Spain has reopened with virtually no restrictions related to Coronavirus, welcoming back tourists and encouraging global travel.
Spain Removes COVID Entry Restrictions
Spain has announced a change in the country’s entry requirements. Travelers to Spain from the US and several other countries no longer have to present a negative COVID-19 test nor proof they are fully vaccinated to enter the country:
“Spain has removed several non-EU countries from its list of Covid-19 “at risk countries” including the US, as stated in the official gazette (BOE) this Thursday.
The result is that travelers from America, Lebanon, Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia and Taiwan will not be required to show evidence of vaccination or a negative PCR test in order to enter Spain.
The order, issued by Spain’s home affairs ministry, applies from Thursday, June 24.
These countries join 12 non-EU or EEA nations: United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Israel, Rwanda, Hong Kong and Macau. All of them were already deemed not “at risk” by the Spanish government.” – Catalan News
These regulations are always subject to change but assuming there is no substantial increase, it’s unlikely to change before the end of the summer.
Coast Is Not Necessarily Clear
In the opening months of coronavirus, Spain struggled with the virus considerably. At one point the country battled with a shockingly high mortality rate. However, according to the latest statistics from John Hopkins University, the country has gone from 3-4,000 new cases on a rolling 7-day average three weeks ago, to approximately 24,000 per day and climbing again.
This could be due to the Delta variant, lack of COVID-19 vaccines approved for use, or many other factors. Just over four million Spaniards have been confirmed infected with COVID-19 so the uptick is not yet causing a public health concern, but a continued trend line could curtail this reopening. The beautiful Spanish coast is not necessarily clear in perpetuity though it is right now.
Should cases continue to increase, Spain may continue its approach with varied requirements per country rather than shutting the doors altogether.
US Re-Entry Requirements Remain
Regardless of vaccination status, the US government still requires travelers to present a negative COVID-19 result in order to enter the United States. COVID-19 tests are available throughout Spain, in all major Spanish airports, both in PCR and Antigen formats.
While coronavirus infections in the US have climbed somewhat over the last two weeks, and there is concern about the Delta variant, numbers following the busy holiday weekend and the largest travel weekend in years have only slightly elevated both COVID-19 infections and deaths.
September 13th is the date on which the mask mandate is set to expire. It’s impossible to know where the country will be at that point in time, however, if the numbers stay flat from where they are now, I find it unlikely that it will be renewed. This is purely conjecture. The CDC and the White House have both remained quiet on the issue to this point.
It’s worth noting (as Matthew deftly did last week) that just because the government discontinues mask mandates on transportation, airlines are free to retain their own requirements as they did before the federal government stepped in to do so. No carrier in the UK has broken from the pack yet to be the first carrier to make masks optional (they have always been an option.) This makes it easier for the government to remove the mandate and let the carriers determine their own fate. Customers chose airlines that provided a guaranteed open middle seat during the pandemic, they will again vote with their dollars and their feet.
The Spanish approach is radical when compared to Australia or even the US, however, reopening is mission-critical for the economy. Mortalities in the developed world have declined outpacing confirmed cases suggesting that even if a future uptick in the virus occurs again, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the country won’t be able to cope with the challenge as it struggled in the early days. For American tourists, this is good news and hopefully proves to be a model for other countries around the world.
What do you think? Is Spain’s reopening timed right, too early, or late? Will the US update its entry requirements or keep them the same?