Canary Islands first region in Spain to approve COVID test results certification for tourists
Members of the President’s Advisory Council, said they are satisfied with the legal changes put forward by the regional Executive, chaired by President Ángel Víctor Torres, in order to ensure maximum health security for tourists who stay on the islands with prior presentation of a certificate that proves that they are not infected with the virus that produces COVID-19, in tourist establishments.
The President of the Canary Islands informed his Advisory Council on Monday that the regional government is preparing its own regulation to minimize the risks of incidence and spread of COVID-19 due to the possibility of imported cases. They plan to achieve this by obligating compliance with the requirement that all people staying in a regulated tourist establishment undergo, prior to their trip, a test that proves that they are not transmitting the disease, or that a test is done as soon as they arrive in the Archipelago.
“It is a very important decree law that is being prepared following Germany and Great Britain having lifted restrictions on traveling to the Canary Islands,” said the president, acknowledging the work done in recent weeks. For Torres, “the proposal is quite professional and adequate; it is the first document of its kind to be approved by an autonomous community”.
Through a decree-law of extraordinary measures, developed by the Ministry of Tourism to face the effects of the health and economic crisis produced by COVID-19, the Government of the Canary Islands will tailor its own response to the fight against the pandemic and its effects on the economy, already claiming broad social, business and political consensus regarding the protection of public health, both for the resident population and for visitors, in addition to supporting the Islands’ main economic sector: Tourism. Projecting confidence in travel and security to reactivate demand.
The details of the proposal were presented on Monday by the President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, and the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Yaiza Castilla, to the President’s Advisory Council, in a meeting also joined by representatives of the main island tourism employers and presidents of various town councils.
The Regional Tourism Minister explained that the formula to implement these controls “is based on three basic precepts; health security, commercial security for the agents that work in the sector and transparency in the information to which the client is entitled”, said Castilla.
The legal text proposed by the Government, which is expected to be approved as a decree-law in the Government Council this week, implies the modification of basic aspects and the extension of Law 7/1995, of April 6, on Tourism Management of the Canary Islands, and of Law 7/2011, on Classified Activities and Public Shows.
The changes will take account of the right of access to tourist accommodation and establishments, on the one hand, and the clients’ right to prior truthful information on the conditions of access, and on the other, a guarantee is sought that, for health reasons and in order to limit the impact on people’s health, the client must demonstrate a negative COVID test results certification that they are free of the virus, either at origin or, if that cannot happen, at destination, upon arrival.
The legal proposal is based on trying to ensure maximum available guarantees that the tourist, when traveling to the islands, is free of COVID-19, which they can prove with an antigen test, which is the fastest and cheapest option, or others that the health authorities consider or could be accredited as valid.
The decree law complies with the limits set by the autonomous powers to undertake legal regulation in this matter and “has been configured to respond to a situation that requires immediate action,” said the Minister.
If necessary, the Canary Islands Government would even contemplate offering tourists a test before their return to their country of origin if so required in the spirit of reciprocity. The Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands has already established that they would assist with health care, quarantine accommodation and repatriation for tourists in destination, if it were necessary, when a visitor tests positive for COVID, through a specific assistance policy outlined by the Ministry of Tourism before.
The regulation obliges visitors to provide a negative test result in order to access accommodation establishments, with different measures laid out to guarantee adequate resources for its proper application.
This is intended to avoid holdups and minimise inconvenience in tourist movements, while providing safeguards that prior to the contracting of tourist accommodation services in any of the accommodation establishments located in the Canary Islands, that visitors and agents are informed about the conditions of access to the establishment, and include the need to show a complete a test, with a negative result, within a period of no more than between 48 and 72 hours prior to arrival at the destination.