Spain: Cruise ship ban extended despite lockdown easing as cruises deemed too risky

Spain holidays are a favourite among British tourists and many are keen to head back to Spanish shores. The country is opening up its borders on July 1 after months of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many were hoping measures for cruises would ease by June 21 as Spain is approaching the end of its State of Emergency.

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However, those in the cruise industry have been left disappointed after it was announced that the Spanish government is maintaining its ban on cruise liners coming into any port, in the latest cruise news.

This applies to both the mainland and the islands.

No date has been set for when cruise liners can return to Spain.

It has been three months since the floating hotels were prohibited from entering the country because of the coronavirus risk.

The new order maintaining the ban on cruise ships was published by the Spanish government today.

A Spanish executive stressed that “all the necessary measures of sanitary control would be adopted to avoid any risk for the population of the country.”

It’s understood the Spanish Ministry of Health may lift the restrictions for exceptional circumstances.

These have not been specified but instances could include a medical emergency or a coronavirus outbreak.

Although cruise ships are not permitted, pleasure boats will be allowed to enter Spanish ports, even if their base isn’t in Spain.

The National Association of Nautical Companies has been running a campaign in recent weeks to promote the use of private boats for this summer, saying it is one of the safest alternatives.

The association maintains that recreational navigation “easily meets the requirements that the health authorities demand during the pandemic.”

They state: ”You can have social distance, you can navigate with your family with whom you live, with small groups and also, if you stock up, you can stay for days without coming into contact with other people, anchoring quietly in coves or small ports.”

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Full coronavirus protocols have been drawn up for the pleasure boat industry.

The ongoing ban on cruise liners will continue to impact substantially on Spanish ports but health chiefs think it is still too risky despite the millions passengers spent in holiday resorts.

It is being described as the worst crisis facing the sector in decades.

In further Spanish news, tourism chiefs in the Canary Islands want holidaymakers to take a coronavirus test 72 hours before they leave their own country or on arrival.

If they test positive, they could be sent straight back home.

However, they could also be asked to be put in quarantine.

Spokesman for the regional government Julio Pérez said he would prefer that tourists come from home with the test done and negative but if they did not, they plan to do so when they arrive in the Canary Islands.

In contrast, the Balearics are not saying that testing is mandatory.

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.

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