Critical Alert

Spain extends nationwide state of emergency until May 9, 2021, to combat COVID-19; interregional travel restrictions in place in most areas.


Officials in Spain have approved the extension of the nationwide state of emergency until May 9, 2021, as part of ongoing efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19); the measure was initially approved for 15 days from Oct. 25. The directive empowers the government to limit certain rights guaranteed under the nation's constitution, including freedom of movement. Accordingly, social gatherings are limited to six people nationwide, and a 2300-0600 curfew will be in effect throughout Spain, excluding the Canary Islands, as part of the state of emergency. Autonomous communities have the authority to amend the nightly curfew locally by setting the start and end times one hour earlier or later. Moreover, regional governments may lift the curfew Nov. 9 if their local epidemiological situations warrant.

Additionally, all regional governments, excluding Extremadura and the Canary Islands, have used the new powers granted under the state of emergency to introduce local entry and exit restrictions over the All Saints Holiday weekend or beyond. The scale and timeframe of the entry restrictions vary by region. In Madrid, officials have prohibited interregional travel 0001 Oct. 30-0001 Nov. 3. In Catalonia, officials are prohibiting interregional travel for 15 days from Oct. 30 and are prohibiting individuals from leaving their municipality every Friday-Monday from 0600-0600 during this period. Some exceptions to the interregional travel ban include travel for work, education, and health and social care.

Some regional authorities, including Catalonia, have closed many nonessential businesses, including bars and restaurants; in regions where they are permitted to remain open, they must implement strict hygiene and social distancing measures. Facemasks are mandatory in enclosed public spaces and outdoor areas where social distancing cannot be maintained nationwide; some regional authorities require facemasks in all indoor and outdoor public spaces.

Spain is currently prohibiting most international arrivals with the exception of those traveling from the EEA, Switzerland, and the UK, as well as countries deemed to be epidemiologically safe, including Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, the UK, and Uruguay. Authorities have introduced a mandatory Sanitary Control Form that all persons traveling to the country by air must complete. After filling out the form, travelers will receive a Quick Response (QR) code that they must show on arrival at the airport.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.


Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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