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With its busy summer travel season ahead, Spain hopes to rebuild its tourism industry in a safe way starting in July.
The prime minister says Spain will allow the arrival of foreign tourists “under safe conditions” this July but has yet to announce details about exact dates or who will be welcome.
This is a developing story. For the latest information on traveling during the coronavirus outbreak, visit the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
On Saturday, May 23, Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez announced that the country’s international borders will reopen to nonessential travel in July and that the 14-day quarantine will be lifted, marking the end of severe restrictions that began on March 14.
Spain has been one of the hardest hit nations, with more than 236,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 27,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. It’s also one of the most visited countries in the world with 83 million international arrivals annually, and a tourism industry that provides 12 percent of its GDP.
“Come July, we will allow the arrival of foreign tourists to Spain under safe conditions,” Sánchez said in a televised news conference. “We will guarantee that tourists aren’t at risk and that they don’t represent a risk (to Spain).”
While Sánchez said that Spain’s central and regional governments have been coordinating the return of tourism throughout the country for weeks, no other details were provided about who will be allowed in and what safety precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of visitors and locals.
Arancha González, minister of Foreign Affairs European Union and Cooperation of Spain, reiterated the statement from the government in a tweet posted on May 25.
“The worst is behind us,” González tweeted. “In July we will gradually open to international tourists, lift the quarantine, ensure the highest standards of health safety. We look forward 2 welcoming you!”
Currently, travel between Spain’s provinces is still banned. For now, the only people allowed to enter Spain are Spanish citizens and residents, diplomats and consular staff working in Spain, as well as cross-border workers and others with documents justifying their entrance. People arriving in Spain from another country are required to quarantine for 14 days and are only allowed to leave their residence for food or medical services during that time period (and are required to wear face masks while doing so).
Local restrictions are beginning to be lifted within Spain with most regions now in Phase 1 of the country’s reopening plans.
On May 25, Madrid and Barcelona—two of the hardest hit areas in Spain—were allowed to join the rest of the country and reopen 50 percent of outdoor seating at bars and restaurants and resume gathering of 10 people or fewer. Museums are also allowed to reopen at one third of their capacity.
Some of Spain’s less-affected coastal areas have already entered into the third and final stage of reopening by allowing locals to return to the beach in limited numbers with umbrellas required to be set up at least 13 feet apart.
In the same televised announcement, Sánchez said that Spain’s soccer league La Liga will resume play on June 8, but the matches will be held in empty stadiums.
It remains unclear whether or not U.S. visitors will be included in the list of travelers welcome back to Spain this July. But if so, there are several ways to get there. American Airlines relaunched its service from Dallas–Fort Worth to Madrid in May and plans to resume its New York (JFK), Philadelphia, and Miami to Madrid routes on July 7.
The Associated Press contributed reporting to this article.
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