Visitors to The Canary Islands who have not been able to yet return to their countries of origin, will be, for now, able to continue to stay at vacation homes, rural houses, hostels, hotels and other accommodation, regardless of the published list of declared essential services establishments.

Since the declaration of the state of emergency on 14th of March, 400,000 tourists have left the islands though an estimated 16,000 still remain.

The Canary Islands Government’s Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce has announced their having received a response, from the central government, regarding the measures decreed for the provision of accommodation services to tourists who may still remain on the islands as of today, Thursday 26th March. It gives legal protection to a small set of tourist establishments that will need to continue to accommodate visiting tourists, who have not yet been able to leave the islands and return to their country of residence.

The response makes clear, as the tourism industry enters a state of suspended animation, that there are a few tourist establishments, still accommodating visitors, that will be allowed to continue their duty of care, without fearing sanction or adverse consequences.   Even if they were not included in the list of 14 hotel and non-hotel establishments in the Canary Islands declared essential services establishments, published on Wednesday, by the Ministry of Transport (Order TMA/277/2020).

In a response letter addressed to the regional councillor for Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Yaiza Castilla, the Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism specified that the provision of accommodation services will be allowed for those affected groups, namely “tourists who have to return after March 26” even those staying in tourist accommodation not listed in the annex of the order declared for essential services.

Of course, every individual person, and establishment, must observe the protection measures and instructions from the Ministry of Health, aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19. Likewise, the Spanish State allows establishments to provide a restaurant service and any other similar service that may be necessary for the proper provision of accommodation, exclusively to people already staying there, and with appropriate measures to ensure personal distance and reduced likelihood of infecting others.

This response, according to Castilla, has been welcomed “as it clarifies the lack of definition and doubts that existed for tourists who [need to] stay on the islands, regarding [what] possibilities [remain] for providing accommodation services both in establishments and in holiday homes and rural houses”.

Yesterday, March 26, was the final deadline given across all Spanish territories  for the closure of tourist accommodation, pursuant to Order SND / 257/2020, of March 19, from the Spanish Ministry of Health declaring the complete suspension of public of accommodation establishments ”.

This order on March 19, requested by the hotel sector, “has facilitated”, according to Castilla, “the return home of the vast majority of tourists, thanks to coordinated work between the Government, embassies and consulates, airlines and tour operators In such a way that since March 13, when the state of alarm was announced due to Covid-19, to date, some 400,000 visitors have been able to leave the various islands.”

However, according to the counsellor, it is estimated that around 16,000 people could still be staying in the Canary Islands as of last night between hotels, apartments, holiday homes and second homes, and “it was those people who worried us, both to [to be able to] guarantee them a place which complies with the conditions of the state of emergency, and from the perspective of the tourist board, Turismo de Canarias, to maintain the good image of the destination, even in the conditions in which we currently find ourselves”.

Anyone in doubt should contact the tourist board, or their gestor or business advisor to get the most up to date and official information regarding their situation or business.