After 98 days of confinement and a series of deescalation processes, Sunday June 21st 2020 was the start of what is known as “the new normality” or “la nueva normalidad” in Spanish.
It wasn’t just the welcoming of tourists from the EU (except Portugal) that was different in our new normality in Spain, there’s a lot going on and I wanted to share a little article that I’ve written to hopefully clear up some of your concerns about coming on holiday in the near future to Benidorm. Each region has its own rules which are governed by their own municipality governments, so check with each province before making any journeys.
At the moment, the FCO advises against all but essential travel from the U.K. to Spain, but you are able to travel into Spain without any problems, you won’t need residencia or anything like that. You can holiday in the new normality. But bear in mind, things may be different and not everything is open, or open as you knew it, right now.
The obligatory use of a mask
The obligatory wearing of a mask is one that certainly causes a divide in opinion. Regardless of whether you agree with them or not, it’s not up for discussion unfortunately. It’s the law and it’s a like it or lump it (or don’t come!). Masks must be worn whenever you can’t maintain a social distance of 1.5 metres. This means when you are inside or outside you must have a mask. The advisory does come with the fact that if your child is under 6 years old, it’s not compulsory or if you have breathing difficulties such as asthma. Due to the hot weather, it’s also advised to not wear a mask when you can keep to 1.5 metre distance.
Can I hug my friends?
I’ve had a few people ask me this one and it’s all down to common sense. If you are going to hug somebody, it’s recommended that you both turn your faces to the right. That way, you’re not face to face. Hugging a child you should remain upright so the child hugs your knees and your face is above the child where possible. If they are the same height or taller, you should follow the same direction as for hugging an adult. They also recommend you only hug one person at a time, not group hugs. You should wear a mask when doing this and not hug people who have possible COVID symptoms.
Are hotels open in Benidorm?
I have written a post about when the hotels open in Benidorm updating regularly when I hear direct information about a hotel date of opening. Some hotels are already open, some are closed until July. Check with your travel provider first. The ambassador is remaining closed until 2021, as are some Servigroup hotels, this is for refurbishments.
Movement around Spain
There is freedom of movement around Spain now with no prior justification of movement. You can holiday in different areas of Spain and cross over provincial borders. You will need to abide by the local province laws which may differ from the one you just exited.
The Benidorm beach rules
Benidorm and Finestrat beaches have some of the toughest rules and regulations of any of the beaches in Spain. For this reason alone, we have steered clear of our local beaches and opted for places like Altea and Alicante instead. There are fines for those who don’t follow the beach rules which are posted along the promenade in both English and Spanish. You must wear a mask until you’re in your “square”, you can’t play games and you must wear shoes until you reach your spot. There are some free zones and some paid zones (these come with a sunbed rental). The beach is at reduced capacity. You can still walk along the beach front.
Shops and shopping centres
Shops of all sizes are now allowed to be open, you must wear a mask and sanitise your hands upon arrival. They have communal sanitiser for you to use. La Marina shopping centre will take your temperature upon arrival and instruct you to sanitise your hands with the automatic machine. The shops are also running at reduced capacity. La Marina are monitoring this with their CCTV and security guards. They also have a designated entrance and exit. Outdoor markets can operate but at 75% capacity.
Is Benidorm November fiesta still going ahead?
The good news is that yes, the town hall has announced that the fiesta will not be cancelled in November 2020. The less so is that it’s still early days and this is subject to change should the situation worsen. There has been no announcement of what changes might be made to Benidorm fiestas, if any at all. At the moment, it’s too far ahead to say whether any changes will need to be made, but as this is a major fiesta and a huge tourist opportunity, I’m sure the town hall will do all they can to keep it to as close as possible.
Tourism, Bars and Hotels in general
For the hotels that are open, there are some changes that have been made. The most obvious one being that staff are wearing masks. Some hotels have made check in digital and most have altered their layout to ensure that social distancing can be kept. On the terraces of hotels and bars, there is no change to occupancy as they can now operate at 100%. Inside, they are operating at reduced capacity, of 75%. Spas and gyms can open but must follow a strict cleaning routine. Swimming pools are also open as normal with reduced capacity. If you’re going on a tour, they cannot offer audio guides or leaflets. In bars, there are no shared condiments and no shared menus. Most have opted for digital menus or publicly displayed menus or a piece of paper.
Nightclubs and discos
At the moment, most of the nightclubs and discos that we all know and love have remained closed. This will possibly change when more tourists start to come. When they do open, they are able to open at a third of their capacity. They will frequently have to clean and disinfect the areas and possibly dance floors will have to remain closed. Possibly, nightclubs will put tables where the dance floor was.
Meeting up with groups
In bars and in the street, you can make a group of up to 20 people, including yourself. Entertainment groups can not exceed 30 people. Tour guides cannot exceed 30 people.
Zoos and theme parks
Terra Mítica is remaining closed until 2021 and taking this time to do refurbishments. Mundomar is opening on July 3rd 2020. Terra Natura opens on June 22nd. Zoos and theme parks must operate at 75% capacity and follow strict cleaning schedules. In terms of lines for rides, these must be 50% occupancy with a 1.5metre social distance.
What are recreational swimming pools like?
Swimming pools can open for recreational use, including the showers and changing rooms. The pool must not go above 75% and some places may implement an appointment system (cita previa).
Are places accepting cash?
This all comes down to the original establishment but in general, yes. Most places favour contactless payments but for international tourists this might not be possible. Many bars, restaurants and vendors are accepting cash. There is nothing to say that cash is not allowed, it’s just that some aren’t accepting it at the moment, most are.
The Valencia government allows practising sports outdoors without physical contact of up to 30 people. You are also authorised to practise sports in pairs. Training for non-professionals is also allowed as long as no physical contact. Sports is allowed indoors with up to 20 people. For swimming in sports, there must be a 4 square metre surface area for each person. Sports events are taking place behind closed doors, but with the presence of the media. Bullfighting venues are limited to 50% capacity or a maximum of 800 people.
Open air events can take place at 75% capacity or 800 seats whichever is less. Cinemas, theatres and auditoriums can open at 75% capacity. Museums and show rooms can open again at 75% capacity.
On departure, there are a variety of measures in place like social distancing to check in. Some airports have laid out planes to stand on to keep the distance. Airports should be doing temperature and visual checks on departure and arrival. Masks are compulsory on board flights. Some may ask for a “location card” which you fill in giving details of where you are staying so the government can track you, similar to what you have to do when you land in the USA.
There has been an influx in tourists which have visited Benidorm over the past 24 hours, but nowhere near the amount of people that are usually here during the last week of June.
Coming from somebody who lives here and has been here throughout lockdown things are getting much better and very close to a previous normal. There is no quarantine when you arrive, but currently there is quarantine if you return to the U.K. though the U.K. government are reassessing this soon. I for one am so pleased that we’re starting to see some hope of having a fantastic rest of the year with holidays and things to look forward to once again.
Hopefully this helps. This is obviously a very fast moving situation so it’s all subject to change! We walk around the Costa Blanca daily giving live updates and we’d love for you to join us at Facebook.com/diaryofaspanglishgirl. I’m also super close to reaching 1,000 on YouTube which will unlock more features for us so we’d love for you to subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZX-g8Sp17K1Y59r-VcZUyw. We post our daily videos there and also some other footage like vlogs and info videos.