Spain’s top court lifts curfew and restrictions for meetings in the Balearic Islands 

Spain’s Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against the curfew and the limit of people in meetings in private imposed by the Balearic Islands after the end of the state of alarm, considering the restrictions disproportionate for the islands’ low infection rate.

Spain's top court lifts curfew and restrictions for meetings in the Balearic Islands 
An 11pm curfew has been maintained in the Balearics since the end of Spain's state of alarm. Photo: Pau Barrena/AFP

Spain’s Supreme Court has cancelled the midnight curfew and the limit of six people for meetings in private settings on the Mediterranean islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. 

According to the judges, the measures that were kept in place in the Balearics despite Spain’s state of alarm ending on May 11th go against citizens’ fundamental rights and “exceed the judgment of proportionality” in a region where the fortnightly Covid infection rate is currently 38.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. 

This puts the Spanish archipelago in the “low” infection risk category for regions and provinces with infection rates below 50 cases per 100,000 people.

In theory, it would also allow the regional government to open bars and nightclubs until 3am under a new set of eased restrictions rolled out by the central government on Thursday.

However, the Balearic regional government is apprehensive about this, especially as they hope to welcome back international tourists soon and want to keep their infection rate as low as possible.

“We’re still in favour of a slow easing of restrictions, we know we have a lot at stake,” Balearic Health Councillor Patricia Gómez told journalists on Thursday.

Spain’s Supreme Court ruled that caution wasn’t enough of a reason for Balearic authorities to keep such measures in place. 

Imposing measures such as a curfew or limits on gatherings is still possible even without the state of alarm, judges argued, but they have to be truly justified in that they serve to protect public health.

The curfew in the Balearics was actually due to end this weekend but the ruling is important as it’s the first time that the Supreme Court gives its verdict on regional curfews.

It also sets a precedent for similar post-state of alarm restrictions imposed in the Valencian region, where there is also a curfew, and Catalonia , Extremadura , the Canary Islands or Aragon , where there are limitations on gatherings.

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TRAVEL: What Covid-19 entry requirements does Spain still have?

The pandemic no longer dominates daily life and travel, but do Spanish authorities still have restrictions in place for international travellers arriving during the summer of 2022?

TRAVEL: What Covid-19 entry requirements does Spain still have?

Spain’s tourism industry is in full swing again after two difficult years, with more than 38 million international visitors in the first half of 2022. 

All domestic restrictions have ended (with the exception of mask wearing in hospitals, other health-related centres, care homes and on public transport). 

But how about Covid-19 travel restrictions? Are the tests, form-filling and proof of vaccination that made travel to Spain in 2020 and 2021 more complicated still in place?

EU/Schengen Area countries

Passengers arriving in Spain by air or sea from EU and/or Schengen countries are not required to show proof of their Covid-19 status through a certificate (vaccination, testing or recovery) nor fill in the SpTH health control form that was previously needed.

For travellers who live in EU/Schengen nations, travel to Spain is now practically the same as it was in 2019 before the pandemic began, except that they will be required to wear a mask on the plane or inside the ferry (mask wearing on the latter depends on certain conditions).

Non-EU/Schengen countries

For UK nationals, Americans, Indians, Australians and all other third-country nationals who don’t reside in Spain/EU and arrive in Spain by air or sea, the pre-existing Covid-19 requirements are technically (more on this further down) still in place.

Therefore, non-EU/Schengen travellers arriving in Spain should be able to prove either that they’re:

  • Fully vaccinated. Your vaccination status must meet the Spanish authorities’ validity period requirements. If more than 270 days have passed since your initial vaccination, you need to show proof of a booster shot.
  • Had a Covid-19 test which came back negative. This should be either a PCR taken within 72 hours prior to departure, or an antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to departure. 
  • Recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months. You can use a medical certificate or recovery record to prove your Covid-19 status on entry to Spain. 

The easiest way to show proof of one of the above is by showing your Covid-19 digital or paper certificate issued by the relevant authority of your country. So far, 48 non-EU countries (and territories) have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate equivalence system, which you can check out here

If the country where you were issued a vaccination, testing or recovery certificate isn’t on the list, then you will have to fill in Spain’s health control form before travel to Spain. 

It’s worth noting that the above requirements do not apply to children under the age of 12.

Is Spain really still asking non-EU travellers to show a Covid-19 certificate?

This really depends on the airport, the airport official and any other number of factors.

It is clear that Covid-19 and the seriousness with which Spain’s Health Ministry and therefore airport border officials treat the pandemic has fallen considerably in recent months.

Many non-EU travellers have commented on Twitter about the fact that they were not asked to show any proof of Covid vaccination, testing or recovery upon arrival in Spain. 

Others who have visited the country during the summer of 2022 have said that they were asked to provide proof of their Covid status.

Therefore, even though for those who go to the trouble of paying for a Covid-19 test which then doesn’t get checked it can seem like a waste of money, it is better to be safe than sorry.

All non-EU travellers who don’t live in Spain or the EU/Schengen Area should therefore keep in mind that, technically speaking, Spain’s rules still state that arrivals from outside of the EU/Schengen Area by air or sea must have proof of vaccination, testing or recovery, so make sure you carry this with you.