British holidaymakers currently in Spain amid a stringent coronavirus lockdown have been offered a lifeline by the Spanish government. With many airlines cancelling flights and offering only limited “rescue” operations for their customers, many tourists were left fearing the worst.
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However, in a bid to protect the tourists who remain in the country, the Spanish government has relaxed its rules on its hotel closure order due to come into effect tomorrow, March 26.
The Spanish Government had ordered the closure of all hotels and tourist accommodation as part of the bid to stem the spread of the virus.
However, today a new order has been made which will allow specifically named hotels in all parts of Spain, including the Canaries and the Balearics, to take in tourists, as well as essential workers who are needed to keep the country afloat.
These include health workers, members of the security forces, employees of other services considered essential or people who must travel for reasons of urgency to care for minors, dependents or the sick.
The specified accommodation includes apartment complexes, bungalows, hostels and hotels.
There are 370 in all, ranging from Madrid to Tenerife, Cataluna to Valencia and Ibiza to Murcia.
These new rules will stay in place until the end of the state emergency and subsequent lockdown.
It is not yet known how long this will last, as confirmed cases of the virus in Spain continue to rise.
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The number of known cases in the country has surpassed 47,600.
Furthermore, it has not been explained how tourists will pay for this accommodation, which could be a concern for those who are trapped because they can not afford to pay for a new flight ticket to return to the UK.
A full list of the hotels participating in the new rules is available on the Spanish government website, which breaks them down by region.
British Ambassador Hugh Elliott said: “This is a very difficult time for British nationals who find themselves currently unable to get back to the UK and we welcome this announcement by the Spanish authorities that some hotels and short-stay accommodation will remain open during the state of emergency.
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“Such accommodation is mainly aimed at workers, but there will be options available for British travellers who have not been able to return to the UK yet.
“Meanwhile, we are in close contact with airlines to ensure those of you who wish to return home are able to do so in the coming days.
“More generally, if you live in the UK and are currently travelling in Spain, you should be making plans to return to the UK while there are still commercial routes available.
Britons are advised to stay up to date with the most recent Foreign and Commonwealth updates, and the government has set up a Facebook page titled “BritsInSpain”.
At the time of writing the FCO is advising Britons currently in Spain to “follow the advice of local authorities.”
It continues: “Anybody planning to travel to Spain should consult their airline or tour operator.
“Following further border restrictions, only British nationals who can prove they are resident in Spain or fall under other limited categories will be allowed to enter Spain.
“British travellers will continue to be allowed to leave Spain.
“British travellers who are currently in Spain and who wish to return to the UK are advised to make travel plans to do so as soon as possible.
“For those returning to the UK by road via France, please ensure you check the travel advice for France.”
Meanwhile, it is imploring Britons globally to return home. The latest emergency update says: “If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. “Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.”
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot
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