Updated: Dec 20, 2020
Important Updates accurate to 20th December: Spain considering suspension of flights to and from UK
The national and local authorities in Spain have now announced their Christmas period restrictions, and we can confirm what is permitted during the coming holidays. It has been made abundantly clear that any relaxation of restrictions will be fleeting and temporary for the Christmas period. Read on to discover what is in store or listen to our podcast discussion via either youtube or our pod feed.
Christmas holidays in in Aragón
Aragón will be moved from maximum alert level 3 to "flexible" level 3.
From the 15th of December there will be an easing of restrictions. Bars will be permitted to stay open until 22.00, bars and restaurants will also be permitted to serve at 30% capacity indoors (although consumption must be at a table and not at the bar) and 100% on the terrazas whilst still maintaining two metres social distancing and a maximum of 6 people per table.
Gyms will also be permitted to reopen at 30% capacity with obligatory mask wearing. Cultural events will increase to 50% capacity and games rooms/gambling establishments can also reopen with a maximum capacity of 50% as well.
There is also a relaxation of the provincial perimeter confinement but the regional confinement remains unchanged. The exceptions for December 23rd to 26th and December 30th to January 2nd have been reduced to inter provincial travel to arrive or return from habitual places of residency. If stopped during your journey you must present a document listing your address and the family relationship (relationships derived from domestic partners are permitted).
The curfew remains unchanged with the exception of Christmas Eve and New Years Eve when it will be moved back to 01.30 until 06:00.
On December 24th, 25th, 31st and January 1st the maximum number of people for gatherings may not exceed a maximum of 10 people to celebrate Christmas and New Year lunches.
Restrictions will remain in place for hotels and nightlife. Ski resorts will now not be opening on the 23rd of December as originally planned.
The Aragón Health Minister Sira Repollés had stated very distinctly that these "relaxations" are dynamic. The situation will remain under constant review and restrictions can be returned if positive case numbers start to climb. She starkly stated that "the more intense our social life, the greater the risk".
Christmas holidays in the UK
It had been widely understood that it was possible to travel back to the UK for Christmas with the understanding that a negative PCR test must be provided to ensure return to Spain.
This is now in doubt. With the discovery of a new more transmissible mutation in the UK large parts of the south of England have returned to effective total lock down and flights are being suspended by multiple countries. The Spanish Government is considering a similar move. Such restrictions are expected to be in place in the UK for a minimum of four weeks and this could probably be extended to flghts to and from the UK as well. The Bulldogz advice continues to be if you need to be sure of your return date to Spain it is probably unwise to travel.
If flights are not suspended the following is what you need to know:
Since July people arriving in the UK have been required to self isolate for 14 days after arrival.
But this changes from December 15th in England (Not Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland as yet) when new arrivals or those returning from abroad can be released from quarantine if they test negative to a PCR test on day 5. Results are normally provided within 24 to 48 hours so people could be released from quarantine six days after arrival.
The tests must be PCR (Antigen tests) and must be carried out by private firms to protect the NHS. They currently cost around £120. Those who chose not to take a test must continue to follow the self isolation requirements, failure to do so can result in a fine of £1,000. It is permitted to enter the UK for a stay shorter than 14 days, but people must self-isolate for the whole of that period.
To be able to return to Spain a negative PCR or TME test must be taken within 72 hours prior to arrival. Failure to present this proof of a negative test on arrival could result in a €6,000. The PCR tests must be done privately as the NHS will not carry out tests for the purposes of travel and be CE-marked, so they meet European standards for medical testing and are approved for sale in the UK. There is more information on the private tests, how much they cost and where to get them from here.
There is also a detailed list of authorised testing centres here. To ensure smooth return to Spain you must have the required paperwork to confirm the test result.
This certificate must be original paper or digital version, in Spanish, English, French or German, and show at least the following details:
name of passenger
passport number (or DNI for Spanish nationals returning to the country) matching that of document used for border control
date test was physically carried out (law does not include requirement for time to show)
ID and details of the lab where it was analysed
confirmation that test was a PCR type