The decree law, requiring tourists to self certify negative test results for coronavirus, approved on Thursday afternoon by the Canary Islands Regional Governing Council is now pending technical modifications before it will be published in the Official Gazette of the Canary Islands (BOC), to take effect immediately. However, there will be a transitional period before the decree is validated by the Regional Parliament. The new security regulations have been brought about by the Regional Executive through the modification of two laws. Changes to the Canary Islands Tourist Planning Law introduce these measures to protect the health of visitors and workers in the sector and, the Classified Activities and Public Performance Law has been modified regarding the right of admission to tourism businesses.

Hotels, apartments, vacation homes and all other licensed tourist accommodation will require a certificate of negative test results within the 72 hours prior to arrival, or will require anyone who arrives without an acceptable certificate to go get tested or else be denied entry to the accommodation. If a tourist tests positive, they will be referred to public or private health facilities, and measures adopted to isolate and determine recent contacts and other details to assist with infection control.

The President of the Government, Ángel Víctor Torres, said that it is an unprecedented regulation intended to guarantee the health and economic security of the sector. He also pointed out that incidences of infection in the Canary Islands are the lowest in all Spain, so it is essential to maintain current low levels of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and ensure that the entry of tourists does not lead to any increase in the health emergency.

The new rules exempt Canary Islands residents from the obligation to present a diagnostic test result, so long as they declare, in a signed statement, that they have not left the territory of the autonomous community in the 15 days prior to their arrival at any tourist establishment. Non-residents will also be exempt if they can certify, by means of travel documents, that they have been on the Islands for 15 days or more, without leaving, prior to arrival at accommodation.

Regional Tourism Minister, Yaiza Castilla, reiterated that the tourists themselves will be responsible for the cost of the tests whether before arrival at the accommodation or if they do it after arriving on the Islands. Castilla said that of course if any hotel group wants to pay for the tests for their customers they can do so, though their legal  responsibility regarding this new regulation is limited to verification of certificates that are provided prior to access to their facilities, as well as a duty to provide information on the places where tourists can undergo diagnostic tests if they do not bring certification of one already done.

The decree law also establishes that, prior to the the reservations or contracting of tourist accommodation in any form in the Canary Islands, visitors must be informed that conditions of access include the requirement for diagnostic test certificate. Visitors will need to specifically verify that they have received this information, before a booking can be accepted.

Castilla pointed out that 80% of the more than 15 million tourists who visited the Canary Islands in 2019 stayed in regulated, licensed establishments, that is, hotels, apartments, holiday homes and rural accommodations, so this rule will cover the vast majority of visitors who come to the Islands at least until the health emergency caused by Covid has been brought more robustly under control.

The Tourism Minister finished by saying that the regulatory text includes an obligation for tourists to download and install the Radar Covid mobile app, which they will have to have active at least 15 days after their stay in the Archipelago.