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.
For the very latest facts and figures plus travel information
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 Sunday 9 May until further notice
- Travel permitted within each province in Andalusia if the municipality is in Level 4 grado 1 (see below) and 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 1am.
- No curfew.
- 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 30 April, 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). You can also travel to other provinces within Andalusia, e.g. from Malaga province to Cadiz province.
Municipal lockdown in Andalusia
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 and the border with Portugal reopened on 1 May.
Covid-19 infections have risen sharply in Malaga province since mid-June along with hospitalisation rates. And 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 23 July 2021. Note also that it is no substitute for professional advice, medical or otherwise.
What’s the situation on coronavirus in Malaga?
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.
Note that from Saturday 26 June, masks will no longer be compulsory outside as long as you can keep at least 1.5m from people who are not part of your social/family bubble. In practice, this means wearing a mask all the time when walking around central Malaga. You must wear a mask in all indoor public spaces.
And here’s how to wear your mask correctly 😍
What does it look like moving forward?
Malaga currently has a high incidence of covid-19 with several pockets of high infection rates in the province. Tracking and testing is in place as well as the national vaccine programme. Around 53% of the Andalusian population over 16 have received the full dose (figures from early July).
What’s the Covid situation in Malaga?
You must wear a mask in all public spaces (indoor and out) including public transport (and taxis) if you cannot stay more than 1.5m from other people (except your social bubble). Children under 6 and those who have a medical certificate don’t need to wear a mask.
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 10 surgical masks, 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 June 2021, Malaga was welcoming around 100 flights a day from the EU and UK. Non-EU nationals with proof of full vaccination with WHO-approved vaccines may enter Spain. For full details on which nationals are allowed into Spain (and the EU), 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?
No, if you have full vaccination with a WHO-approved vaccine and a certificate to prove it.
Yes, if you haven’t been fully vaccinated. In this case, most travellers arriving in Spain by air or sea (land travellers are exempt) must carry proof of a negative PCR, TMA or RAT test for covid-19 carried out within 48 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. This applies to all travellers aged 12 or over.
As from 2 July, travellers from the UK who have been in the UK for 14 days prior to their arrival in Malaga also need to have a negative PCR test to come to Spain or full vaccination.
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 cancelled again for August 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.
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