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COVID-19 RULES

REMINDER: What are Spain’s mask rules for travel?

Do you still need to wear a mask on airplanes, trains and buses in Spain? And what about at airports, stations or on ferries? Here's what you need to know about when and where you need to wear a mask when it comes to travelling.

masks on the metro in Barcelona
Masks are still required on public transport in Spain. Photo: PAU BARRENA / AFP

On Wednesday April 20th 2022, the Spanish government officially dropped the requirement to wear masks indoors.

There a still a few places you need to wear them, but for the most part, it’s now up to citizens to decide whether they should wear a face mask or not in indoor public spaces.

READ ALSO: Where do you still need to wear a mask indoors in Spain? 

But what are the particular rules when it comes to travel? Do you still have to wear masks at Spanish airports and train stations and what about inside Uber or Cabify vehicles? Let’s take a look at exactly when masks are required when travelling and when they’re not.

The transport rules cover all modes of public transport including trains, metros, buses, planes, boats, ferries, trams, funiculars and cable cars, but let’s take focus on some of the most common ones. 

On May 11th, the EU recommended that Member States drop the mask rules for airports and airplanes from May 16th, but Spain has ruled out amending its regulations for now, and the mask rules for travel in the country are as follows:

Airports and planes

Masks are no longer required inside the airport terminals in Spain, such as when passing through security or passport control. However, once you leave the airport and board the plane itself, you must put your mask on and wear it for the duration of the flight, unless told otherwise by airline staff. 

The same rules apply to passengers and airport workers.

Stations and trains

Similarly, masks will not be required when entering train or metro stations or while waiting on the platform.

Once the train or metro arrives, you will be required to wear your mask to board and for the duration of the journey, before you can remove it again. The Official State Gazette (BOE) is very clear and states “It has been considered that the obligation to wear a mask should not be maintained for platforms and stations”.

Ports and ferries

In the case of boats and ferries, masks will not be required anywhere onboard, unless a safety distance of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained (except when you’re travelling alongside those you live with). It’s no longer necessary to wear a mask inside ports. 

Taxis

In this case, taxis are also considered to be public transport and therefore it’s mandatory for both the driver and the passenger to wear masks.

The same rule applies to ride services such as Uber and Cabify –  both parties must wear a mask while inside the vehicle at all times.

Private cars

Masks are no longer required in private vehicles when you’re travelling with others who you don’t live with. This means that there are now no more mask rules regarding your own private transportation.

But what about car sharing such as Blablacar or urban car rentals like Zity and Car2go? Masks will also no longer required on these methods of transport, whether travelling with those you live with or not. 

READ ALSO: Why you now need to book a rental car in advance in Spain

Are there still fines in place for not wearing a mask on public transport?

Yes, the fine for not wearing your mask on public transport continues to be the same at €100.

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For members

TRAIN TRAVEL

Spain changes conditions for free train travel

Spain's state train operator Renfe has tweaked the terms and conditions for its free train travel offer in order to avoid 'ghost reservations'. Here's everything you need to know.

Spain changes conditions for free train travel

Renfe has changed the terms and conditions of reservations on its free travel offer for regional Media Distancia services, valid until the end of 2022, in order to avoid ‘ghost reservations.’ 

Announced by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez during the ‘State of the Nation’ debate in the Spanish Congress in August, the free multi-journey ticket scheme is an offer on some trains operated by the state-owned train network, Renfe, including Cercanías, Rodalies (Catalonia), and Media Distancia (local and medium-distance journeys).

READ MORE: All you need to know about Spain’s plan for free train tickets

READ MORE: GUIDE: How to get free train tickets in Spain

But some passengers have been abusing the offer, it seems, by block booking tickets and never using them. In response, Renfe have tweaked their terms for taking up the offer on Media Distancia journeys.

Unlike on the Cercanías and Rodalies routes, which are also included in the free travel offer, on Media Distancia routes it is possible to reserve a seat, and some travellers have been making more than one reservation on the same route for different times through the day or week in order to secure a place, and then choosing the most convenient departure.

As a result, many services were fully booked with ‘ghost reservations’ days before their departure and preventing passengers who needed to buy a ticket from being able to do so.

This loophole was particularly widespread on regional routes in Galicia and Castilla-La Mancha, and from now on, Media Distancia customers can only buy tickets for a maximum of four daily trips (two return journeys) on Media Distancia trains, and can only buy the return journey when the initial journey has been made.

READ MORE: TRAVEL: Tourists in Spain will also be eligible for free train tickets

“It is a question of guaranteeing the good use of the free passes for recurrent travelers and that as many people as possible can benefit,” Renfe sources said in the Spanish media.

READ ALSO: How much can you save on public transport in Spain with the new state discount?

Renfe’s free train travel offer came into force on September 1st and will end at the end of the year, on December 31st. In order to obtain the offer, travelers must pay a €20 deposit that is returned at the end of the year if at least 16 trips have been made during the offer period.

According to Spanish newspaper El País, as of Monday September 12th, Renfe had already issued over 1 million free passes for Cercanías and Media Distancia trains. 

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