Gran Canaria and other popular tourist destinations in Spain have gone into voluntary lockdown - here’s why

Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 4:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 4:11 pm
Certain regions of Spain, including popular tourist destinations, have embarked on new voluntary lockdowns in order to control outbreaks of coronavirus (Photo: Shutterstock)

Certain regions of Spain, including popular tourist destinations, have embarked on new voluntary lockdowns in order to control outbreaks of coronavirus.

Las Palmas and Valleseco (both in Gran Canaria), Tielmes in Madrid, and La Barquilla in Cáceres are currently all in voluntary lockdown.

Residents to not leave their homes if possible

Gran Canaria has had the biggest number of coronavirus outbreaks of all the Canary Islands. While the tourist resort of Valleseco has only seen three positive cases of the virus, the local mayor Dámaso Arencibia Lantigua has said he doesn't want to take any chances, due to the high number of cases of Covid-19 elsewhere on the island.

The mayor has asked 4,000 residents to confine themselves on a voluntary basis, and not to leave their homes if possible in order to avoid coronavirus outbreaks. He has also suspended all events until further notice, in order to avoid the gathering of crowds, and has said all travel outside of the town should be avoided unless it is absolutely essential.

Similar restrictions have been put into place in Tielmes, a small town in Madrid with 2,600 residents, but popular with international tourists. Measures in Tielmes have also included the closure of hotels and restaurants, the municipal swimming pool, parks and public spaces, leisure and event activities, and the flea market.

Mayor Miguel Ángel Barbero said, "This is not confinement as such but a series of recommendations. This will not be exclusive to this municipality. There are several sources and there is no relationship between them."

The current measures will last for 14 days, but they could be renewed.

La Barquilla, located in Cáceres, only has 345 residents but has reintroduced coronavirus restrictions after an outbreak (linked to a social gathering), which has so far infected 13 people.

A spokesman said that “even though the increase in cases and their incidence do not compromise the capacity of the health system to date, it is necessary to take the necessary preventive measures to prevent the uncontrolled community transmission of Covid in the area."

The Spanish government has currently ruled out a return to a country-wide lockdown, but has delegated decisions to the autonomous communities.

Recently, these communities agreed on measures including the closure of all nightclubs and a ban on smoking in the street - unless it can be guaranteed that social distancing measures will be observed.

Current travel advice

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently advising against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands.

This is based “on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks in the country,” due to evidence of increases in cases of COVID-19 across Spain.

The current advice is to only travel to Spain for essential purposes, and your travel insurance could be invalidated if you do choose to go. Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, have also been removed from the travel corridor list, meaning travellers returning from Spain to the UK will have to quarantine for 14 days.