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 exact rules and regulations for many stages are not unknown. We’ll do our best to keep this article updated, but check with official sources before making any travel decisions.

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 29 May, 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, far fewer deaths.

On 28 May, Malaga had an incidence of 1.1 per 1 million (classed as low) and an R of 0.9, classed as stable. There have been 4,502 cases and 285 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 Phase 2 of the easing of lockdown stage on Monday 1 June. It is expected to move into Phase 3 on Monday 15 June, although the final decision 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 the following cases: on all public transport (including taxis), in enclosed spaces and in outside areas where 2-metre social distancing isn’t possible. We’ve noticed that most people routinely wear masks outside anyway even if they can social distance.

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Shops in Malaga

What shops will be open during stage 2?

Essential shops, mostly for food, haven’t closed during lockdown in Malaga and they will continue to open. In phase 2, shops can open to 40% 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, although their communal areas will be closed.

In phase 3 (in theory, from 15 June), capacity in shops goes up to 50% and communal areas open in shopping centres.

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 40% 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.

Bars, cafés and restaurants in Malaga

Will restaurants be open in stage 2?

Food venues in Malaga can open as soon as lockdown finishes. However, it’s terrace service only and at 50% of capacity. All tables must be 2m apart. From Monday 1 June, restaurants, bars and cafés in Malaga can serve inside as well as out but only at 30% of their capacity. There will be no bar service. From Phase 3 (from 15 June), capacity rises to 50%. 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 (29 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 can open but to 30% of their capacity. Outdoor cultural events are allowed too with a maximum of 200 people, all sitting down. In phase 2, this increases to 400, but again, 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. There’s no official news about the Flamenco Festival, Malaga Fair and Malaga Fashion Week, all coming up between now and 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.

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 and frequency are reduced. As from 4 May, you must wear a mask when you use public transport including taxis.

Note that only 1 person is allowed per taxi at the moment.

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

When will the Malaga Airport open?

Malaga Airport hasn’t actually closed – there are still a few flights a day. However, there’s very little activity. We attended a webinar recently with the regional government’s representative for tourism, Nuria Rodríguez and she said that the Airport is expecting to fully open again towards the end of June. The government designated Malaga Airport as one of the five allowed to operate in Spain during the next stage.

Flights are a different matter…

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 1 (from 18 May onwards), but you must not leave the province. And you must observe social distancing measures at all times.

Can I travel outside Malaga?

You can’t go outside Malaga province (or the province you live in in Spain) until the end of stage 3. The government has not issued the rules for travel around the country yet.

When will I be able to travel to Malaga?

Another big question, currently with no definite answer and with a date. Some analysts believe that in theory you will be able to travel in the near future, perhaps by the end of June-mid-July. But in practice, will there be flights? Will your home country permit travel to Spain?

Quarantine update

The Spanish government has announced that from 15 May, everyone arriving in Spain must observe a 14-day quarantine period. This includes 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. This rule applies at least until Spain comes out of the state of emergency, probably at the end of June.

The government expects to remove the quarantine restriction in June and has said that Spain is open for international tourists from 1 July.

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