In a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, several regions in Spain have announced tougher restrictions over the Christmas and New Year holiday period, when more travel and socializing are expected. Under the Spanish Health Ministry’s plan, which was approved on December 2 by a committee of regional health chiefs, gatherings were limited to 10 people and a curfew was set for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. The plan also allowed citizens to travel to a different region, but only to see family or allegados, a term meaning people with whom there is a close bond, and which has sparked widespread confusion.
But the epidemiological situation in Spain has worsened since December 2, with the 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants rising the extreme-risk level of 250 this week. This has prompted many regional authorities to introduce tougher rules for the Christmas holiday period.
Here is an overview of what has been announced so far in each region.
The regional government will allow travel between the provinces in the region until January 10. Between December 23 and January 6, travel in and out of the region will also be allowed for visits to see family or allegados. On December 31 and January 1 and 6, the number of people allowed at a gathering will be increased from six to 10. But the regional government recommends that no more than two different household groups attend a gathering.
Until January 10, stores and other commercial establishments may remain open until 9pm, while bars and restaurants will be able to open from the morning until 6pm and from 8pm to 10.30pm (1am on New Year’s Eve). A curfew will remain in place from 11pm to 6am, with the exception of December 31, when it will be pushed back to 1.30am.
Until January 7, residents of senior homes may leave these facilities as long as they have had no symptoms over the previous two weeks and have undergone a diagnostic test up to 72 hours earlier. They must remain in the same home for a maximum of five days, and present a negative PCR test 48 hours before returning.
On December 31 and January 1, a maximum of 10 people will be allowed in private gatherings without exceeding two different households. The regional government had announced that travel would be allowed between Aragón’s three provinces – Teruel, Huesca and Zaragoza – but on December 19 there was a U-turn, and travel between these areas will not be allowed, nor can people enter or leave the region, until 12am on January 12. As an exception, between December 30 and January 2, people can enter or leave for family gatherings, but not to see allegados, as the term could lead to misunderstandings, according to the health department. In order to travel on those dates, it will be necessary to carry a declaración responsable statement (click here to download it) certifying the purpose of the trip, said the regional executive. Outside of these dates, the regional border will remain sealed, with each province under a perimetral lockdown.
The 11pm to 6am curfew will remain in place, but will be extended to 1.30am on New Year’s Eve.
Between December 23 and January 6, residents of senior homes may temporarily leave the premises to stay with relatives who have not been diagnosed with coronavirus or are in self-isolation, provided there are no more than 10 people in the household.
Non-essential stores will be able to open until 10pm, bar service will be allowed and restaurants will be able to open at 100% capacity in outdoor spaces and 30% indoors. The capacity of museums, cinemas and other cultural centers will be increased to 50%.
The regional government has pushed back the start of the curfew, meaning it is now in place from 11pm to 6am. On New Year’s Eve it will begin at 12.30am, and run until 7am, as will be the case on January 6. Until January 6, visits to family and allegados is permitted. The region has also put in place a plan that obliges anyone aged between 18 and 30 and that will be returning to the area and living with the over-65s or risk groups to take a PCR test.
Social meetings will be limited to six people and not 10, due to a worsening epidemiological situation, with a maximum of two families on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Kings’ Day. Street parades and fun runs have been suspended. Bars and restaurants must close at 11pm, in line with the curfew.
The regional government is yet to specify the rules concerning residents of senior homes, but it has indicated that it will be preferable for the elderly to stay with just one family group, to avoid contact as much as possible and to undergo coronavirus tests when returning to their residences.
From December 20, visitors who arrive in the Balearic Islands from a region where the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants is more than 150 must present a negative PCR test if coming for tourism, or take an antigen test upon arrival if arriving for a justified reason.
The Balearics are regulating the restrictions on each island via a system of levels – from 0 to 4 – and which measure, among other things, the cumulative incidence of cases, outbreaks and hospital occupation. Ahead of the upcoming fiestas, the islands are applying proposals formulated by the central government, delaying the start of the curfew until 1.30am on the night of New Year’s Eve and limiting social gatherings to 10 people on December 31 and January 1.
The exception is Mallorca, where more restrictions were approved on Monday given the “worrying” situation on the island, which has registered as high as 607 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over 14 days. The island is in level 4, meaning only six people can dine together, from a maximum of two households, albeit made up of family members or allegados. The curfew will be in place from 10pm to 6am every day, including New Year and Kings’ Day. Restaurants cannot open indoor dining spaces, with only outdoor areas and take-away services permitted, and they must close at 6pm every day. The same applies to stores, apart from those selling essential items, which can stay open until 8pm. These measures will be in place until January 11. Shopping malls and major stores cannot open at weekends or on holidays and the capacity of their parking lots must be limited to 50% the rest of the time. The regional premier has recommended that people stay at home from 8pm onward and that they shop in malls alone.
Menorca is in phase 3, with a curfew from 12am to 6am and social gatherings limited to six people. Formentera, which was at level 2, went to level 3 on Tuesday due to an increase in cases. Ibiza is still on level 2, with six people allowed to meet inside and 10 outside, with a curfew from midnight to 6am.
Care home residents can request a pass to spend the holidays with their families fo a period of 10 days or over, and will have to take a PCR test when they return. Visits will be permitted to homes once a day for an hour if there are no coronavirus cases within.
Tenerife is subject to stricter rules due to the rise of coronavirus cases on the island and will remain under a perimetral lockdown until the beginning of 2021. The rest of the islands are not closed in this way.
Until January 10, the Canary Islands will be under a curfew from 1am to 6am, and 10pm to 6am in Tenerife. This will be pushed back to 1.30am on New Year’s Eve everywhere except Tenerife. Social gatherings will be limited to six people for most of this period, except in Tenerife where the limit is four. On December 31 and January 1 and 6 up to 10 people from two households will be able to get together. On these dates in Tenerife, meetings are limited to six people with a maximum of two households. On the island, indoor dining is not permitted and capacity is limited outside to 50%.
All visitors to the Canary Islands from other parts of Spain, except for children under the age of six, must arrive with a negative coronavirus test taken 72 hours before their arrival. The order will remain in place until January 10. The permitted tests are PCR, rapid antigen tests, and TMA tests.
The regional government announced that it would allow foreign visitors enter the region with the faster and less expensive antigen test, but this measure was overruled last week by the Constitutional Court.
The Canary Islands is limiting passes from senior homes to a single household and only if a “stable bubble” is observed. In Tenerife, visits to senior homes and hospitals are suspended apart from for serious cases, pregnancies or minors. What’s more, residents will not be able to leave their care homes during the holiday period. On the rest of the islands, residents will be able to leave provided they take a coronavirus test before returning.
The regional government has ramped up restrictions for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, allowing social gatherings of just six people (as is the case the rest of the time). The curfew in place is from 10pm to 6am, but this will start at 12.30am on New Year’s Eve. This will only be so that people who have had dinner with their families or allegados can return home, and not for the purpose of traveling to other social meetings.
Since December 12, residents in Cantabria have been able to travel to different municipalities within the region. The restrictions on the hostelry sector, however, have remained in place: service is only allowed in outdoor eating areas, and establishments must close at 10pm.
The regional government’s recommendations on senior residences is that residents spend at least seven days out of their homes, that they avoid crowds and that they take a test before they return. Fun runs have been suspended and different decisions have been taken regarding parades, ranging from their cancelation to the extension of their route to avoid crowds.
Citizens will be able to travel to and from Castilla-La Mancha to see family and allegados until January 6. The curfew during this period will run from 12am to 6am, except for New Year’s Eve, when it will be pushed back to 12.30am, but only to allow people to return home and not to travel to other social meetings.
On December 31 and January 1, social gatherings will be limited to 10 people from different households – including children. These meetings must take place in a private space, as gatherings are still limited to six people in restaurants and bars. The regional government has recommended mixing two bubbles at the most.
The majority of the region’s municipalities are in level 2 of restrictions. More than 500,000 people are in level 3, where hostelry establishments must close at 11pm. Only the municipality of La Solana (Ciudad Real) is in a perimetral lockdown.
Visits continue to be prohibited in senior residents, but passes are permitted until January 7 provided the home has been Covid-free for the last 14 days. Residents must not be suspected of having the coronavirus and can only stay in a single household. They must not return until January 7 and will need a PCR test before entering and then remain in isolation. Seniors in homes in level 3 of the special measures will not be able to leave.
Castilla y León
Movement between provinces is allowed, but the entire region will remain under a perimetral lockdown until January 10. Between December 30 and January 2, and January 5 and 6, only relatives can enter and leave the region, and not allegados. Outdoor dining areas are allowed to open. The region will keep a 10pm-6am curfew in place, except for New Year’s Eve, when it will start at 1.30am. The maximum number of people for a social gathering will stay at six, apart from New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, when 10 people can meet from two households. Hostelry establishments must close at 10pm and stop serving at 9pm.
Local councils can regulate capacity in the busiest streets, while typical Christmas celebrations have been suspended, including fun runs and ringing in the New Year in the street. The regional government has also issued recommendations insisting on the importance of avoiding social contact, hygiene measures and ventilating enclosed spaces.
The regional government recommends that if seniors visit their families, they should spend at least a week out of their residences to “compensate” the possible isolation period that they will have to observe on their return. They will require a negative PCR test before they can re-enter their residence.
Until January 11, Catalonia will be subject to tighter coronavirus restrictions. Social gatherings will be limited to six people, except for December 31 and January 1 and 6, when the limit will be increased to 10 – but only between members of two different households. The current curfew, which is between 10pm and 6am, will start at 1am on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day and at 11pm on January 5.
Groups of up to six people will be able to gather in restaurants and bars on December 31 as well as January 1, although capacity will depend on what phase of the deescalation plan the region is in at the time. The hostelry sector will also be able to open until 1am on New Year’s Eve.
Catalonia will keep its border sealed, except for visits to see family or allegados and on presentation of a form that can be downloaded here. Within the region, each comarca – an administrative area in some parts of Spain – will remain under a perimetral lockdown until January 11. Travel to a different comarca is also allowed if it is to go to a second home with the same household group.
The comarcas of La Cerdanya and El Ripollès are subject to perimetral lockdowns due to the spread of the virus.
Bars and restaurants can open in two time slots: from 7.30am to 9.30am for breakfast, and from 1pm to 3.30pm for lunch. Takeaway food service will be available until 10pm, and home delivery until 11pm. Capacity of indoor dining areas is limited to 30%. Gyms and restaurants that are located inside shopping centers will remain closed. Other sports facilities that are outside can stay open at 50% capacity. Masks must be used indoors in gyms with only low-intensity activity permitted.
Residents of senior homes will be allowed to visit their families, with the recommendation of more than three days outside and in a single social bubble. Families are advised to avoid social interaction for a week before and after visiting a relative in a senior residence to reduce risks of infection. The regional government has given seniors in homes antigen tests between December 21 and 24, and a mass PCR testing campaign is due to be carried out.
The regional government of Valencia announced last week that the border will remain sealed until January 15. Travel in or out of the region to see family or allegados is banned until this date. Allowances are made for residents returning home, for work reasons or other reasons of force majeure outlined in the current state of alarm.
Social gatherings will be limited to six people throughout the entire holiday period. The curfew will begin at 11pm, except for December 31, when it will be pushed back to midnight.
Nighttime bars and nightclubs have reopened after four months closed, but only with daytime opening hours and to offer hostelry services. Kings’ Day parades will only be permitted if they are static and in an area where capacity can be controlled.
Residents in senior homes can visit their families for a maximum of seven days, and must take a coronavirus test when they return and will have to be isolated for 10 days when they re-enter. Visits to senior homes are suspended unless they are strictly necessary for health reasons.
Under new rules announced recently, Extremadura will be under a 12.30am curfew on December 31, and midnight until 6am the rest of the time.
A maximum of six people will be allowed to gather. The region has closed its border until January 6, but is allowing citizens to enter and leave if visiting family members (not allegados).
Due to a worsening epidemiological situation, the regional government has introduced stricter measures, closing hostelry from 6pm to 8pm for December 31, and January 1, 2, 5 and 6. Capacity in shopping malls and similar has been limited to 30%.
One person per resident per day will be able to visit a senior home until January 10. Residents will be allowed to leave, but they must remain outside their residences for at least four days. They will be tested upon their return.
Galicia will seal its border between December 23 and January 6, but will allow visits to see family between December 30 at 12am and January 5. Between December 30 and 11pm on January 1 journeys within the region will also be permitted to visit other family members, including when those areas are under lockdown.
The curfew will be from 11pm to 6am during the entire holiday season, except on New Year’s Eve, when it will begin at 1.30am allowing people to return home after a social gathering. The regional authorities recommend that only households meet, and if not, that the limit be two family units with a maximum of 10 people. If more than two units meet, the maximum should be six adults, given that children aged under 10 are excluded, and without exceeding a maximum of 10 people. The restrictions for Kings’ Day are yet to be announced.
Hostelry establishments cannot open until 11am, and meetings in public spaces are prohibited. Establishments can open until 6pm in areas with higher restrictions, an hour later than allowed until now, and a measure that could continue after the holiday season.
Anyone traveling to Galicia from areas with more than 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days will be obliged to register on the regional government’s webpage. People on this register – in particular students – can be cited to take a PCR or antigen test.
Residents of senior homes can only leave once during the holiday season, for a minimum of five days. They must stay with a stable family group and will be given a PCR test before returning. They will be under observation for seven days. These measures will not apply to people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last three months.
The border of La Rioja will remain closed until January 15, but between December 30 and January 2, residents will be able to enter and leave to see family and allegados.
The current curfew from 11pm to 5am will be extended on New Year’s Eve to 1.30am to allow people to get home. Celebrations on these dates will be limited to 10 people, save for families that have more than 10 members.
Bars and cafes will have to close at 8pm between December 30 and January 2, apart from for home delivery.
Seniors will be able to leave residences between December 23 and January 6 inclusive, with a visit to a single household recommended.
Madrid will close its border from December 23 to January 6, but allow travel to see family and allegados. On Friday, the regional government reduced the limits on social gatherings from 10 to six people from a maximum of two households, for December 31 and January 1 and 6. Regional authorities also called on the public to wear a face mask at all times, except for when eating and drinking, both in homes and in restaurants. The curfew will be pushed back until 1.30am on January 1.
Six basic healthcare areas, which are smaller than a district and may include several primary healthcare centers, are currently under a perimetral lockdown: Andrés Mellado (in Chamberí district) and Sanchinarro (Hortaleza) in the city of Madrid, and Felipe II and Bartolomé González (Móstoles), Getafe Norte (Getafe) and La Moraleja (Alcobendas) in the rest of the region. Since December 28, the region has added four new basic healthcare areas where the same restrictions apply: in Madrid capital, Aravaca (Moncloa-Aravaca district) and General Moscardó (Tetuán district); and in San Sebastián de los Reyes, Reyes Católicos and V Centenario. No one can enter or leave these areas without justification, although this restriction will be lifted on December 31, and January 1 and 6. There are also greater restrictions on capacity in stores and sidewalk cafés in these areas, at 50%.
Apart from these restrictions and exceptions, the rest of the time there continue to be limits on capacity, religious ceremonies, and so on, which can be summed up with a limit on social meetings of six people, a curfew from midnight to 6am, and controls on capacity in businesses, hostelry and events.
The region has also called on local councils to control the number of people in busy streets until January 8, and prohibit citizens from seeing in the New Year outside. For example, no one will be permitted to enter the central Puerta del Sol. Kings’ Day parades will have to in enclosed areas and the public will have to be seated. Capacity for street markets is reduced to 50%.
Seniors will be allowed out of their residences, but for a minimum of three days, to one household only and they must take a coronavirus test on their return.
The regional government has maintained the border closure of its territory, but people can enter and leave for family meetings between December 23 and January 6, with no mention of allegados. On the night of December 31, the curfew start at 1.30am to allow people to return home. The rest of the time, it will be in place from 11pm to 6am. On December 31 and January 1, social meetings of up to 10 people will be allowed, from a maximum of three households although the recommendation is to limit these to two households.
Bars and restaurants will be closed on December 31 from 6pm to 9pm in a bid to avoid crowds ahead of New Year. Residents returning to the region to see family members are advised to take antigen tests before they do so.
In terms of parades and other Christmas events, in general they have been prohibited with each municipality responsible for adapting them to avoid crowds or canceling them.
The regional government has toughened its restrictions for the holiday season, with the perimetral lockdown of the territory remaining in place and people not allowed to enter or leave for meetings with family or allegados. Such social gatherings will be limited to six people from up to two households, and the curfew on New Year’s Eve will remain in place from 11pm to 6am, as it is the rest of the time.
Restaurants and bars will be allowed to open at 30% capacity in indoor areas and remain open until 10pm. There will be no limits on capacity in outdoor areas, but no more than four people – or six if there is more than 1.5 meters of distance between tables – are allowed at a table. Takeaway food service will be available until 10.30pm.
Small retail outlets will have capacity limited at 50%, which falls to 40% in hypermarkets and major stores. Closing time will remain at 9pm, while cinemas and theaters can open at 50% capacity until 10pm.
Navarre will also increase the visiting time and frequency of visits to care homes. Residents may leave apart from in cases of high risk.
The Basque government has toughened its coronavirus rules for the holiday season. There will continue to be a curfew between 10pm and 6am, except on New Year’s Eve, when it will be pushed to 12.30am. The perimetral lockdown of the region will be lifted between December 31 and January 1, to allow trips to see family and allegados.
Social gatherings will be limited to six people over the holiday period, and hostelry establishments must close at 6pm on December 31, January 1, 5 and 6 to avoid crowds. They cannot open until 9am the next day. Celebrations in such establishments are prohibited and from 8pm onward meals can only be served to those either staying or registered in hostelry establishments. There is a limit of six diners per table. This is aimed at avoiding hotels, rural accomodation and other places to stay being used for parties.
Ceuta and Melilla
In Ceuta, a Spanish exclave city in North Africa, people can enter or leave until January 6 for family meetings. The limit on social meetings is still four people, apart from on December 31 and January 2021, when it will be 10. In both cases this limit can be exceeded if the people in question are from the same household. The curfew runs from 11pm to 6am but on New Year’s Eve it will start at 1.30am. On December 31, hostelry venues will close at 6pm and can reopen at 9pm for pre-booked dinners until 1.30am, coinciding with the curfew.
In Melilla, travel in and out of the exclave city will be allowed until January 6 for visits to see family. The current four-person limit on social gatherings will remain in place over this period, except for December 31 and on January 1 and 6, when it will be increased to 6. There will be a curfew between 11pm and 6am, which will be extended to 1am on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Hostelry venues can open until 12.40am on New Year’s Eve, but will have to close from 6pm to 8pm previously.
With reporting from Eva Saiz, Lucía Bohórquez, Caridad Bermeo, Juan Navarro, Daniel Cordero, Virginia Vadillo, Lucía Tolosa, Elisa Tasca, Diego Estébanez, Pedro Gorospe, Mikel Ormazabal, Silvia R. Pontevedra, Cristina Vázquez, Guillermo Vega, Victoria Torres, Cristina Saldaña, Emilio Sánchez Hidalgo and Cecilia Jan.