MADRID – A request was made by a number of regional authorities to make the European Covid passport mandatory for access to the catering industry. However, the central government has decided not to approve this for the time being.
Health Minister Darias rejected the option because, according to her, “the covid certificate is intended to be used for travel to and mobility between EU Member States”. France and Italy have chosen to use the certificate to reduce risk of contamination in catering and public indoor spaces.
Initially, Minister Reyes Maroto of Industry, Commerce and Tourism announced he would investigate the possibility for limited access with the autonomous regions. A few hours later, Minister Darias announced that this will not be the case for the time being.
Opinions on selective access divided among regions
Not all regional authorities in Spain thought the limited access to the catering industry was a bad idea. Only the Canary Islands, Galicia and Andalusia would have liked to use the Covid passport to keep infected guests out of public places. However, the regional authorities of Valencia and Navarra had spoken out against this measure, which they called discriminatory.
No legal applicability
The covid passport was approved by the EU to facilitate travel within the Eurozone. It is proof that someone has been vaccinated, has a recent negative PCR test result, or has recovered from Covid-19. The EU has explicitly stated that the Covid passport is not a mandatory travel document. According to the Spanish government, making the passport mandatory for other purposes would raise doubts about its legal applicability.
This summer, 50% recovery from record year 2019
Minister Maroto is sticking to the prediction that half the number of tourists from 2019 will come to Spain this summer. And, furthermore, they will spend more money here than in previous years. Likewise, as far as national tourism is concerned, a 70% recovery is expected compared to 2019. Next week, the Spanish government will publish the figures of the number of foreign tourists who came to Spain in June. This was the month in which there were still perimeter closures and the borders only reopened last week.
As for the aviation sector, according to the Spanish government, 73% of activity from 2019 has already recovered. This is partly due to the arrival of British tourists, the most important foreign market for the tourism sector. Earlier this month, the British government lifted the mandatory quarantine for residents returning from Spain.