When do you have to use a mask in Gran Canaria?
Outdoors: Masks are necessary in outdoor public places where you can not maintain a DISTANCE OF 1.5 metres FROM OTHER PEOPLE (excluding the people you are living/staying with).
So with consideration it is possible to move around in many areas WITHOUT a mask on.
Indoors: Masks are now obligatory in all indpoor public places even if you are alone. Places like shops, restaurant toilets, malls, receptions areas, offices, etc.
Alway carry a mask with you when you go out as you never know when it might be needed.
If you end up in a situation where you should have on a mask but are not wearing one, the fines start from 100 euros up to 30,000 (Ley de la Seguridad Cuidadana - and yes there have been over 600,000 sanctions issued under this law since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in Spain for 'disobedience or resistance of authority').
Recommended masks can easily be purchased in a pharmacy and in some supermarkets. Prices start from under 1 Euro.
Fabric masks (those that provide the same level of protection as the recommended masks) can also be purchased and used but also check they fit correctly (firmly) around your mouth and nose.
Mask are mandatory for everyone six years or older and are recommended for 3 to 5 year olds. Under 3 years not required.
If for medical reasons you can not wear a mask you must carry with you a medical exemption letter from your doctor.
An option for those people may be a face visor, not ideal but better than nothing for the wearer and the people around them. Also before travelling check with your airline about thier in-flight mask requirements. I only looked at Easyjet and thier FAQs said "If you are unable to wear a face mask for medical reasons you will be exempt from doing so as long as you have a medical exemption letter from a doctor stating that you cannot wear a face mask (which must be available on request for airport staff and crew to see) and also that you are fit to fly".
Do you need a mask in bars and restaurants?
People don't need to wear masks when 'eating and drinking' in bars and restaurants. You do have to wear then when you head to your table and while ordering your first drink or food. When it arrives you can take the mask off.
You still need to use a mask in common areas such as the corridor/toilets (where you can't maintain the 1.5m distance).
People will need use hand sanitizer at the entrance of a bar or restaurant and to wait to be seated (their table cleaned before they sit down). Table service - bars and restaurants have to operate 'table service'.
Menus - Traditional format menu cards are not currently allowed. You may find 'QR codes' to access the menu online, printed menus on disposible place mats or, menus displayed on the wall. Some restaurants also provide throwaway meus on paper.
Do you need a mask in shops and supermarkets?
Generally they require wearing of mask and use hand sanitizer when entering a shop, office, bank, pharmacy, shopping centre or supermarket.
Many shops do not allow clothes to be tried-on in the shop, but do allow items to be returned if not suitable.
Supermarkets - Some are very strict and have expectations of how there customers will behave.
You MUST wear a mask.
You MUST wear the supplied disposible gloves when handling fruit and veg.
At the checkouts only one person served at a time. It will something like:
- Queue with the required distancing.
- When it is your turn, i.e. only after the person in front of you's shopping has been scanned. Put your trolley or basket by the END of the conveyor belt and unload it from there.
- Do not move forward until the person in front of you has completely finished and taken away thier bags. Then go right through to the other end and load your bags. They prefer payment by card (contactless or with pin).
Banks - Check opening hours, many have only limited times open to the public, the remainder of the day will be 'by apointment'. ATM machines are working as normal.
Distancing and mask use on the beach and by the pool
On the beach - Check and respect the rules of each municipality, and keep a 1.5 metre distance between you and other people/groups. Any equipment/sunbeds must be cleaned before and after each use. Popular beaches have information boards posted by the entrances with specific rules.
Hotel and Community pools - will have limited capacity and rules to follow in addition to the 1.5m rule. Make sure you know the rules if you use them.
Distancing and mask use in hotels and apartments
Each will have its own internal rules. Ask for them when you arrive. Wear a MASK in busy common areas such as reception and lifts.
All establishments have a capacity limits of the number of people allowed.
If full to capacity, you will be asked to wait. Although I have not happen very often.
Mask use on Gran Canaria buses and in taxis and cars
Masks must be worn on all public transport and in taxis and private buses. Also in all Spanish airports and bus stations.
Cars - If you own or hire a car and if any person in that car is not staying in the same accomodation, then everyone in the car must be wearing a mask and you must sit yourselves in seats with the maximum distance possible between each other (these seating rules also apply to passengers in a taxi)
Airports - In the Spanish airports there are no baggage trolleys. The shops and cafes inside the airport are mostly closed. Duty free and one cafe may be open.
Car hire desks are open. ATMs are working. Toilets are open.
There are vending machines for water and snacks (taking cash or cards).
Social distancing rules in Gran Canaria
If people from different households gather together, they must all wear masks. Any organised events will have special arrangements for distancing. Many local fiesta events have been cancelled
When directly talking face to face with anyone who is a stranger/cashier/official, they WILL expect you to be wearing your obligatory mask.
Respecting the local way in Gran Canaria
Many residents are concerned about visitors arriving and not following all of these current health based rules. Rules that are there for the benefit of everyone, resident or visitor.
Despite the rules there is every opportunity to welcome people here to have a lovely safe holiday in the sun.
So, PLEASE PLEASE, ALL VISITORS RESPECT THESE RULES. They are there to keep everyone healthy and virus free.
Residents have just spent 3 months living with very tough strict 'Spanish Lockdown Rules' and now the virus is under control here.
It would be so unfair to see all that effort ruined by visitors not following these current rules that do allow you to move around freely and safely.
Even if you see someone else not wearing a mask. Please don't think it means that it is not necessay, because the status of this island as a safe place to visit and to live will very quickly deteriorate.
Thank you Amanda Ockwell for the considerable amount of work that went into writying this guide and thank you again for letting us share it.