The Canary Islands Executive Governing Council, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria this Thursday, October 29, 2020, has, as expected, approved a new decree law of extraordinary measures in tourism to deal with the health effects and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the legal text establishes that in order to access licensed tourist accommodation establishments on the Islands, travellers must have completed an active infection diagnostic test established by the health authorities, within 72 hours prior to their arrival, certifying that they have tested negative as a transmitter of this disease.

The legal text, approved by the Governing Council, and put forward by the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Health, and Public Administration, Justice and Security, also makes clear that before reserving or contracting any regulated tourist accommodation in the Canary Islands, visitors must be informed that access conditions include completion of that diagnostic test. In addition, it will be necessary for the client accept that they have received this information.

The Canary Islands Government has based this legislative measure on the need to incorporate it into existing regulations for tourism accommodation to guarantee protection of visitors’ health, in addition to trying to avoid paralysis of tourism related economic activities due to risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

The Canary Islands has thereby become the first Spanish autonomous community to require diagnostic tests at the place of origin of each tourist, providing also for the possibility that these tests may need to be performed at destination prior to entering the tourist accommodation establishment, should anyone arrive without certification.

The rule exempts Canary Island residents who can simply declare, in a sworn, signed statement, that they have not left the archipelago in the 15 days prior to their arrival at an establishment, also non-residents who can prove, with their travel documents or similar, that they have been on the islands for at least 15 days prior to their arrival at a regulated accommodation establishment.

Tourist accommodations must take responsibility for verification of certificates that are provided before allowing access to their facilities, and have a duty to provide information regarding where tourists can undergo diagnostic tests if they have not already been done. Establishments must deny access to people who do not meet these new conditions, having certified a negative test for COVID-19.

Tourists themselves will be able to certify the completion of the diagnostic test within the 72 hours prior to their arrival by providing a certificate, either electronically or on paper. This document must state the date and time of the test, the identity of the tourist, name the laboratory responsible for its verification and its nature, as well as the negative result.

The obligation to accredit a negative COVID-19 test for each visitor arriving on the Canary Islands, to stay in regulated establishments, will apply 10 days after this decree-law enters into force.

The provisions of the new standard set out the protocol to follow in the event that a tourist is diagnosed as a carrier of COVID-19, whereby the government will provide suitable establishments.