The Canary Islands’ State Gazette, the BOC, in which all new regional laws and decrees are published, this Friday extends the timeframe of the normative guidelines, established last month, for any islands currently at Alert Levels 1 and 2, allowing those who choose to follow the voluntary framework to relax restrictions in line with the Alert Level immediately below. Use and verification of the Covid Certificate remains totally mandatory for certain sectors and activities on the islands that are at Alert Levels 3 and 4; including all hospitality business, bars and nightlife.
The framework entered into force on December 10 following ratification from the TSJC, Superior Court of Justice (Regional High Court) of the Canary Islands, which the regional government requested based on the worrying evolution of the epidemiological situation here on the islands, when increasing incidence indicators forced, in the Government’s view, the adoption of an increase in measures to try to prevent or slow the growth in new cases, aiming to maintain economic activities over the holiday season, in a policy aimed at keeping Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands open, even in the face of a burgeoning sixth wave of infections.
The Ministry of Health has a issued a statement saying the Certificate is mandatory for certain sectors and activities on the islands who remain at Alert Levels 3 and 4.
Adding that the voluntary implementation of the Covid Certificate is intended to articulate a procedure that is respectful of fundamental rights with minimal impact on the private sphere of citizens, since it is permissive rather than restrictive, although it maintains the due guarantees for public health.
The Covid Certificate, they say, helps sectors who apply it to relax restrictions in terms of traffic/capacity and hours of operation, based at all times on the level of alert corresponding to the island on which they operate, being able to benefit from applying the restrictions for the next level down.
The law aims to encourage focused observance, by business owners, of the health situation regarding the people who are in those spaces and establishments, allowing both clients and staff to have more certainty of minimal risks of transmission or serious disease.
In order to ensure that businesses are keeping the highest standards, the system requires simple proof of a recent negative active infection diagnostic test result (self-administered tests are not usually accepted for this), or proof of vaccination (issued along official guidelines) or being able to show that you have recovered from the disease within the last 6 months.
To implement this measure, the Canarian Health Service (SCS) has made an easy-to-use application on the internet available to all citizens for reading QR codes from the EU Digital COVID Certificate, so that the measure can be implemented in all establishments that desire to use it.
This digital online tool, called Lector COVID SCS, can be accessed through the website www.lectorcovid.com.
Businesses, at Levels 1 and 2, using the app or the web tool to read QR codes, will be able to take advantage reducing capacity restrictions and staying open a little later than those who choose not to use the framework.
Public Health Department, State Security Forces and the Police Corps are responsible for checking compliance with the measures, with the full endorsement of business confederations across both provinces, subject to inspection, the Ministry of Health adds.
The Ministry of Health states that the COVID certificate is mandatory in all sectors that are subject to capacity or schedule restrictions on islands at Alert Levels 3 and 4.
This measure, which entered into force on December 25, has an initial validity of one month, during which time it will be subject to monitoring and evaluation, without prejudice to the possibility of a new extension, depending on the evolution of the epidemiological situation.
The Covid Certificate is obligatory in all establishments, and activities, subject to opening times and capacity limits, on all islands at Levels 3 and 4, and does not allow them to benefit from relaxing restrictions, as is the case on islands at Levels 1 and 2, where the use of the certificate remains voluntary.