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Easing out of lockdown in Malaga – FAQs

As you may be aware, Spain officially came out of full lockdown on Monday 11 May. The government then announced a series of three stages in the easing of lockdown with a more gradual easing in each one. We’ve put together the main aspects of coming out of lockdown in Malaga and will be adding to this article as more details become clear.

Note that Malaga along with the rest of Spain officially left lockdown on 21 June so that the information below no longer applies. However, it may come back in if and when needed because of new outbreaks of covid-19. See what the ‘new normality’ looks like in Malaga.

State of coronavirus in Malaga now
How easing out of lockdown in Malaga works
Questions about shops
Questions about bars, cafés and restaurants
Questions about culture and events
Questions about transport in Malaga
Questions about travel in Malaga

What’s the state of coronavirus in Malaga?

As of 10 July, the situation over covid-19 in Malaga province was under control. The same applies the region of Andalusia with one of the lowest incidences in Spain. Fewer new contagions emerge every day and the province now has few new cases of patients in intensive case. And even better news, hardly any deaths.

On 14 July, Malaga had an incidence of 1.1 per 1 million (classed as low) and an R rate of 0.5 +/- 0.3. There have been 4,770 confirmed cases and 289 deaths since the start of the crisis. Malaga province has a population of 1.64 million.

How does the easing out of lockdown in Malaga work?

The government has introduced three phases/stage, each expected to last 2 weeks. This means that in theory, it will take 6 weeks to reach the end of the easing out. Each phase lasts 2 weeks because that is the incubation period for the virus.

Stages are measured in each province – in the case of Malaga, the province of Malaga. At the end of each stage, the health authorities will assess the situation regarding coronavirus in the province and based on these parameters decide whether it can go on to the next stage.

What stage is Malaga in at the moment?

Malaga province entered the so-called ‘new normality’ on Sunday 21 June. This signals the end of easing out of lockdown process, but doesn’t mean Malaga won’t reenter any of the previous phases again. It all depends on a long list health and safety factors that include the number of new cases of covid-19, testing facilities and its effectiveness and the capacity of hospitals to deal with new cases.

Do I have to wear a mask in Malaga?

Yes, masks are now compulsory in all public spaces, indoors and outdoors except when you’re doing individual sport outside, swimming in the sea or a pool or sitting on the beach with people from the same household. Children under 6 and those with a medical certificate are exempt. Be aware that there are fines (€100) for non-compliance.

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Shops in Malaga

What shops will be open during stage 3?

Essential shops, mostly for food, haven’t closed during lockdown in Malaga and they will continue to open. In phase 3, shops can open to 50% of their capacity. In the smallest ones in Malaga, this will be 1 or 2 people inside at a time maximum. Shopping centres can open and their communal areas must keep to 40% of their capacity.

Calle Larios during and possibly after lockdown in Malaga
Calle Larios during lockdown and during the Malaga Film Festival 2017

Does this mean my favourite shop in Malaga will be open?

Not necessarily because it will depend on the owner’s decision. There are strict health guidelines in place and opening to 50% of capacity may not be financially viable. We expect some small shops to decide to wait.

What about markets?

Atarazanas and other food markets in Malaga have remained open during lockdown. Open-air markets will be up and running again, but with capacity restrictions. Stalls will also have to be further apart. Official guidelines limit the number of stalls to 50% of the usual total.

Bars, cafés and restaurants in Malaga

Will restaurants be open in stage 3?

Food venues in Malaga have been open since lockdown finished. However, terraces have 75% capacity and tables must be 2m apart. From Monday 8 June, restaurants, bars and cafés in Malaga can serve inside as well as out but only at 50% of their capacity. Bar service is allowed if customers are 2m apart. And you may have to wait for a table if only half the usual number are available.

Will my favourite restaurant in Malaga be open?

Like shops, this will depend on individual owners who will have to decide whether it’s worth their while opening to a third or half their capacity. It’s also worth remembering that tourism will be zero and many locals have lost their jobs or been furloughed. So, spending is expected to be lower than before 13 March.

What about takeaways in Malaga?

Fast food venues have been serving takeaways during lockdown in Malaga. Lots of restaurants (e.g. Óleo, De Huelva, Astrid Tapas and Uvedoble) have introduced takeaways with home delivery. We expect to see more restaurants do this instead of opening, at least until the end of phase 3 (expected 23 June).

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Culture and events after lockdown in Malaga

Which museums can open again? What about events?

Museums and concert venues face some real challenges over the next few months. In phase 1, museums could open but to 30% of their capacity. Outdoor cultural events are allowed too with a maximum of 400 people, but all sitting down.

Most museums in Malaga reopen from Tuesday 26 May. The Pompidou Centre and Russian Museum both have brand-new exhibitions waiting so put these on your must-see list. There will be no guided tours or audio guides available.

As for the big events in Malaga, expect these to be cancelled. Malaga Fair isn’t going ahead nor is the Flamenco Festival. However, Malaga Film Festival has been rescheduled for mid-August. There’s no news on Malaga Fashion Week, coming up in September. But we think they will all be cancelled because, obviously, social distancing in crowds is impossible.

The Botanical Gardens opened on Tuesday 19 May with their usual timetable (9.30am to 8.30pm, Tues-Sun). The lovely café is also open, although with reduced tables to comply with social distancing.

The Caminito del Rey reopened at the end of May (check the website for ticket sales), but from Friday to Sunday only. Travel there by train if you can and use the new large car parking space at El Chorro.

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Transport in Malaga

Is public transport up and running?

Yes, all bus routes, the metro and taxis are running (and have been since lockdown). However, capacity is reduced due to social distancing, but frequency is back to normal. As from 4 May, you must wear a mask when you use public transport including taxis.

Note that payment on buses is with the Malaga bus card or coins (not notes) only.

When will the Malaga Airport open?

Malaga Airport never actually closed – there were always a few flights a day. In early July (one of the busiest months of the year), around 100 flights were scheduled daily from the Airport.

Note that you need to complete the Health Control Form (FCS in Spanish) and hand it to the authorities when you arrive in Malaga. Full details can be found here.

When will I be able to get a flight to and from Malaga Airport?

One of the big unanswered questions for the easing out of lockdown in the world, not just in Malaga. Many airlines are in serious financial trouble and there are doubts if they’ll be running again.

Ryanair has announced 40% service from July onwards (Malaga is one of Ryanair’s biggest bases in Spain), which is great news. But, there is also the matter of quarantine (see below) and whether your country advises you to travel to Spain. Most, at the moment, are advising against non-essential travel anywhere.

Social distancing on planes is one of the biggest challenges facing airlines. Some are pressing for compulsory masks for passengers and temperature controls at airports.

Travel in and out of Malaga

Can I travel in Malaga?

Yes, you can now that the province is in stage 3 (from 8 June onwards). And you must observe social distancing measures at all times.

Can I travel outside Malaga?

You can now travel outside Malaga province (or the province you live in in Spain). The government has not issued the rules for travel around the country yet.

Quarantine update

Quarantine restrictions were removed in Spain on 1 July. However, they may come back in at any time for all passengers or those arriving from certain countries.

If they do, they include Spanish nationals and residents and the 14-day period starts the day after arrival. You must stay in your home or accommodation (e.g. hotel or self-catering apartment) and can only go out for essential food shopping and to the pharmacy or health centre. You must wear a mask at all times when outside.

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