On Thursday 10th June 2021, the Canarian Government finally approved longer opening hours for Nightclubs, Cocktail Bars and Karoke establishments on islands in Alert Level I from last night.

These establishments may stay open until 2am if they comply with additional measures such as limited occupancy, adequate ventilation (inside and outside) and register customer contact information to allow the authorities to track possible contagion for at least thirty days. The islands that are currently at Alert Level I are Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro.

Maximum occupancy per table is fixed at 10 persons (exterior) and 4 persons (interior). All food and drink must be consumed at the table with customers correctly seated and maintaining the 2m security distance. Masks must be used at all times except when eating or drinking.

Since dancing is still not on the approved list of activities, the establishments must either tape off the dance floor or place tables on it without exceeding maximum occupancy.

The good news is that other establishments in the hospitality sector may remain open until 2am as well if their opening licence allows.

Other social activities such as leisure and sporting events with less than 750 in attendance may also gather without the need to request prior authorization from the Canarian Health Services.

These new measures will be published in the Canarian Bulletin and it looks as though more restrictions will be lifted on 18th June 2021. Hopefully these are positive steps toward this “new normal” we keep hearing about.


There is some good news for a change amid all the chaos… The councilwoman of the Canarian Government Department of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Yaiza Castilla celebrates the fact that the German Government has removed the Canary Islands from their no-fly list and have given us the green light for travel without having to quarantine upon returning home.

They join Holland whose travel restrictions to the Islands have also been lifted which will hopefully provide the massive boost we’ve needed and make for a much more prosperous summer.

From 28th April, the Islands have had a joint incident of less than 50 cases in a seven-day period which is a positive result. To that end, airlines have programmed more than 1.1 million seats between May and October which equates to 78,2% of operations in the same period in 2019. We can only hope that these flights take off as planned because of course, this will depend on how our numbers continue to evolve.

The German market has always been important to the Islands and their absence has not gone unnoticed. According to available information, in the first quarter 2021, the Canaries received 91.992 German tourists; 88% less than the same period of 2019 when we received 769.302 German tourists.

Let’s keep up with the good work and observe current restrictions so our COVID cases continue to decrease which will allow other countries to lift flight restrictions. Above all, we need to look ahead and guarantee a promising end to 2021 instead of flaunting restrictions now since we DEPEND on tourism to survive. Happy weekend all!


The President of the Canarian Government, Ángel Victor Torres took the lead in an extraordinary plenary session at the beginning of the week after the State of Alarm in Spain officially came to an end. National regulations indicate that each Autonomous Region may implement restrictions they see fit to continue to contain the virus in the best way possible and Torres decided to maintain current restrictions, however, this is being met with some resistance.

Maintaining current restrictions means that the hospitality sector and leisure activities will continue with time and maximum occupancy limitations. This also means that public and private gatherings are restricted in the number of persons who can attend, social distancing, the use of masks, obligatory PCR tests to stay at hotels, limited use of gyms and all other previous measures remain in place.

The reason why I have delayed writing on this is because there was some controversy surrounding these restrictions post-State of Alarm from the Canarian High Court of Justice so I was awaiting new developments during the week but so far there haven’t been any. Instead, the Canarian Government had to file an appeal this week to proceed with this course of action with data provided by the Public Health Department to back up their motives for wanting to enforce restrictions.

Although curfew has been lifted, all other counter COVID measures remain until the Canarian High Court of Justice gives a definitive response. The Canarian Government urges us to be mindful of complying with regulations as before especially regarding closing times of restaurants and bars as well as not forming large gathering in parks and public spaces well into the night. Even though technically we are free to be out and about at night since there is no curfew, Public Health considers it vital to limit these events as much as possible especially since there are no islands currently in Alert Levels 3 and 4.


On Friday 23rd April, the Canarian Government published its latest Resolution that outlines updated measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the islands and states key factors as we hope to transition to a “new normal” once the State of Alarm ends. This article covers the main points of that Resolution and hopefully very clearly…

The Resolution was published on Friday afternoon in Boletín Oficial de Canarias número 83, but a press release announced some of the changes ahead of time that caused some furor that has been expressed in the media, especially in relation to obligations the hospitality sector now has to comply with but we’ll get into that a bit later. The basis of the plenary session held by the Government on the 22nd April is Royal Decree-Law 21/2020, 9th June that allows Autonomous Regions to maintain and establish their own protocols. Let’s review first the General Conditions:

OBLIGATORY USE OF MASKS

  1. All persons age 6 and over are obligated to wear masks. The recommendation is for us to wear reusable sanitary masks, however, exhalation valve masks are not permitted except for professions that may require them.
  2. Masks must be worn on public streets, open-air spaces and in any enclosed public area or open to the public. In all scenarios, the 1,5 metre safety distance must be maintained.
  3. In the workplace, it is up to each company’s health and safetey technician to evaluate internal protocols to ensure the safetey of all employees and clients.
  4. In schools and centres of education including universities
  5. In sport’s centres and installations
  6. On public transport
  7. In hospitals, clinics, health centres and similar
  8. The correct use of masks must be observed, i.e., they must completely cover the nose and mouth at all times and they must fit properly across the nose and chin to prevent respiratory secretions from escaping
  9. The owners of the establishments and spaces where people can gather must guarantee these rules are followed

Exceptions to the above

  1. Persons who present with respiratory afflictions that may be worsened by the use of masks and persons who are unable to remove their masks themselves due to disability or dependence
  2. Force majeure, unavoidable circumstances
  3. Individual open-air sport activities as long as a 2 metre safety distance between other people can be guaranteed at all times
  4. In open-air sports installations except when the island is at Alert Level 4. This applies only when physical activity is being practiced with a permanent 2 metre distance between each person. During professional training and competitions
  5. In hospitality establishments, i.e., bars, restaurants and similar and only in the moment when food and drink is being consumed
  6. In the great outdoors outside of populated areas if a 2 metre safety distance can be maintained between anybody else who may be out there as well
  7. On beaches and at pools but only when bathing or practicing water sports and professional activities in the water. This only applies though if people remain in the same spot and guarantee a 2 metre security distance between persons who do not cohabitate
  8. When smoking, eating or drinking but only if the person remains in the same spot, i.e., no smoking and walking down the street at the same time and ensuring the safety distance from others

CURFEW

  1. Alert Level I: Between 12am (midnight) and 6am
  2. Alert Level II: Between 11pm and 6am
  3. Alert Level III: Between 11pm and 6am
  4. Alert Level IV: Between 10pm and 6am

Curfew does not affect the following activities

  1. Purchase of medication and sanitary products at chemists
  2. Going to hospitals, clinics and health centres
  3. Going to veterinary clinics for emergent treatment
  4. Fulfillment of work (as an employee), professional or legal commitments
  5. Returning to the primary residence after any of the above activities
  6. To tend to the elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities or the particularly vunerable
  7. Force majeure, unavoidable circumstances
  8. Filling up at petrol stations when required to carry out any of the above situations
  9. To tend to the care of domestic or farm animals

HOSPITALITY SECTOR

Establishments such as restaurants, bars, cafes, terraces and ‘chiringuitos’ must guarantee the 2 metre safety distance at all times bettween chairs set at different tables or groups of tables and people sat at the bar

Each table or group of tables must be set to accommodate the number of people that may occupy them and where possible, chairs should be positioned in a zig-zag pattern to avoid patrons being sat face to face and allows for maximum distance between them. The spaces assigned for bar seating must be clearly marked

The following requirements regarding maximum occupancy and closing times mustbe observed as per the alert levels at any given moment:

  • Alert Level I: 75% of maximum occupancy inside. 10 persons per table or group of tables outside. 6 persons per table or group of tables inside. 4 at the bar. Complete closing is before 12am (midnight)
  • Alert Level II: 75% maximum occupany on open-air terraces and 50% inside. 6 persons per table or group of tables outside. 4 persons per table or group of tables inside. 2 at the bar. Buffets are not permitted inside. Complete closing is before 11pm. To comply with curfew regulations, pick-up at the establishment is permitted before 11pm
  • Alert Level III: 50% maximum occupany on open-air terraces. Inside service is prohibited as well as loitering except to use the bathroom or to pick-up orders. 4 persons per table or group of tables and nobody may sit at the bar. Buffet service is prohibited inside. Complete closing is before 11pm. To comply with curfew regulations, pick-up at the establishment is permitted before 11pm
  • Alert Level IV: The same as Alert Level III, except complete closing which must be before 6pm. To comply with curfew regulations, pick-up at the establishment is permitted before 10pm

Delivery service at all alert levels can be done until midnight. The use of the establishment’s interior and closing times do not affect those facilities within health centres, the workplace (employees only), hotels (for exclusive use of guests), education centres that may keep their regular hours, although maximum occupancy is reduced to 33%.

Other Requirements

  1. Traditional menus must not be used and establishments must instead opt for electronic devices the servers must use, blackboards, signs, QR and similar alternatives
  2. Elements such as crockery, glassware, silverware, tablecloths etc ust be stored in a closed cupboard or way from customers
  3. Servillete holders, vinegar and oil bottles, salt and pepper shakers etc must not be used
  4. Smoking on terraces and other dependent open-air spaces of the establishment is prohibited
  5. Correct interior ventilation must be a priority
  6. Customers may not occupy a table unles directed by a member of staff because the tables, chairs etc must be properly disinfected after each use. Customers must remain seated at their table and limit any movement around the establishment as much as possible
  7. Buffets must be monitored to ensure proper use of masks, hand sanitization and non-contamination of food products
  8. Pick-up and delivery services are permitted, observing safety distances and other preventative measures at all times
  9. Food pick-up services must be properly organized so that the customer orders by phone or similar system, the establishment will set the collect time to avoid unneccesary crowding. If the establishment has a drive through, the order can be taken from the vehicle as normal

Customer Log

So this is the star of this article… over the weekend, you may have been surprised if the establishment asked for your details, but this is in line with new regulations, although many establishments are unaware of this obligation because as mentioned at the beginning, this resolution was published on Friday afternoon and came into immediate effect!

From now on and until further notice, when customers are seated inside the establishment, their full names, D.N.I. or similar ID number, phone number, date and time of service must be logged. This measure is to track people who may have come into contact with someone who is later diagnosed with COVID-19; this way, the Health Department (Sanidad) can request the form from the establishment and call those who were there around the same time as the infected person. Establishments are required to keep these logs for one month after the log date for Health Inspectors to examine if necessary.

According to the Resolution, this only applies to at alert levels 1 and 2 because interior seating is not permitted at the higher levels and it would seem it also applies if a customer merely goes inside to use the bathroom facilities. There are queries of course about the open-air aspect because if the establishment’s exterior terrace is partially covered or has walls on either side, in theory, the customer’s details must also be taken. This observation is taken from previous decrees regarding the definition of “outside terrace” so if we apply the same principal, it could actually be considered an interior space. To be on the safe side, my recommendation would be to take customer details in this scenario as well.

A member of staff must take these details down on a form and the establishment must not allow customers access to the forms at all for data protection purposes. My affected clients received a template of this form on Saturday in order to record the obligatory information but you can create your own as long as it contains the data stipulated in the Resolution. I also advise the logs are kept in a folder (not see through) and kept out of sight for data protection reasons.

As you can imagine, this customer log has caused outrage within the hospitality sector, the most affected group since the pandemic began more than a year ago. Associations have called out the additional complications this supposes for an already struggling sector especially those that serve large numbers a day or provide fast-food services. They also mention the fact there is little information about how to apply this requirement and no official template was provided. The other inconvenience is to do with data protection laws; although all establishments should already be registered at the Spanish Data Protection Agency, they open themselves up to exorbitant fines if they do not process the logs correctly (see my above suggestions on this point). Take extra caution to comply with data protection regulations.


Semana Santa is going to be celebrated in the same fashion as everything this past year, with restrictions, restrictions and more restrictions. I imagine that the disregard of any type of safety protocols over Christmas and New Year’s that created another spike in COVID-19 is the reason behind the measures that have been put in place.

Travel between islands from midnight last night and until midnight of Friday 9th April to coincide with Easter has been restricted which does not include exceptions indicated in Royal Decree-Law 926/2020 of 25th October (medical, work related, return to one’s primary residence…). The only way to travel between islands for reasons that do not meet that criteria is to show proof of a negative COVID PRC test.

Other restrictions are to do with limited number of persons who can meet in public areas (indoors or open-air) to a maximum of four as long as they do not reside in the same house (Alert Levels 1, 2 and 3) and a maximum of two (Alert Level 4). Only persons who reside in the same house may gather in private residences.

Curfew has been set between 11pm and 6pm (Alert Level 1) and between 10pm and 6am (Alert Levels 2, 3 and 4). This does not affect essential activities.

Restrictions will also apply to those wishing to enter the Canary Islands during the Easter period.

There are of course specific measures for the hospitality sector (restaurants, bars, terraces, cafés and similar) besides the general measures in place for each alert level during this period.

  • Safety distance of at least 2 metres between chairs belonging to different groups of tables.
  • Try to ensure the maximum distance between occupants of the same table, preferably so they are sat face to face
  • Consumption of food and drink outside of the designated seating area assigned to each customer is prohibited and specifically alcoholic beverages
  • Smoking on terraces or other open-air areas belonging to the establishment is strictly prohibited. Smoking tabacco or other substances within a 5 metre perimeter of access points of the establishments is prohibited.
  • Customers must remain at their tables to reduce movement around the establishment as much as possible.
  • The use of masks is obligatory except in the moment in which food or drink is consumed, so basically between bites and sips you must slip the mask back on.
  • Activities that promote gatherings, incorrect use of masks or non-compliance with the safetey distance are prohibited (fiestas, dances, karaokes, competitions, concerts or ambient music that invites people to sing or dance…).
  • The owners of the establishments are responsible for ensuring all appropriate measures to prevent further contagion of COVID-19.

This list of restrictions definitely does not put one in the mood for celebrating anything, but I suppose that is kind of the point and it does not mean you can’t go out and still have fun. What I do know is that the blatant disregard of these rules just sets us back even further and if we don’t do our best to follow guidelines and restrictions, we are never going to break this cycle, and I can’t be the only one who wants to return to a pre-COVID existence some time in the very near future.

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