Since Spain opened her borders to international travellers on 21 June, we’ve received lots of emails asking the same question: is it safe to come to Malaga? Over the last week (since the UK advised against all non-essential travel to Spain on 1 August), the emails have become an avalanche. We therefore thought it made sense to compile some FAQs to give you the facts to help you decide the answer to the question.
How have you compiled this information?
As Guide to Malaga followers know, our team headed by Joanna Styles lives in Malaga city. Since covid-19 first appeared on the scene, Guide to Malaga has offered updated information on coronavirus in Malaga; the lockdown; the easing out of lockdown; and the ‘new normal’.
All our information is a) based on official figures from government sources (links are always included) and b) our experience out and about in Malaga. Using these we have attempted to answer the question “Is it safe to come to Malaga?”
Can I come to Malaga?
As of September 2020, Spain in common with the rest of the EU is allowing travellers from a list of around 15 countries to enter the country. The EU revises this list periodically. You can find out if your country is on the list here.
The list is not fixed and can change at any time to check it regularly.
If your country is on the list and you come to Malaga, you will be allowed in. This applies even if your country has advised against travel to Spain.
Should I come to Malaga?
That depends on your circumstances and what the government in your home country recommends. Check with your foreign office for the latest advice.
What about quarantine?
Spain is not applying quarantine requirements to citizens arriving from the countries in the EU-approved list.
Are flights safe?
We haven’t flown since lockdown so can’t offer a personal experience. However, we do know lots of people who have and the general consensus is as follows:
- Hygiene on planes appears to be good enough.
- All passengers and airline staff wear masks all the time (except when eating).
- Malaga Airport has high hygiene standards and social distancing rules appear to be observed with the exception of some boarding queues.
What are entry requirements to Malaga?
You need to fill in the Health Control Form (Formulario de Control Sanitario/FCS) via the website or mobile phone app prior to arrival. Full details are here.
Restrictions in Malaga
On 29 September, the regional government introduced new restrictions in Andalusia. Meetings are now limited to 6 people only anywhere (unless you live together) except in restaurant and café terraces (outside) where you can have a maximum of 10 people sitting together. A small town in the south of Seville province (Casariche) is in lockdown and the government is considering introducing mass testing in some parts of Andalusia. Malaga is not currently one of them.
Safe Travels Stamp
On 6 August, Malaga city received the Safe Travels stamp, awarded by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). The seal recognises tourist destinations that have applied health and hygiene protocols according to WTTC guidelines.
What’s the covid-19 situation in Malaga now?
On 25 September, Malaga had the following figures:
- No. of new cases of covid-19 in Malaga province in last 7 days: 1,397
- No. of people hospitalised for covid-19 in Malaga province in last 7 days: 66 (3 in ICU).
- No. of people died from covid-19 in Malaga province in last 7 days: 8
- Population of Malaga province: 1.64 million
- No. of new cases of covid-19 in Andalusia region in last 7 days: 6,184
- No. of people hospitalised for covid-19 in Andalusia in last 7 days: 403 (20 in ICU).
- No. of people died from covid-19 in Andalusia in last 7 days: 43
- Population of Andalusia: 8.4 million
You can check the latest figures (in Spanish only) here. They are updated daily.
Are these figures getting higher?
Compared to a week earlier, no, they are not, but the curve is only just starting to flatten out in Malaga province.
It’s also worth pointing out that at the start of the pandemic, Spain only tested people who went to hospital with covid-19 symptoms. Health services (at health centres and in special centres) are now testing anyone with symptoms and all those in contact with them. The current trend shows a very high percentage of asymptomatic people and a small proportion of people needing hospitalisation. That said, covid-19 is very volatile and as we know from mid-March to late May this year, the situation can change rapidly.
Are the cases being monitored?
Yes, very much so. Andalusia has a trace and track system in place, which, so far, appears to be working well. The local press offers daily figures on exact number of new contagions. Since lockdown ended, all outbreaks have been controlled by tracing all those in contacts with confirmed patients and isolating them.
What about the rest of Spain?
Some parts of the country currently have much higher incidences. These are Madrid, Aragon and Murcia, which between them account for the majority of covid-19 cases in Spain. Madrid alone has a third of all cases. In a small number of places in these areas, restrictions are in place.
Madrid is 535km from Malaga. Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon, is 837km from Malaga and Murcia is 400km from Malaga. (Lets not forget that Spain is a big country.)
What health and hygiene measures has Malaga introduced?
Since lockdown, Malaga city council and all businesses have worked extremely hard to keep the city as clean as possible. We certainly have never seen it looking cleaner. Hygiene measures are in place everywhere, from museums and monuments to buses and taxis; from hotels to restaurants; from shops to beaches, etc, etc.
Do I have to wear a mask?
Yes, masks are compulsory in all public spaces, indoors and outdoors. Exceptions are when you are sitting down and eating and/or drinking, sitting on the beach or doing individual sport. There are fines of €100 for non-compliance and in our experience, the vast majority of people are wearing them. While there are exceptions, most people have accepted masks and feel they’re part and parcel of their responsibility in helping combat the virus.
Guide to Malaga has teamed up with Positively Organics and La Planta Sabia, 2 local companies who have put together a mask pack, perfect for these covid-19 times. The pack costs €25 and includes:
- A reusable organic cotton mask in the choice of 4 different designs.
- Anti-bacterial essential oil spray for freshness.
- CBD tea bags and sweet for calmness.
Buy yours for just €25 here – add the discount code MALAGA at the checkout.
Stay calm,fresh and organic behind that mask! (And support local Malaga businesses at the same time 💪)
Is it safe to come to Malaga?
We certainly feel very safe in Malaga. The city has the advantage of offering lots of attractions outdoors – most bars and restaurants have terraces, there are lots of al fresco cultural events and there are the pedestrian spaces, parks and beaches. Inside spaces (shops, museums, tourist offices, public transport etc) all have limited capacity, so you won’t find it difficult to social distance.
On balance, we think it’s a safe city at the moment providing you follow the basic rules of wearing your mask, keeping your distance and washing your hands a lot.
Avoid the (very few) eateries where staff aren’t wearing masks and the (very few) venues that appear to have too many tables to social distance.
Will I enjoy coming to Malaga?
Obviously, it isn’t the same as it was, but we are enjoying the city this summer. The museums are as good as they were (and quieter!), we have been to some lovely cultural events (outdoor concerts and cinema have come into their own), our favourite places to eat are all squeaky clean and we love the social distancing on the beach so much that we hope they keep it in place forever!
But, remember, this is our opinion and not official advice. In the current pandemic, you could catch covid-19 anywhere in the world including Malaga. The decision to come to Malaga is yours and yours only.
We hope to see you in Malaga as soon as you feel ready to come here. Meanwhile, stay safe.
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Disclaimer: the information included in this article is based on facts available on the links provided and the personal experience of Guide to Malaga. It should under no circumstances be used as a recommendation to take (or not take) action. The decision to travel to Malaga (or anywhere in the world) is entirely yours and Guide to Malaga takes no responsibility for the outcome of that decision.