Covid Passports In Spain: A Region-By-Region Breakdown

Six of the country’s territories have been granted permission from the courts for the document to be presented for access to places such as bars, nightclubs and hospitals. This is a complete breakdown, published by El Pais, showing where the covid passports in Spain are needed at the moment.

26.11. EL PAIS

A growing number of regions in Spain are using the European Union’s Digital COVID Certificate in an effort to curb the recent rise in coronavirus cases. This so-called Covid passport can be accessed in Spain via each region’s healthcare system, and certifies whether the bearer has been vaccinated against Covid-19, has recently recovered from an infection, or has been tested for the virus.

The measure comes as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Spain. According to the latest Health Ministry report, released Thursday evening, the 14-day incidence rate now stands at 160 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, up 11 points since Wednesday. The Health Ministry reported 9,258 new cases on Thursday and added 27 deaths to the official toll, which now stands at 87,931.

With infections on the rise, Spain’s hospitals are coming under greater pressure. According to the latest figures, 3,273 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, up 101 since Wednesday. Meanwhile, in intensive care units (ICUs), the occupancy rate has risen to 6.22% – above the 5% low-risk threshold outlined in the new traffic light system.

With coronavirus infections on an upward trend, many Spanish regions – which are in charge of their healthcare systems, the Covid-19 vaccination drive and coronavirus restrictions – have decided to introduce or widen the use of the Covid passport.

Of Spain’s 17 regions, six have received court approval to make the certificate a condition of entry in certain spaces. They are Galicia, Aragón, the Balearic Islands, Murcia, Catalonia and Navarre. But the spaces where the Covid certificate is required vary from region to region.

Here is an overview of how the Covid passport is being applied across Spain.

Andalusia (14-day cumulative incidence per 100,000: 82.7 cases). The Covid certificate is not currently required in Andalusia. On Friday, the region’s expert committee will come together to discuss whether it should be introduced. The regional health department said the document could be requested in hospitals, nursing homes, nightlife venues and sporting centers, but clarified that the measure would not be required at all of these sites at the start. It also added that its application would be adapted in accordance with the court’s approval.

Aragón (267.19). In Aragón, residents are required to present the Covid passport at nighttime venues, celebrations in hospitality establishments and large-scale events. The High Court of Aragón has called on the affected sectors to express their objections, but has not yet stopped the measure from being introduced.

Asturias (105.81). The regional government is not “for now” considering any measure that would imply making the Covid certificate a condition of entry, but it has not ruled out doing so in the future.

Balearic Islands (211.77). In this region, the Covid certificate is currently required at nighttime venues and nursing homes. The regional High Court authorized this measure to be extended until the beginning of December. The Balearic Islands regional government had maintained that the current measures were “enough” if they were complied with.

But on Thursday, regional health chief Patricia Gómez defended reviewing the use of the certificate due to the increase in coronavirus cases. On Monday, talks will be held between unions and business associations to decide whether the Covid passport should be required at bars and restaurants. If it decides to do so, the regional government will need to ask for court authorization.

Basque Country (350.96). In the Basque Country, the vaccination certificate is not being requested. The regional government, however, wants to introduce it in restaurants with more than 50 patrons and in nightclubs, dance halls or venues where there are shows.

The request was passed to the Basque High Court, but it was denied with division among the judges (two voted against and the presiding judge cast the only vote for). While the executive initially opted not to appeal the decision, it did a U-turn on Wednesday and decided to take the case to the Supreme Court.

Canary Islands (150.69). The Canary Islands government will ask the regional High Court for authorization to request proof of a negative PCR result or a Covid certificate in all venues that are currently subject to restrictions on capacity and opening hours. The regional government will present this request on Monday. If ratified, the plan is for the measure to come into effect in December.

The regional health department says the norms would ease the restrictions on the affected sectors, as it would allow them to operate under the limits corresponding to a lower alert level. For example, if an island was on level two, a venue such as a theater, would be subject to the restrictions of level one. At this level, there are no restrictions on opening hours and capacity.

Cantabria (119.92). The Cantabria High Court refused the regional government’s request to introduce the Covid passport last summer. The premier of Cantabria, Miguel Ángel Revilla defended the measure and criticized the courts for not accepting its application. “The judges have to understand that we have to control [the spread of contagions],” he said on Tuesday.

For now, the Covid certificate has not come into effect in Cantabria. A spokesperson from the regional health department told EL PAÍS that Cantabria would support the Covid certificate if it was introduced in a “national framework.” “In this region, the issue has been entertained, and currently, with the data we have now, because the situation with this virus changes a lot, we understand that the passport would have a limited impact,” they said.

Castilla-La Mancha (92.07). For now, the regional government of Castilla-La Mancha does not believe it is necessary to introduce the Covid certificate.

Castilla y León (187.94). The regional government is awaiting a legal report about the Covid passport’s use in hospitals and guesthouses, which would be the first place it would be required should the plan be implemented.

Catalonia (208.79). The Catalan High Court has decided to approve the use of the Covid passport in bars, restaurants, gyms and care homes in Catalonia. The regional government requested these tighter restrictions on Tuesday, and they went into force today ahead of the weekend. However, the high demand for Covid passports saw the region’s healthcare website completely overwhelmed. As a result, the measures have been put on hold, ostensibly until Monday. 

Extremadura (70.3). For now, the regional government does not believe it is necessary to require the Covid passport.

Galicia (133.91). The Galician High Court has approved the use of the Covid passport for people who want to visit patients in hospitals and also for nightlife venues. The executive is awaiting authorization from the courts to require the document for entry into bars and restaurants from 9pm onward.

La Rioja (170.36). For now, the regional government has no plans to introduce the use of the Covid passport.

Madrid (122.07). The Madrid region is not requiring Covid passports for access to any kind of venue. On Tuesday, the regional premier Isabel Díaz Ayuso stated that a debate was underway about the application of the measure, but she added that she was “unclear whether it is the most efficient measure,” and made reference to the legal problems that have so far been seen in other regions.

Murcia (171.18). The High Court in the southeastern Murcia region backed the use of the Covid certificate in nightlife venues and at events with large crowds. For both categories, demanding the passport will not be obligatory. But if it is required by the venue in question, 100% capacity is permitted, and if not, 75%.

Navarre (462.34). On Thursday, the Navarre High Court approved the use of the Covid passport in the region, considering it a “suitable, necessary and proportionate” measure. As such, from November 27 to January 6, the document will be required for access to restaurants with more than 60 patrons, establishments with a nightclub license and banquet halls. The certificate will also be required for access to large cultural events that are for more than a thousand people, are indoors and where food and drink can be consumed.

Valencia (167.56). The regional government approved on Thursday a plan to file a request with the High Court for the use of the Covid passport in venues with capacity for more than 50 people. The certificate will be necessary in hospitality establishments, nightlife venues and concerts, as well as care homes. Should the request be approved by the courts, the measure will be in place for a month from December 3 – the idea being that it will cover the holiday season and New Year.

Ceuta (73.63) and Melilla (129.77). For now, the Covid passport is not required in either of the North African exclave cities.

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