Spain: Paul Scully discusses amber list
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British tourists going on holiday to the Costa del Sol will not have to show Covid vaccine passports to get inside bars or nightclubs after a shock court ruling. Judges in the region threw out the decision after official’s tried to instate the rules which would impact popular tourist resorts including Torremolinos and Marbella.
Judges told the Andalusian government that the coronavirus measure is not lawful as it invades a person’s privacy and their right to protect their medical status.
The Superior Court of Andalusia said it would be discriminatory and was neither suitable nor necessary.
The judgement follows a similar ruling for the Canary Islands where the regional government wanted people to have to show a Covid passport or negative PCR before being permitted to enter any premises of the hospitality trade.
This was set to include pubs, restaurants, gyms, and cinemas.
The Andalusia judges ruled: “The measure of implanting the Covid passport to access bars and discos may affect fundamental rights such as the right to personal privacy, in so far as it implies the need to show data related to health, considered, in accordance with European regulations, as of a sensitive nature and would constitute a differentiated treatment for access to such premises, based on the possession or not of the aforementioned certificate.
“The measure is neither suitable nor proportionate for the achievement of the intended purpose, that is, the protection of life, health and physical integrity.”
The decision was similar to the one made in the Canary Islands, which also said Covid passports were an “invasion of privacy”.
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The Andalusian government said it had to respect the decision but says it feels in “legal helplessness” following the Spanish government’s decision in July to lift the official State of Emergency and devolve measures to local authorities.
“We are in a difficult situation in the fight against COVID-19,” said a spokesperson.
Coronavirus cases have been escalating on the Costa del Sol, with Marbella and Estepona having just finished a night-time curfew.
The Malaga town of Campillos is now on lockdown between 2am and 7am.
At least eight towns and villages in the Malaga region, including Nerha, have exceeded 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in two weeks according to official data. With Spain now on the amber list, hoteliers say they hope the Costa del Sol will once again attract British tourists.
Prior to the pandemic, British tourists were the main market for Spain, but amid ongoing travel restrictions, German and French holidaymakers have overtaken UK visitors.
Due to the coronavirus restrictions, Costa del Sol tourism numbers in the first six months of this year plunged to 45,686.
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Before the pandemic, the figure was 1.3 million.
It is a similar picture across the wider nation, with Spain’s tourism officials reporting a loss of five million tourists in the first half of the year compared with 2019.
This has resulted in a spending loss of approximately €6 billion.
Currently, only fully vaccinated travellers are able to return to the UK from Spain without quarantine.
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.
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