Latest travel advice for Spain, Italy and more as lockdown begins to lift

This is the latest travel advice for a string of popular holiday destinations for British tourists.

Summer trips abroad to sun-kissed destinations and holiday hotspots are bound to be scrapped by some in the wake of coronavirus.

According to the government’s latest 50-page document, anybody returning to the UK after a holiday will need to isolate for a fortnight.

This means numerous individuals won’t have the option to holiday – but despite that, a few nations are currently starting to relax their severe lockdown measures.

We’ve investigated what this will mean for British sightseers later on this year by rounding up all the latest advice and guidance for a string of tourist hotspots.

Spain

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Spain is aiming to be welcoming back foreign visitors to the country by late June.

The country’s transport minister has said that it hopes to restart its travel economy in time for the summer holidays.

Currently, travel restrictions mean British holidaymakers cannot enter the country as its strict lockdown restrictions continue until May 24 – despite slight easing of the coronavirus confinement beginning to take place.

The Spanish government extended its travel ban, meaning Brits and non-EU travellers will be denied entry, from May 15, up until June 15.

In the most recent travel advice from the Foreign Office, all new international arrivals entering Spain, including Spanish nationals and residents, will be required to self-isolate in their residence or hotel for a period of 14 days.

Spain has been one of the nations worst hit by Covid-19, with more than 231,000 cases and 27,600 deaths.

However, on Sunday it reported 87 new deaths – the lowest daily number since March 16.

Last week, Spaniards were able beginning to socialise, shop in small establishments and enjoy a meal or a coffee in restaurants and bars with outdoor seating.

Cyprus

Following policy changes announced by the Republic of Cyprus Government and the administration in the north, all crossing points between the Republic and the north are effectively closed to travellers.

In the Republic of Cyprus, from 4 May movements are limited to three permitted outings per day.

Anyone under 65 years old going outdoors must send an SMS to 8998 explaining the reasons for going outdoors.

All hotels have ceased operations and will remain closed until further notice. The Republic of Cyprus government is using a small number of hotels to accommodate Cypriot nationals and permanent residents who have recently returned from abroad for quarantine purposes.

Greece

Greece has reopened the Acropolis in Athens and other ancient sites, along with high schools, shopping centres and mainland travel in the latest round of easing pandemic restrictions imposed in late March.

Stickers were used as markers to keep visitors apart outside the Acropolis, while students were placed on rotation with online teaching to keep classes below 50% capacity.

Public compliance with strict lockdown measures helped keep the Covid-19 death toll to 166 while the total number of confirmed cases stood at 2,834 on Sunday. But authorities are keen to reopen the vital tourism sector, following a warning by the EU Commission that Greece is likely to suffer the worst recession in the bloc this year.

Public beaches reopened over the weekend amid heatwave temperatures, with strict distancing rules imposed by the government, but crowding did occur on buses from Athens to the nearby coast.

Travel to the Greek islands remains broadly restricted.

Italy 

The country has registered its lowest daily increases in deaths and new cases since before the national lockdown began in early March.

According to data from the Health Ministry, 99 deaths of people with coronavirus infections were registered in a 24-hour period ending on Monday evening. The same period saw 451 confirmed new cases.

It came as Italians enjoyed a first day of regained freedoms, including being able to sit down at a cafe or restaurant, shop in all retail stores or attend church services.

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Bars and restaurants are expect to reopen for dine-in services in June, and now the country is tentatively considering its tourism sector. Giorgio Palmucci, president of the Italian National Tourist Board, ENIT, told local media that European tourists would be the first international group allowed to visit.

He said: “I am ready to sign bilateral treaties between European countries to encourage the arrival of foreigners as well, while waiting for the emergency to be definitively behind us.

“We will only start (with tourists) from the European Union, and at the earliest, in July or August. The problem is that, unlike other sectors, tourism relies on reservations, so the window of time open for operators will be really tight.”

The Vatican

Italy and the Vatican are opening a new post-lockdown phase in the virus emergency, with churches resuming public masses after a sharp confrontation between the Italian government and the country’s bishops over worshipping in the era of coronavirus.

Guards in hazmat suits took the temperature of the faithful entering St Peter’s Basilica, where Pope Francis celebrated an early morning mass for a handful of people in a side chapel to commemorate the centenary of the birth of St John Paul II.

Across town, the Rev Jose Maria Galvan snapped on a latex glove and face mask before distributing Communion to the dozen parishioners attending the mass at his Sant’Eugenio parish.

“Before I became a priest I was a surgeon, so for me gloves are normal,” he joked afterwards. “I’m dexterous (with gloves) so the hosts don’t get away from me.”

Bulgaria 

The State of Emergency in Bulgaria ended on 13 May 2020, but this does not mean that all coronavirus measures and restrictions will end.

The travel ban preventing UK nationals entering Bulgaria unless they have a residence permit, remains in place until further notice.

Bulgaria hopes to reopen holiday locations on July 1 – as tourism accounts for at least 12 per cent of the country’s GDP. One week ago, the Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said the country would not extend a state of emergency past May 13.

He said: “We are moving towards actions related to the gradual restoration of social and economic life, with a focus on measures that will remain in place.”

And National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria leader Valeri Simeonova told The Sun: “We all very much want the tourist season to open as soon as possible. If things turn out to be worse, it may be August.”

Turkey

(Image: Getty Images)

The wearing of masks is obligatory in crowded places and specifically in markets and supermarkets. The wearing of masks is also compulsory on all public transport, including Metro, buses and ferries, and in some areas, masks must be worn when travelling in private vehicles with more than one person.

On 15 May, the Turkish Government announced that the wearing of face masks would be mandatory in the following provinces/cities: Adiyaman, Afyonkarahisar, Aydin, Balikesir, Bartin, Denizli, Duzce, Kastamonu, Mugla, Usak at all times when outside. Additionally, inhabitants of Gaziantep, Izmir and Adana must wear face masks when outside in crowded places.

Measures may vary across provinces and new measures may be introduced at short notice. Follow Turkish announcements and local media for up to date information.

On 11 May, the Turkish Government announced a four-day curfew from 16-19 May in the following cities: Ankara, Balıkesir, Bursa, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Istanbul, İzmir, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Manisa, Sakarya, Samsun, Van and Zonguldak.

Supermarkets and grocery stores will be open on the 18 and 19 May from 10am to 4pm. It is only permitted to visit the store nearest to your home/place of residence. The existing on-going curfew also remains in place for those aged over 65, those born after 1 January 2000, and those who have a chronic medical condition with the following exceptions:

  • During the weekend curfew on 17 May, those aged over 65 will be allowed to walk outside between 12pm and 6pm.
  • Children up to the age of 14 will be allowed outside within walking distance of their home on 20 May between 11am and 3pm
  • People aged between 15 and 20 years old will be allowed outside within walking distance of their home on 22 May between 11am and 3pm.

Those aged between 18 and 20 and working in the public or private sector, or as a seasonal worker in the agriculture sector, can leave home if they have the necessary documents and permissions to show to the security forces. Those in these categories who must travel or leave home may do so after requesting official permission via the designated phone lines: 112, 155, and 156.

Portugal

(Image: scu)

Portugal’s prime minister has taken his morning coffee at his local Lisbon cafe and had lunch at a restaurant with the speaker of parliament, as officials encourage people to emerge from the lockdown.

Some cafes and restaurants reopened in Portugal on Monday. Nursery schools also reopened their doors, while school classes resumed for students aged 16-18. Social distancing, masks and temperature checks at entrances are among the establishments’ new rules.

The government is gradually easing measures introduced to stem the spread of coronavirus. The country has officially recorded just over 1,200 deaths and about 29,000 confirmed cases.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa told reporters that “we can’t return to our old life as long as the virus is around” but noted that the economy has to come back to life.

Travel officials have created “clean and safe” badges for companies to increase confidence amongst tourists and workers.

To be granted the seal, which will be valid for one year, firms must comply with hygiene requirements set out by the Portuguese authorities. Other regions are expected to follow similar procedures.  But Eliderico Viegas, head of the Association of Algarve Hotels and Tourism Enterprises, said foreign visitors were expected to start returning to the Algarve in April 2021. 

He told Bloomberg in a phone interview: “This year, hotels in the Algarve will have to rely on locals for bookings, which is insufficient to keep many of these units open. Many hotels won’t open this year.”

President of the Algarve Tourism Board, João Fernandes, added: “We are committed to developing all the necessary measures, with the ultimate goal of reinforcing security and confidence in the destination.”

France

Since 20 March 2020 entry to France has been limited to those transiting through France, returning French nationals and residents, and a small number of essential travel categories. The full list of categories are found on the international ‘attestation’ available in English. This document needs to be produced for entry, along with any supporting paperwork. If you are entering or transiting through France, you need to have:

  • an international attestation
  • a travel declaration to certify your reason for travel if your primary residence is more than 100km from your point of entry
  • a travel certificate to travel in Île-de-France (Greater Paris) on public transport at peak hours (from 06h30 to 09h30 and from 16h00 to 19h00)

Border checks are also in place on the borders with Italy, Spain, Belgium and Germany.

Chateau director Stéphanie Gombert told business mag Forbes: “At the end of May, the government will tell us when we can open again.”We will open my business in July, perhaps 1-2 rooms at the outset.

“But I doubt for the whole year we will have any international tourists. Maybe some from Switzerland or Belgium.”The country has been extremely strict on relaxing lockdown measures, with even domestic tourism off the cards right now.

And the President of the Departmental Tourism Committee, Sylvie Chevallier, said she feared difficult days ahead. In the Forbes interview, she starkly warned: “There are going to be difficult situations for tourism professionals. We know foreigners will not return in 2020.”

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