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Friday, October 30, 2020

The Canary Islands approve a "pioneering" decree that requires tourists to provide a negative Covid test to stay on the islands

Canarian residents will have to prove they have not left the Canary Islands in the previous 15 days to avoid the test

Tourists must accept the rule when booking and have the 'Radar Covid' app on their mobile phone until 15 days after completing their trip.

The President of the Government of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, announced on Thursday that his Executive has approved a decree that he described as "pioneer" and that requires travelers who arrive in the Canary Islands to provide a negative COVID-19 test in order to access a tourist accommodation on the islands.

The test must have been carried out a maximum of 72 hours before arrival at the establishment, or upon arrival at the destination, and it will be the tourist accommodation, both hotels and holiday homes or apartments, who are responsible for ensuring compliance with this rule and executing its corresponding protocols.

The test includes national and international tourists and only exempts Canarian residents from the test who have not traveled outside the islands in the previous 15 days, as well as non-residents who can prove that they have been in the archipelago for at least that long. For both groups it will be sufficient in those cases to be verified with the presentation of a responsible declaration.

The President of the Canary Islands has also detailed that the text, which must be endorsed by the Parliament of the Canary Islands, will enter into force 10 days after its publication in the Official Gazette of the Canary Islands (BOC). (From 14 November.)

The test will be mandatory for all people over 6 years old.

The certificate may be presented in digital or paper format and it must contain the date and time of the test, the identity of the person tested, the authorized center responsible for the verification and the negative result.

The Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce of the Government of the Canary Islands, Yaiza Castilla, has remarked that 80 percent of all tourists who come to the islands spend the night in a regulated accommodation. "It is not the perfect formula", recognized the counselor, but "it is the only feasible one" within the "competencies" of the Canary Islands Government to guarantee "the protection" of the islands, "tourists and residents". "And for the economy of our islands that we have to try to activate as soon as possible," she added.

It will remain in force "until the health authority decrees its lack of necessity."

The text details extraordinary circumstances such as if the tourist arrives without a certificate at a time when the laboratory is not available to do the test, but shows his willingness to do it. In this scenario, the tourist will stay in his room until it is possible to take his test.

The accommodation "must inform in advance that the conditions of access include this rule", "have the acceptance of the client" and offer information on the places where it is possible to take the test.

Castilla explained that if the tourist tests positive while in the Canary Islands, they will be referred to the public health system, which has the "only global insurance" that will allow tourists to be covered, which "reinforces" the islands "as a safe destination." 

The cost of coronavirus tests will "fall on tourists", although she acknowledged that "each company can do whatever it wants as a promotion."

The accommodations will have to collect the documentary material and have it "guarded at the disposal of the Canary Islands Health Service (SCS)" in case an "incident" occurs. Castilla also said that the regulatory text includes the obligation for tourists to install the mobile app 'Radar Covid', which they will have to have active until at least 15 days after their stay in the Canary Islands.

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