Spain in English

Restrictions in Spain for Christmas and New Year period

Latest: Coronavirus in Spain figures (12 Jan)

Report updated in Spain at 20h on Thurs 7 Jan

On Wednesday 2 December, following a meeting of Spain’s Inter-Territorial Council of the National Health System between the central health ministry and regional health authorities, an ‘agreement’ was reached regarding Covid-19 restrictions for the Christmas and New Year period. However, there was not unanimous support for the plan at the time – with Madrid voting against, and Catalonia also stating that it does not feel bound by the plan. Some regions said they would go even further with the restrictions. The central government insisted that the key measures should be adhered to, although it was not made clear how they would be enforced. Full details (in Spanish) of the original measures agreed can be found here (and summarised in English below).

Since 2 December, and due to the day-to-day evolution of Coronavirus figures, most regions of Spain have announced some different measures to those originally agreed. The hours of the nighttime curfew also differ in many regions. Below, we first summarise (1) the key measures agreed on 2 December. We then also list (2) measures that have officially changed for a region, but only if those changes relate to the Christmas and New Year period. For general details about the on-going restrictions per region, please also refer to our separate report: Details of curfews & restrictions for all regions of Spain during ‘State of Alarm’We are doing our best to keep up with each region’s announcements, but it might be that we miss some. Please add comments below, if you wish (your information might help other readers) and we will also check. Thank you for reading, stay safe, and if you can, please support Spain in English with a donation!

1. Original measures agreed on 2 December

The main restrictions agreed following the meeting on 2 December are as follows:

  1. Between 23 December and 6 January, movement from one region to another across Spain is prohibited, except for trips already permitted under the terms of the current State of Alarm, and except to visit the ‘places of habitual residence of relatives or close friends’. Health Minister Salvador Illa referred to ‘close friends’ (allegados) as being people with whom ‘strong bonds of affection’ exist, while announcing the new measures. However, depending on the evolution of the epidemiological situation, regional authorities may also establish that trips are only permitted on certain days. These measures were originally not applicable to the Canary Islands or the Balearic Islands. Trips across Spain are still prohibited for tourism or leisure pursuits, including trips to second homes in other regions. Movement within regions and provinces will continue to be decided by the regional governments. 
  2. Regarding social gatherings with family, relatives or close friends to celebrate Christmas lunches and dinners on 24, 25, 31 December and 1 January, it was agreed that the maximum number of 10 people should not be exceeded, except in the case of cohabitants. In any case, it was recommended that they belong to the same co-existence group (or ‘bubble’). In addition, special caution and care must be taken with people in vulnerable situations.
  3. Elderly relatives can leave care homes to spend Christmas with their families, although it is recommended that they only stay at one address and stick to a ‘stable household bubble’. A Covid-19 test on their return to the care home is also recommended.
  4. Regarding nighttime curfews on the nights of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, the regional authorities can determine the start time of the curfew, but it must be at the latest 1.30am ‘and only in order to return home’. The agreement emphasises that in no case will these extended hours be used to go on to other social gatherings, ‘nor to move from one social event to another’.
  5. Regarding all Christmas and New Year events organised between 23 December and 6 January, organisers must comply with all measures in place at the time within their region, adhering to restrictions on capacity, hours of opening, and maintaining social distancing, hygiene and ventilation measures. At all times it is encouraged to use outdoor spaces as opposed to indoor.
  6. ‘Static parades’ for the Three Kings celebrations are recommended, and in places where access can be controlled, with all social distancing measures in place, in accordance with measures stipulated for each region.
  7. Major sporting events cannot be held. Traditional Christmas activities that are held in cinemas, theatres, auditoriums, circus tents or similar, must only be held respecting the capacity limits stipulated in the region, province, town or city. Whenever possible, activities should be held outdoors and always ensuring social distancing to minimise contact between the attendees.
  8. Religious ceremonies in closed spaces must follow the capacity limits established in each region and city. Choirs and singing is discouraged, with the use of pre-recorded music instead. Likewise, ‘physical displays of devotion or tradition (kisses, contact on images, sculptures)’ should be avoided, replacing them with others that do not involve a health risk. 
  9. The government has also reiterated the on-going ‘6M’ prevention measures of using face masks, regular washing of hands, social distancing, ventilation of indoor spaces, staying outside where possible, self-isolating in case of symptoms, as well as avoiding social contact outside known ‘bubble’ groups as much as possible.
  10. All other measures and restrictions already in place in each region will apply. Also read: Details of curfews & restrictions for all regions of Spain during ‘State of Alarm’

People walking past the Christmas tree in the Plaza de Sant Jaume in central Barcelona. (Laura Guerrero).

2.  Other specific measures for Christmas and New Year period per region




Balearic Islands

Basque Country

Canary Islands


Castilla y Leon

Castilla La Mancha







La Rioja


Click here for all previous reports on: Coronavirus in Spain

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