public about what they can and can’t do. Shops under 400m2 which cannot allow a 2m physical distance may only allow one shopper in at a time, and must offer preferential times for the over-65s. The public is instructed that the shops are not open for them to browse, but for them to get in, get what they need, and get straight out again.
Tráfico has confirmed that driving lessons and exams will resume from Monday, again with clear hygiene and physical distancing requirements which driving instructors and examiners will know about officially. Tráfico also says that regional Jefaturas will reopen to the public for procedures but with prior appointment only. Building works will be able to resume in occupied buildings provided hygiene and physical distancing measures can be maintained.
The PM has stressed that although Spain seems to be opening up, it simply reflects the ground gained against the virus which is still around. We have to comply with the restrictions and limitations of the de-escalation phases because we’re still in a health emergency, and must proceed with caution and responsibility.
On a more general level, Sánchez has announced that the main Spanish football season will resume next month, and that tourism will resume in July. There are no further details at present as to what restrictions might apply, such as spectator limitations for football, nor what restrictions might apply to the international visitors Sánchez is anticipating. All that can be said right now is that Sánchez has encouraged Spaniards to organize staycations for this summer.
No doubt this will all become clearer in coming weeks when we will also see how the de-escalation is going, and whether we get a second wave of the pandemic or not. One other thing that will be clearer, and next week too, is a promise of information about what’s been touted as a “universal income” but which Sánchez calls an ingreso mínimo vital – a minimum living wage. Meanwhile, face masks remain compulsory on public transport, and in any public space indoors or out where 2m physical distancing cannot be maintained, and anyone who can get into the country must go into quarantine for a fortnight immediately on arrival.
Finally, Sánchez has announced an official period of mourning from Tuesday for all those whose lives were taken by covid19. The official luto will be for ten days, the longest official mourning period ever held in Spain.
Updated 1.30pm, 22/5: Tenerife, along with Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Palma will indeed move into Phase 2 from Monday. More detail later.
Updated 22 May: The national Government has announced that those municipios with under 10,000 residents which are still in Phases 0 and 1 will no longer have any time slots for adult exercise and children’s walks nor a limit of three children together with one adult, provided the group comprises only those who are members of one household. They will not, either, have to remain within 1km of home, but will be able to go out within 5km of home even if that crosses a municipal boundary, provided that the neighbouring municipio is also a lower population one in either Phase 0 or 1.
These smaller municipalities in Phases 0 and 1 may now also allow catering establishments other than discos and nightclubs to reopen for consumption on the premises. The Order has been published HERE in the BOE, and comes into effect today, the result, Sanidad explains, not only of the de-escalation going well but because more and more information and results are available to assist decision makers. The Government is therefore able to make decisions in real time, but Tenerife is of course hoping anyway to move into Phase 2 from Monday, with the formal request already made by the regional Government and an announcement expected over this weekend.
Updated 10pm, 20/5: Congress has approved a fifth extension of the estado de alarma for a fortnight. The state of emergency therefore now runs to 00.00h 7 June. The extension will appear in the BOE in the near future.
Updated 20 May: The regulation concerning face masks has now been published in the BOE HERE. It requires us to wear a face mask from tomorrow in all public spaces, open and closed and including streets, wherever a 2m physical distance cannot be maintained, and as before on public transport at all times. Any type of mask will be accepted but would ideally be an hygenic or surgical one, and one in any case that covers the nose and mouth. The rules come into force tomorrow 21 May and apply to anyone 6 years of age and over with the exception of those who have medical reasons not to wear one (respiratory conditions, practical problems because of disability etc), or are carrying out activities, sporting or in the workplace, where wearing a mask would be incompatible with the activity, or are in a situation of compelling need.
Updated 19 May: The Spanish Government will after all ask Congress to approve just a fortnight’s further extension of the estado de alarma after it proved just too difficult to get a consensus for the full month that Sánchez wanted. Given that desire, this is likely not to be the last fortnight, but it does appear that the Government has the numbers now for a successful vote extending the state of emergency to 00.00h 7 June. Congress is likely to debate the issue tomorrow so we won’t have long to wait to find out.
Meanwhile, although we’re still waiting final confirmation of the published measures that are to come into force regarding face masks, national Health Secretary Salvador Illa said today that it will be obligatory to wear one not just on public transport, as is currently required anyway, but also in any closed spaces and in open spaces in public where 2m physical distancing can’t be guaranteed. The measure will come into force once it’s published in the BOE, again likely to be tomorrow or very soon thereafter.
Updated 18 May: And so La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa are now in Phase 2 while Tenerife and the rest of the Canaries remain in Phase 1 … for now. Regional President Torres has, however, formally asked Madrid to allow the whole region now to be in phase 2, and since each phase is anticipated to last a fortnight we could expect to move forward to phase 2 next Monday anyway. Meanwhile, even in phase 1, hunting and sport and recreational fishing has been reintroduced from today, something I’ve had a surprising number of queries about.
Also, as of yesterday we now know that there will be an announcement shortly making face masks compulsory in more situations than just public transport. The details are to follow soon, the national Government says, but confirms that the measure is in response to requests from the regions, rather than an imposition from central Government. The measure will come into force when the announcement is made, and is not in force at present when the only compulsion is for face masks on public transport and in private cars where the occupants are not members of the same household.
Updated 17 May: With La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa moving tomorrow into Phase 2, Pedro Sánchez has announced today that the freedom from time slots for walking and exercising that has been enjoyed by municipalities of fewer than 5,000 residents will now be extended to those of fewer than 10,000. These residents will be able to go out within 1km of their home within the same municipality at any time between 6am and 11pm. The original list of municipalities in Tenerife was Vilaflor, El Tanque, Fasnia, Los Silos, Buenavista del Norte, San Juan de la Rambla, and Garachico. To these are now added Arafo, Arico, La Guancha, La Matanza, El Sauzal, and La Victoria.
Updated 4pm, 16/5: There is much excitement today about “new rules” supposedly introduced yesterday banning international flights into Spain. In fact, a ministerial order published on Tuesday and which came into force yesterday restricted entry into Spain via borders that are internal to the Schengen Area. This alters nothing for British travellers coming into Spain from the UK since they are crossing an external Schengen border to do so, and so were already subject to restrictions which now apply to anyone coming into Spain from anywhere.
These restrictions on entry will already be familiar to everyone, namely only those who are Spanish nationals (and so have a Spanish passport), legal residents (and so have a Certificado de Registro), cross border workers (Gibraltar), diplomatic corps and healthcare professionals involved in the covid outbreak, importers of essential supplies, or those who can show compelling need to enter the country.
There has also been consternation about Tenerife not being on a list of airports where flights are allowed to land. This has now been confirmed not to be the case by both Tenerife President Pedro Martín and national Transport Minister José Luis Ábalos: the exclusion was either the result of an error, an omission, or a decision that has now been rescinded. Whatever the reason, it is now confirmed that TFS will receive flights but this will make little difference to British travellers who still need to be in possession of a Certificado de Registro (and carrying the original with them) before being allowed into the country.
All arrivals will also need to go into a fortnight’s quarantine upon arrival in their home here. Although some have thought it unenforceable, forms with details of the passenger and their legally registered address along with identifying details are completed before passengers clear the concourse and checks will subsequently be made to ensure compliance.
Updated 16 May: As I said in the 12 May update and mentioned in recent podcasts, Pedro Sánchez was planning to ask Congress for a further extension of a month or so to the estado de alarma when its current extension expires at 00.00h 24 May. Today he has confirmed that this is indeed what he will do, saying that the estado de alarma has benefited everyone, and that the road to combat the pandemic is the only one possible. We have to keep on this track, the PM argued, acting with prudence to recover spaces of mobility and activity, always sure to keep the virus at a distance.
With an eye no doubt to the coming battle in Congress to get his measures approved, Sánchez called again for unity, an effort from everyone to save jobs and businesses and to bring Spain closer to being able safely to reactivate the economy. He said that the figures are improving, clearly, but the virus has not gone away and its threat remains, and is real. Because of this we must all keep on following the recommendations of the health authorities, recommendations that have nothing to do with ideology or business but with public health. An interesting week beckons, then, in Congress …
Updated 15 May: I posted on Tuesday that the Canarian Government had formally asked the national Health Department to allow La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa to enter phase 2 because they complied with the conditions to move into the next phase, and this evening permission has been given. The islands, along with Formentera in the Balearic Islands will now enter Phase 2 this coming Monday 18 May. We will need to wait for the published details as to the measures which will be in force from then for them, but it’s obviously encouraging for Tenerife because they led the way into Phase 1 with the rest of the Canaries following closely behind.
Updated 14 May: Once again, the Tenerife Cabildo has emphasized that it is now the body that governs use of the Parque Nacional del Teide, and that the area is closed to the public. As the Cabildo said only two days ago, and I posted at the time, the national park, the mountains, hiking trails and forestry tracks, as well as camping sites and BBQ and recreational areas are closed. HERE are the rules in English from the Cabildo: since they were published, the only change is that active tourism and nature businesses can offer services and activities controlled through measures like restricted group sizes, physical distancing, hygiene procedures etc. These are the only means the public has of getting up into the hills at present, and registered active tourism organizers will know any relevant specific regulations.
Updated 11pm, 12/5: The Canarian Government has formally asked the national Health Department this evening to allow La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa, the islands which led Spain into Phase 1 on 4 May, to enter Phase 2 because they already now comply with the conditions to allow them to advance to the next stage of the de-escalation which would allow greater movement and commercial and cultural activity. Whether Sanidad allows the islands to start Phase 2 or not, the precise dates for changes to the current phases and the specific measures that they will entail will be confirmed in the order when it is published in the BOE.
Updated 4pm, 12/5: Evidently there is a widespread misconception that now we’re in Phase 1, everything is open again. It is not. And so the Tenerife Cabildo has felt obliged to remind the public that the national park, the mountains, hiking trails and forestry tracks, as well as camping sites and BBQ and recreational areas are closed.
Active tourism and nature businesses can offer services and activities but they are businesses which can be controlled through legal measures, such as being required to restrict sizes of groups, employ necessary measures like physical distancing and hygiene procedures. These are the only means the public has of getting up into the hills at present.
This is because we remain in a State of Emergency because we are only in Phase 1 of a de-escalation plan that has two more stages to go before we even approximate normality, whatever normality will look like at that point. Fernando Simón, director of the Spanish Health Alerts & Emergencies Coordination Centre, has said this afternoon that we have to be responsible, and careful, and fully aware that this virus is still around.
Phase 1 rules are detailed in “Updated 1pm, 9/5″ below.
Updated 1pm, 12/5: Clearly I need to clarify that this does NOT mean the borders are open to everyone provided they go into quarantine. I did not say that so I do not understand why it has been interpreted as that, but the situation remains as before because Spain remains in a state of emergency.
The ONLY change is that those who were permitted to return previously, i.e. Spanish nationals and legal residents, must now ALSO go into 14 days of quarantine after they return. Please understand that the following are all irrelevant to your right to enter Spain at present – I list them because they are all examples of reasons people give as to why they consider the rules do not apply to them:
- owning a property
- having a NIE
- being a regular swallow
- paying IBIs (rates)
- paying any other taxes
- going out to eat in local bars and restaurants when here
- doing shopping or spending money on anything else when here
Assuming you are British, the only questions you have to answer if you want to enter Spain are:
- have you registered with the police as a foreigner living in Spain and been given a green Certificado de Registro to prove your registration (any size, any date, with or without the word permanente on it)?
- have you got it with you?
Only if the answer to both those questions is yes will you be able to enter Spain. And when you do you will have to go into 14 days of quarantine in your own home here only going out for shopping, doctor, unputoffable needs, and wearing a face mask. If the answer to either of those questions is no, you will have to wait for further announcements as to when you will be permitted to enter the country.
Updated 12 May: Spain has introduced a 14-day quarantine on everyone entering the country from 15 May. The measure has already been in place for anyone being repatriated to Spain from Italy but from Friday will apply to all including Spanish nationals, who will have to remain at home and only go out for shopping, doctors, or for imperative reasons, and they are required to wear a face mask any time they go out during their quarantine. There are a few exceptions to the quarantine, as with previous measures, namely cross border workers (Gibraltar), medical personnel involved in the outbreak, essential supplies importers etc. At present the quarantine requirement ends at 00.00h 24 May with the end of the estado de alarma but could be extended along with it if a further extension is approved, and Sánchez has indicated he will ask for one lasting around a month, to the end of June or so. The Order has been published today in the BOE HERE.
Updated 6pm, 10/5: The Cabildo will reopen all the puntos limpios in Tenerife from tomorrow. Here they are, and the times they’ll be open (click to see full size).
Updated 10 May: HERE is the ministerial order governing transport, published today in the BOE. Any two people from the same household can go out together in a car, and as long as they live together they can sit anywhere in the car and indeed fill the car to its capacity. If they are not cohabitants, then passengers must sit as far apart as possible and no more than two per row of the vehicle, and must wear masks. The Policía Nacional confirm, however, that we still need a justifiable reason to be out and about, and so police can demand ID plus something to help them check your reason:
ten a mano tus documentos de identificación y ayúdanos a comprobar que tu desplazamiento está justificado. Trabajamos por tu seguridad y tu salud.
Updated 7pm, 9/5: Some local authorities are reopening their SAC offices to process administrative procedures. Granadilla is one of them, and they say that their offices will reopen to the public for “the most urgent needs of local residents”. Clearly anyone needing an urgent processing of a municipal procedure will need to check with their own Ayuntamiento as to what their policy is.
Updated 5pm, 9/5: One piece of additional information will please many, given the number of times it’s specifically asked about! It is that from Monday two people may go in a car together. Two people could previously go out in a car if for an imperative reason but now it is allowed for anyone without having to be a situation of emergency or caring for someone disabled, or the like. Moreover, those who live together can all go out in a car together – obviously only to the car’s capacity!
Updated 1pm, 9/5: And so Tenerife will be in Phase 1 from Monday morning. This means that the public may go anywhere within Tenerife, indeed within the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, provided that they comply with social distancing and hygiene measures, and do not do so in groups of more than ten. In addition:
- people should work from home wherever possible
- social contact is permitted for up to ten people (the limit doesn’t apply to those who share a household)
- all retail establishments and professional services offices of no more than 400 m2 may reopen to the public to 30% of their capacity and with a preferential timetable for service of the over 65s
- markets may reopen at the discretion of local councils, with priority for markets selling food and essentials. Those that are permitted to reopen must only do so to 25% of stall capacity and only allow in 30% of normal customer capacity
- open-air terraces may reopen for 50% of normal table capacity, with a maximum of 10 to a group, and where a minimum 2m social distancing is possible. Single-use table linen must be utilised, and self-service products and commonly used items like menus may not be provided
- libraries and museums may reopen with entry restricted to minimum capacity, and cultural events shows may take place with a maximum of 30 people allowed into a closed show, and 200 people if the show is outside. Ingress and egress will be staggered and complementary services such as cafeterias will not be open
- hotels and touristic establishments may reopen but communal areas must remain closed (and of course no international tourists can enter Tenerife at present because the estado de alarma only permits Spanish nationals and legal residents to enter the country with very few exceptions)
- active and nature tourism activities may resume for groups of up to ten, through a registered active tourism business and with prior arrangement where possible, but hunting and sport fishing remains banned
- churches may reopen to a third of their capacity with the congreation wearing face masks, the spaces must be disinfected beforehand. The use of blessed water or ritual ablutions, among other measures, will not be permitted
- chapels of rest may allow 15 people to gather at a time in the open air or 10 in an enclosed space, and funerals themselves may be attended by up to 15 people always complying with safety and hygiene measures
- car dealerships, vehicle inspection stations, and garden centres may reopen regardless of their size, though the public may only visit by appointment
- businesses that cannot or do not allow a 2m interpersonal safety distance such as hairdressers, beauticians, physiotherapy, etc, must none the less maintain a 2m distance between clients, and appropriate protective equipment must be used to ensure both client and worker are protected
- outdoor sports facilities, except for swimming pools and water parks, may reopen for individuals or pairs where the sport requires it, and assuming it is possible always to maintain 2m interpersonal distancing
- closed sports centres may reopen but only for individual practice plus one coach where needed. Visits must be by appointment and changing rooms and communal areas will remain closed
All establishments open to the public must be cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day, maintain adequate ventilation, and washing and disinfect work clothes daily. There are also limits on use of lifts and freight elevators, as well as toilets used by customers.
It is possible that the Canarian Government will change the hours for children to go out. This is something that is now in the gift of regional authorities, and is intended to allow hotter areas to permit children to go out at cooler times. This is something that is not yet in place in the Canaries but might happen. If it does, it will almost certainly affect the rest of the time slots.
No doubt information on this will be forthcoming in the next couple of days but until it does, time slots for walks and individual exercise remain as previously. It is important to understand that while we are allowed out, anywhere in Tenerife at any time to visit a shop or bar terrace that’s open, a walk with or without a companion or practising exercise alone must be done in the time slots as previously.
Updated 9 May: HERE is the BOE with the published legislation extending the estado de alarma which runs from midnight tonight until the end of 23 May (00.00h 24 May), and HERE is the BOE published order for Phase 1 regulations.
Updated 8 May: National Health Secretary Salvador Illa has confirmed this evening that Tenerife, along with Gran Canaria, La Palma, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, will be part of the 51% of Spain (see HERE) that passes to Phase 1 this Monday, 11 May. Illa confirmed that under phase 1, the public won’t be limited to their time slots for visiting shops, bars and restaurants that might open, however limited that opening might be, but walking and practising sports will continue to be governed by the time limits we’ve become accustomed to. Although this signifies a clear stage in the de-escalation process, it is still very restricted, with no transit beyond the islands, and the limitations on flights from the mainland will remain as in Phase 0.
Fernando Simón, director of the Spanish Health Alerts & Emergencies Coordination Centre, said that the evolution of the pandemic in the Canaries has been “spectacular”, one of the regions that complied with the regulations to a very high level. The Canaries is expected to remain in Phase 1 for a fortnight, with more details over this weekend when the regulations are published in the BOE as to the specific measures which are likely to include social gatherings of up to ten friends provided social distancing is practised, as well as the opening of bar and restaurant terraces to 50% capacity. Those cultural events which might be allowed can only open to 30% capacity.
Regional Health Minister Julio Pérez said that the permission to move to Phase 1 was testament to the technical and medical professionalism of the regional health system as well as to the exemplary behaviour of Canarian society at large. Pérez said he felt really proud of the health service here, with all its personnel at every level, showing the whole of Spain that it could have confidence in us. What happens from now on, he stressed, will depend both on how well we respect the new rules, and continue to abide by time slots where applicable, hygiene measures and social distancing.
Updated 6 May: Congress has approved the Government’s request for an extension to the estado de alarma until the end of 23 May (00.00h 24 May). The approval was expected despite much noise from the main opposition party, the Partido Popular, and smaller regional opposition parties like the Coalición Canaria, who have succeeded in getting some sweeteners such as an extension of the temporary redundancy protections for those in tourism employment in the islands.
The most that was going to happen, ultimately, was that a party would abstain rather than be seen to vote against a major public health measure which would have thrown the country into some degree of constitutional chaos had it been rejected, as speculated on in considerable depth over recent days in the media. In the end, as expected, abstention was the main way for the opposition parties to oppose without subjecting themselves to accusations of trying to torpedo health crisis measures brought in for the country’s safety, not a good look for any politician, and so the measure was passed with 178 votes in favour, 75 against and 97 abstensions.
And so we have a fourth extension of the State of Emergency, which is now in place to 23 May (00.00h 24 May), and so will continue to provide the framework within which the de-escalation process takes place. As we will all know now, Tenerife is in Phase 0 of this process, and hoping to enter Phase 1 in the next few days, possibly this coming Monday 11 May, when much of Spain is also expected to do so. Whenever that does happen, Pedro Sánchez has said that an official mourning period will also commence for those lost in the outbreak, a homage to those who sadly didn’t make it through to the time when Spain moves forward into its new normality.
Updated 4 May: The Spanish Government has confirmed this afternoon that Congress will be asked on Wednesday to approve a fourth extension of a fortnight to the estado de alarma. Transport minister José Luís Ábalos said that there is no reason now for the country to lower its guard, and that the state of emergency is the most effective way to deal with the virus outbreak. He called on opposition politicians to behave as responsibly in the interests of public health as the public itself has been so far, and he called on all of us too to continue behaving responsibly so as not to waste our efforts so far.
Updated 3 May: From tomorrow, as I posted yesterday, small businesses are allowed but not required to open under strict distancing rules, often by appointment only and with limitations on one customer to one staff member. The measure applies to shops up to 400m² in size, but any in commercial centres, as I posted below, won’t be able to open in Phase 1 let alone the Phase 0 we are currently in. Restaurants also have permission to do takeaways rather than just deliveries. Some councils have opened their coastline, not for swimming but for people out for a walk to do so on the beach, and while some others have permitted surfing none apparently allow swimming. Some councils too have extended their deadlines for municipal taxes while others have not.
The only thing that can be said with certainty right now is that Spain remains under an estado de alarma (State of Emergency) and that Tenerife is in Phase 0 of the de-escalation. This combination means that the country’s borders are closed to all except the ingress of Spanish nationals and legal residents (and a few other exceptions like diplomats) and the egress of those with urgent need to travel – it’s not a free to leave situation for anyone who just wants to go. We remain under lockdown with permission to leave home for the specific justifiable reasons (shopping, bank, work etc) and for a walk or some exercise once a day. Anyone out working has been required since 31 March to carry a certificate to justify their journey: the model for the certificate is in the annex to THIS piece of legislation: it should be signed by the worker’s employer; the self-employed can show evidence of their autonomo status as justifiable reason. Do also remember that from tomorrow, anyone using public transport for any reason must wear a face mask.
If anyone requires specific confirmations, whether about who is trading and where, or which beach is open for strolls, or which council has extended its payment window for car tax and which is still demanding payment on time … please check with the individual entity concerned, whether it’s a local ayuntamiento, or a hairdresser, or a restaurant, or whatever. All or most of them have their own websites these days, or at least a Facebook page, and most of those that are Spanish sites will have an English language option, and that will be the place for anyone to find out specific details.
Updated 6pm, 2/5: The Government has announced that from this Monday 4 May shops and business may reopen if they wish but only to allow one customer per staff member and often by appointment only. The businesses identified as having this permission, though not a requirement, to open are book sellers, ferreterias, and hairdressers. Restaurants, which are already allowed to serve the public for takeaway orders, may now allow food to be collected from their premises as well as taking orders for home deliveries.
Updated 4pm, 2/5: Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez has announced that from this Monday 4 May face masks will be obligatory on public transport. To facilitate compliance, the PM says, from Monday the Government will hand out 6 million masks in transport hubs and another 7 million to local authorities via FEMP, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces. A further 1.5 million masks will be distributed to Caritas, Cruz Roja, and Cermi, the Spanish Committee of Disabled People’s Representatives. And of course we can buy them in chemists too. During his briefing, Sánchez also confirmed that he will ask Congress on Wednesday for another fortnight’s extension of the estado de alarma.
Updated 2 May: And so, Phase 0 is underway and from today the situation is as follows (and I’ll copy and pin this to the top to be edited as the situation changes):
Tenerife, and indeed all Spain, is in a state of emergency. This means we may go out only for specific essentials like food shopping, doctor, work, etc., plus a walk or a bit of exercise as detailed below, and while keeping a 2m distance from others, and hand washing, etc. Under the State of Emergency (estado de alarma), all air and land borders are closed to all except Spanish nationals and legal residents (those in possession of, and carrying, a green Certificado de Registro), plus a few other exceptions like diplomats, cross-border workers, medical personnel involved in the outbreak
We are in Phase 0 of a four-phase de-escalation plan. From 2 May people may go out once a day as follows:
- adults and partners with whom they live can walk together within 1km of their home – or exercise alone (running, cycling etc) for any distance – always within their own municipality, between 6 and 10am, and 8 and 11pm.
- adults over 70 and those who need physical assistance can go out together within 1km of their home, and within their own municipio, between 10am and 12 noon, and 7 and 8pm. Someone over 70 can be accompanied by one person over 14 provided they live with them (that person would then be substituting their own time slot for that of the over-70)
- children under 14 in groups of no more than three can go out accompanied by one person over 14 that they live with, within 1 km of their home and within their own municipio, and for no more than one hour, between 12 noon and 7pm
- anyone in a municipality of fewer than 5,000 has no time slot restrictions and can go out within 1km of their home within the same municipality between 6am and 11pm. In Tenerife, these municipalities are Vilaflor, El Tanque, Fasnia, Los Silos, Buenavista del Norte, San Juan de la Rambla, and Garachico
- the situation on dog walking is unclear because it is not detailed in the law, but Government ministers have said that they may be taken on any walks that a person is taking, as well obviously as taking them out just to do their business when necessary. Since this is not specified in the actual law, however, it is conceivable that some police will enforce the original rule of out to do business only and not for longer walks.
Updated 10pm, 1/5: One further clarification, which I’ve also edited below, will please many who’ve asked about the rules concerning people over 70. They can go out accompanied by one other person provided they live with them and they can be any age over 14.
Updated 4pm, 1/5: I’ve edited the 7pm, 30/4 May update below which is the main section concerning the Phase 0 rules on walking and exercising. I’ve edited the original to avoid someone being misinformed by seeing the originally posted version of rules that have now been clarified. The edits concern:
- “municipalities”: yes it’s municipalities not towns;
- dog walking: they can be walked when people go out either to take them to do their business or while they are themselves walking or practising sport BUT the law, to which I’ve given a link, does not actually mention dogs, and that means that interpretation is down to any police officer that might stop someone as to how far from home they might be out and for how long;
- the hour-long window: this is now confirmed only to apply to children, not adults or those exercising. With regard to exercise, this is clarified as “cualquier deporte individual que no requiera contacto con terceros” – any individual sport that does not require third-person contact. Please note that people are allowed out once a day, and although not limited to one hour, are still limited to “a walk” or “an exercise” within the time slots allocated and within 1km of their home.
Updated 2pm, 1/5: El Pais has produced a tool for people to see where they can walk. The paper has an English edition and that version’s interactive map is HERE. Please be aware that it doesn’t recognize municipal boundaries so you can’t take the 1km radius as giving you permission to cross any such boundaries that exist in reality.
Updated 1 May: The ministerial order imposing the conditions under which one can carry out non-professional physical exercise out of doors during the health crisis, Orden SND/380/2020, de 30 de abril, is HERE. Below is a graphic of the rules issued by Spain’s Home Office, the Ministerio del Interior (click to see full size).
Updated 7pm, 30/4: Spanish Health Secretary Salvador Illa has now confirmed that from Saturday 2 May adults will be allowed out for walks alone or with a family member with whom they live, or alone to undertake individual exercise. Social distancing measures must apply and so no contact is possible with others encountered while out and about. Our freedom, moreover, will be subject to the following restrictions in most cases:
- as already in place for children, within certain hours adults and partners with whom they live are restricted to one excursion a day within 1km of their home, and if this is near a municipal border they must stay within their own municipality. The times they can do this are between 6 and 10am, and again between 8 and 11pm. If they are undertaking physical exercise (whether running, cycling, or skating) rather than walking they must be alone and there is no distance restriction but they must remain within their municipio. Neither walkers nor those practising sport have a time restriction within the time limits established.
- Adults over 70 and those who need carers or physical assistance will be able to do the same with their carer once a day for up to 1km within their municipio between 10am and 12 noon, and again between 7 and 8pm. There is no time restriction within the time limits established, and someone over 70 can go out accompanied by one person of any age above 14 provided they live with them,
- Children, to a maximum group of three, and accompanied by an adult with whom they live, are now restricted to the same distance, again within their own municipio, and they do keep their one hour time limit, but the hours in which they may go out are now between 12 noon and 7pm whereas they were previously 9am to 9pm.
I say that “freedom is subject to the restrictions in most cases” because in municipalities with a population of under 5,000, these time restrictions won’t apply, and so the public is considered not at risk of crowds and is therefore allowed to carry out these activities between 6am and 11pm, but again only within 1km of their homes. In Tenerife, according to the National Statistics Institute these are Vilaflor (1667), El Tanque (2763), Fasnia (2786), Los Silos (4693), Buenavista del Norte (4778), San Juan de la Rambla (4828), and Garachico (4871).
Please note that “municipalities” are areas with an Ayuntamiento – so Arona, Adeje, Guía de Isora, etc., not towns like Las Galletas or Callao Salvaje (for further information on how Spain is divided into municipalities, provinces, regions, etc., please see HERE). The law does actually also allow for other types of administrative area other than a municipality but in the Canaries the only area so defined is at Cabildo level, and Tenerife has over 5,000 inhabitants, so to all intents and purposes in the Canaries, the only administrative area that matters is a municipality.
When it comes to dogs, these can be walked as previously at any point whenever they need to be taken out to do their business or have a wee, whether or not it is the allocated time for their human to walk or practise sport.
In addition to the relaxation of personal restrictions, those with fincas will be able to manage them even if it involves crossing a municipal border, but only one person at a time may do so, though the usual exception applies to anyone caring for a child or someone for whom they provide care.
Social get-togethers won’t be approved until an area enters phase 1, and the first areas in the country to do that, from this coming Monday 4 May, will be La Gomera, El Hiero and La Graciosa in the Canaries, together with Formentera in the Balearics. The conditions under which these will be permitted have not yet been decided. The current measures have been decided and agreed after a day of governmental deliberations in technical committees and consultations with the regions.
Original post 30 April: I think it’s worth starting a new post separate to the covid post to trace what Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez has called the long road to the new normality. The country has a four-phase plan, confusingly enough going to Phase 3 because it starts in Phase 0.
This is where we are right now, and as part of Phase 0 a relaxation on adult restrictions will start on Saturday 2 May provided that the measures are approved, as is likely. The new measure will see adults able to go out in groups of family with whom they live for walks, or alone to do individual exercise. Police say that they are already gearing up to police our new freedom because we will still have to observe social distancing rules and, depending on what’s announced as confirmed rules, they may have to police groups to ensure limits, or time slots, or distances. The confirmation won’t take long in coming because national Health Secretary Salvador Illa will speak to press tonight to confirm the measures.
Phase 1 will see a further loosening of restrictions and will start in La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa (and Formentera in the Balearics) this coming Monday 4 May. The rest of Spain will have to wait until 11 May when any areas deemed safe at that point will be able to join Phase 1 as well – other areas not deemed safe then will have to continue to wait. The Spanish Government has put HERE the English version of its report on the latest measures, but as always it’s the Spanish version that’s most reliable and official and that confirms that these remain “plans” until approved.
Immediately below, too, are the actual plans with appendixes showing all the phases and proposed de-escation measures which are expected to last a fortnight each. The situation is fluid, though, and everything will be monitored so that no area of Spain moves into a phase before it’s safe for it to do so, and in case a lockdown needs to be reimposed in the event that there’s a resurgence of the outbreak.
For travellers, it’s important to note that the State of Emergency remains in place and so Spain’s borders remain closed at present. Only Spanish nationals and foreigners who are legal residents with (and carrying) green registration certificates may enter the country. Below is confirmation in English from the British Consul General to Spain, Lloyd Milen. Please also note that Sänchez has confirmed he will ask Congress for a third extension: this one currently ends at the end of 9 May so the next one, if approved,, will take us to the 23rd. While it is in place, all the usual measures still apply – eg one in a car unless someone must be taken somewhere in which case they sit in the back diagonally from the driver, going only to the supermarket, going to work, all the things we have become used to are still in place, and will remain in place until either it’s lifted or specific relaxations are announced.
Finally, to run through the proposed future phases of the de-escalation. Phase 1 will allow a partial reopening to the public of some businesses but not large commercial centres where crowds could gather. This phase will include the opening of hotels and tourist apartments though not communal areas. For the moment, there will be no movement between Spain’s provinces (parts of autonomous communities) nor between islands. The elderly – over 65s – will have a “timetable” to go to the shops but face masks are still not going to be required though they will be strongly recommended. Churches too will be able to open but only to 30% capacity.
Once conditions are deemed appropriate, Phase 2 will start allowing hostelry establishments to reopen to diners. Schools won’t reopen until September but will be able to offer a place to six-year-olds if parents have to work, and to students who need to complete university applications and exams. This second phase will also allow some small cultural events of up to 50 attendees; the same will apply to open-air events of up to 400 seated attendees, and cinemas and theatres – like churches, only up to 30% capacity.
Phase 3, when it’s deemed appropriate, is considered as an advanced phase of de-escalation, which will see churches, cinemas and theaters able to let 50% of their capacity in. It is at this point that those who have been encouraged or required to work from home may return to their workplaces.