This is an article by Guide to Malaga about coronavirus in Malaga with advice on what to do if you’re planning to visit the city or are already here.
Update 11 December: Spain entered a state of alarm on 25 October giving regional authorities the legal power to set their own restrictions. The following applies in Andalusia and Malaga:
From Friday 19 March until further notice
- Travel permitted within each province in Andalusia if the municipality is in Level 4 grado 1 (see below), but not in and out of Andalusia (by land to the rest of Spain).
- Shops can open until 10.30pm (6pm if the municipality is Level 3 or higher).
- Bars, cafés and restaurants can open until 10.30pm (6pm if the municipality is Level 3 or higher).
- Curfew 11pm to 6am.
- If the municipality is in Level 4 grado 2 (see below), you cannot travel outside the municipality and all non-essential services are closed.
From Friday 19 February, Malaga city’s municipal borders are open and you may travel from Malaga to other municipalities that are also open in Malaga province without having to provide proof of a justifiable reason (e.g. work or health purposes).
Municipal lockdown in Andalusia
Municipal boundaries will close if the rate of infection rises above 500 per 100,000 people in 14 days. This means you cannot travel outside your municipal borders unless you have a justifiable reason (e.g. work purposes, taking your children to school, healthcare etc). In municipalities with infection rates over 1,000 per 100,000 people in 14 days, all non-essential services must close.
Find out latest lockdown rules in Andalusia – add the municipality you want to check in ¿Dónde vives? and click on Entrar. The data is updated daily so check before you travel anywhere.
Malaga Airport remains open so that if you want to come (and can come) to Malaga, you can because Spain’s international borders are mostly open (the border with Portugal is closed until 6 April).
Covid-19 infections rose sharply in most of Andalusia including Malaga province in mid-January. Since then, numbers in Malaga province have dropped considerably as have those in Andalusia, along with hospitalisation and death rates. As we all know, the situation is very volatile so if you plan to travel to Malaga, check with official sources before setting out.
As a frequent traveller myself, I know how important it is to be informed and as a freelance journalist, I know how vital it is to have the right information. It therefore makes sense to share this on Guide to Malaga. The following is therefore a summary of the situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Malaga. I have used authoritative sources for all information and will be keeping this article up to date because, as we are all aware, this is a volatile situation and changing all the time.
Note that the information in this article is current as of 9 April 2021. Note also that it is no substitute for professional medical advice.
What’s the situation on coronavirus in Malaga?
Since the beginning of August, Malaga (along with the rest of Spain) has seen a gradual rise in new covid-19 cases. However, the incidence is generally much lower than other parts of Spain, including most of the rest of Andalusia. Here are the figures (as of 9 April 2021and published on the regional health service website)
- No. of new cases of covid-19 in Malaga province in last 7 days: 823
- No. of people hospitalised for covid-19 in Malaga province in last 7 days: 59 (1 in ICU).
- No. of deaths from covid-19 in Malaga province in last 7 days: 3
- Population of Malaga province: 1.64 million
- No. of new cases of covid-19 in Andalusia region in last 7 days: 7,185
- No. of people hospitalised for covid-19 in Andalusia in last 7 days: 499 (42 in ICU).
- No. of deaths from covid-19 in Andalusia in last 7 days: 44
- Population of Andalusia: 8.4 million
Andalusian Covid-19 Insurance
On 1 October, the regional government (Junta de Andalucía) announced the introduction of covid-19 insurance for all foreigners who visit Andalusia from 1 January 2021. The policy guarantees cover for any circumstances caused by the virus and includes hospital healthcare, accommodation in an apartment if you need to self-isolate and repatriation.
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 about in the rest of Spain?
You can see an interactive map of the number of cases per province, city and town here. Just add the name in bar on the top right-hand side of the map for updated details.
You have to wear a mask in any public space except when you are eating and drinking at a table in a café, bar or restaurant, sitting on the beach with people in your bubble or doing sport and are at least 2 metres from other people. If you go out running, we recommend keeping your mask on your wrist so you can put it on easily if you can’t keep 2 metres away.
And here’s how to wear your mask correctly 😍
What does it look like moving forward?
Malaga currently has a relatively high incidence (see above) of covid-19, but as we all know, this virus is a volatile one and no country in the world has yet managed to eradicate it. Tracking and testing is in place.
What’s the lockdown situation in Malaga?
You must wear a mask in all public spaces (indoor and out) including public transport (and taxis), the beach and swimming pools. Exceptions are for individual sport outdoors (as long as you can social distance), when swimming and sitting on the beach with people you live with usually, children under 6 and those who have a medical certificate.
Where can I buy masks?
All pharmacies have a choice of masks and there’s no shortage at the moment. The cheapest cost no more than €0.96. Supermarkets sell packs of 5 or 6, usually at the checkout.
What’s it like in Malaga post-lockdown?
The locals (along with the rest of Spain) have taken the health and hygiene measures extremely seriously. You’ll find a squeaky-clean city, social distancing going on, people fully masked and limited capacity at monuments, museums, shops and concerts. It isn’t quite life as normal, but we think it’s as good as it gets in the current circumstances. And we feel very safe.
Should I plan a trip to Malaga?
No one can answer this question but you and after careful consideration. You need to think about:
- The current situation in Malaga (see the figures above and information about post-lockdown).
- The situation in your home country – are you allowed to travel to Spain? Will you have to go into quarantine when you return from Malaga?
As of November 2020, Malaga was welcoming around 60 flights a day from the EU and UK. Non-EU nationals from only 15 countries were permitted to travel to Malaga (and the rest of the EU). You can see an updated list here.
Whatever your decision, rest assured that this will pass and Malaga will still be here.
Is there a required covid-19 test to enter Spain?
Yes. As from 23 November, most travellers arriving in Spain by air or sea (land travellers are exempt) must carry proof of a negative PCR or TMA test for covid-19 carried out within 72 hours before your arrival in Spain. You must bring the certificate with you (in English, French, German or Spanish, in paper or digital form) and may be asked to show it on entry.
At the time of writing, the test is necessary for nationals from all EEA countries and a long list of others including the UK and US.
Find out how and where to get a covid test in Malaga.
What about UK nationals?
UK nationals living in the UK are only allowed to enter Spain from the UK in certain circumstances. Read information about those.
What if I’m in Malaga and need to get home?
Should there be another state of alarm and you have to leave Malaga, contact your airline to find out the status of your flight and do so quickly . Contact your consulate for advice. You are allowed to leave Spain and enter your country of residence.
What about travel insurance?
Taking out travel insurance is always advisable anyway and absolutely essential to arrange in the current situation. Your travel insurance policy should provide health treatment for coronavirus and cover evacuation costs if necessary.
Note that most policies don’t cover you if you choose to travel to an area AFTER a level 3 or 4 travel alert is issued. But if you’re already in an area that receives a travel alert, you have a certain number of days (usually 10) to evacuate and your policy covers you during this period.
Are there preventative measures in place for coronavirus in Malaga?
As well as the lockdown and staying at home, Spain’s health authorities have issued guidelines for individuals to reduce the risk of infection. You’ll may also notice other measures as detailed below:
How to reduce your risk of catching coronavirus
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, including your nails. Take at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday to you twice or see below*).
- Wash your hands as soon as you enter a ‘safe place’ – your home, hotel room or self-catering apartment in Malaga, for example.
- If you’re in a closed area with people other than those you live with, wear your mask and open the windows as wide as possible. Don’t stay in the room for over an hour.
- Practise social distancing – stay at least 2m from other people.
- Avoid close contact with anyone with a cough or showing signs of a chest infection.
- Wear a mask at all times in public spaces, indoors and out.
(*On a lighter note, check out this great Twitter thread started by journalist Jen Monnier with alternative 20-second tunes to sing. Our favourite is the chorus in Jolene 🙂 )
The Spanish traditionally go for effusive greetings – two kisses, firm handshakes and/or embraces. You’ll notice that people are avoiding these altogether, preferring air kisses or elbow nudges instead.
If you’re a church goer and go to mass in Malaga, you’ll notice the following preventive measures against COVID-19:
- No holy water available.
- No rite of peace with the traditional handshake or kiss with the person next to you.
- Hand-to-hand wafer for communion only.
As of 11 May, churches are open for mass and prayers, but only to 75% of their capacity.
Events in Malaga post-Covid-19
Events in Malaga are the best occasions of the year and attended by thousands. Research into Covid-19 has revealed that close contact at gatherings is one of the main causes of spread of the virus so it’s unlikely that events will take place in the short and medium term in Malaga. Malaga Fair has been officially cancelled and we imagine other events in Malaga this autumn will be too.
What about food in Malaga?
According to the health authorities, there’s no risk of COVID-19 involved with food in Malaga. You should, however, take the usual precautions such as washing your hands before preparing or eating food and after touching raw meat or fish.
What about touching animals?
Again, there’s no risk of coronavirus in Malaga from touching animals. But, again, wash your hands thoroughly afterwards as you would do anyway.
Where can I get up-to-date information about coronavirus in Spain?
The Spanish Ministry of Health has a dedicated section of its website that is regularly updated. You can access it here (in Spanish only – right -click to read in your language).
The Regional health authorities have similar information about the situation on coronavirus in Andalusia, available here (in Spanish only – right -click to read in your language).
Where can I get information about coronavirus?
If you think you have symptoms, have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus or are in Malaga after travelling in an affected area, call 900 400 061. For general information about coronavirus, call Salud Responde on +34 955 545 060. The helplines are open 24-hours a day and offer information and advice on coronavirus in several languages including English.
If you think you have symptoms, do not go to a health centre or hospital; wait for professional advice.
What about Guide to Malaga?
We’re devastated by what has happened and extremely sad to see Malaga shut down. However, we knew this will pass and that Malaga would still be here for everyone who wants to come and enjoy this wonderful city. We set up a brand-new section on our website and social media channels – My Malaga At Home – where we brought you this wonderful city for as long as you couldn’t visit Malaga yourself.
For the moment, Malaga has come out of it and is open and keen to welcome you. But obviously, this depends on whether you can and want to travel. But rest assured – Malaga is taking social distancing and hygiene regulations extremely seriously and can’t wait to see you!
We hope to see you in Malaga as soon as it is possible. Meanwhile, stay safe.
Keep your finger on the Malaga buzzer – sign up for our free fortnightly newsletter. All you need to know about what’s on and what’s new in the city in your inbox every other Friday.