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Tell us: How have your Christmas plans been hit by travel rules in Spain or abroad?

As a result of the emergence of the new Omicron variant and the rise in Covid-19 cases across Europe, Spain and several other countries have changed their rules ahead of the holiday season, making travel a lot more difficult. Tell us how it has affected you.

Families with unvaccinated kids aged 12 and over won't be able to enter Spain
How have your plans been affected by Spain's new rules? Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images/AFP via AFP

Recent travel announcements from the Spanish government, as well as other governments across Europe, have taken many by surprise and the new rules have already affected many families who were planning on travelling for the festive season.

We want you to tell us how the changes have affected you – have you had to cancel a trip to Spain because you or your kids aren’t vaccinated? Perhaps you are a grandparent living in Spain who now can’t see their grandkids because they are not vaccinated and now can’t enter.

Or maybe the cost of the extra tests needed to visit the UK means that you can no longer afford to travel or will have to spend less on Christmas gifts instead. Perhaps quarantining before you get your Day 2 test results means you’ll miss a family get-together or Christmas party.

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Covid-19: Spain to scrap face mask rule for hospitals and pharmacies

The Spanish Health Ministry has announced that masks will no longer be required in certain healthcare settings, including hospitals and pharmacies, with a couple of exceptions.

Covid-19: Spain to scrap face mask rule for hospitals and pharmacies

The Ministry of Health, along with representatives of each autonomous community in Spain, decided at the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (CISNS) on Friday June 23rd that it would no longer be mandatory to wear masks in hospitals, pharmacies and other clinical settings.

Spain dropped the mask rule on public transport in February 2023, but since the very early days of the pandemic in 2020, they have been required in health centres, hospitals and clinics.

Where will masks no longer be mandatory?

You will no longer need to wear a mask when you visit these places:

  • Pharmacies
  • Physiotherapy clinics
  • Dental clinics
  • Health centres
  • Nursing/Care homes
  • Hospitals

Are there any places where masks are still required?

Yes. Spanish Health Minister José Miñones has confirmed that the use of masks will still be required in areas with vulnerable patients and some places where they were mandatory before the pandemic too. These include:  

  • Operating rooms
  • Intensive care units
  • Areas where there are immunocompromised patients
  • Cancer wards
  • Emergency rooms

When will it enter into force?

This measure was expected to be approved by the Spanish Cabinet on Tuesday, June 27th and enter into force the next day on Wednesday, after its publication in the Official State Bulletin (BOE). But on Monday Spain’s Health Minister said the date would have to be pushed back as the matter wouldn’t be addressed in the Spanish cabinet on Tuesday, adding that mask removal in hospitals and health centres will happen “as soon as possible”.

Masks first became mandatory in all indoor and outdoor spaces in Spain in May 2020 as the country emerged from a two-month national lockdown in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The outdoor mask rule was scrapped in February 2022 and in April 2022 it was the turn of the indoor mask rule, with the only exceptions being health centres, care homes and pharmacies.