“We will allow British visitors to enter Spain just like the rest of the European Union or Schengen area from 21 June freely and without the need for the quarantine,” she told the BBC News in an announcement that has surprised many without warning, but will certainly please the tens of thousands of people who work in and around tourism which has been completely at a standstill since the State of Emergency was announced 14 weeks ago.
Since March 14 Spain has endured one of the most prohibitive “lockdowns” in Europe, which will now on Sunday come to an end, with borders reopening to EU and Schengen area countries in an attempt to salvage the summer season.
Gonzalez Laya pointed out that all British travellers would be subject to the same “triple check” system as the other European visitors, checking their origin, taking their temperature and the taking of contact details, just in case they need to be traced.
“We want to make sure we welcome visitors but do so in safety and security for them as well as for Spaniards,” she told the main BBC studios in London.
There are still ongoing negotiations over whether the UK will also lift quarantine measures for Spaniards, she said, but Spain is opening its borders “out of respect for the 400,000 British citizens who have second residences in Spain” and who are “dying to benefit” from them.
The British account for more than 20% of the approximately 80 million tourists Spain receives every year, and nearly 30% of all tourists visiting Gran Canaria and The Canary Islands
With more than 42,500 documented coronavirus-linked deaths in the UK, and over 28,300 in Spain, both countries are among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It remains to be seen how social distancing and mask wearing is to be handled and enforced, and of course everyone is very hopeful that this wave of the coronavirus crisis is now finished, but many warn it may be much to early to know. Time will tell
Spain's Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya, told BBC News today that the borders will open from Sunday June 21st to all EU, Schengen and British holiday makers without the need to quarantine.
Posted by TheCanary.TV on Saturday, June 20, 2020
From 21 June we open our borders & lift quarentene measure for ?? & Schengen area countries including UK ?? (?? 1 July)
With sanitary checks at the border
— Arancha González (@AranchaGlezLaya) June 20, 2020