Gran Canaria’s NEW NORMAL with Covid 19
In Gran Canaria’s NEW NORMAL the Covid 19 safety measures are taken VERY SERIOUSLY to ensure our visitors can enjoy the island carefree. Every Canarian, native or resident is aware that we have to make sure that we keep the infections down, to make sure that we can offer a safe and Covid-19-free environment for our holiday makers.
So what exactly are the rules?
There are many rules and regulations in place that will affect you so we are going to try and share some useful information to make your stay as easy as possible. It all sounds a bit overwhelming especially if you are coming from a country without the same rules, Everything is very clear once you know what is what. You really shouldn’t let this put you off as you will still have an amazing holiday here even with these rules in place.
Keep 1,5 metres distance
So, whenever you cannot maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from other people masks are mandatory in public places both indoors and out (excluding when you are with people you are living with). However in most places it is pretty much ok to move around quite freely without actually needing to wear a mask whilst walking in the street.
Always carry a mask
When you wear your mask it is important to make sure it covers both your mouth and your nose. Masks are mandatory for everyone over 6 years of age. They are recommended for 3 to 5 year olds and under 3 years of age it is not required.
If for medical reasons you cannot wear a mask you must carry a letter from your doctor explaining why not.
You must remember even if you think you don’t need your mask you should always carry one with you as you don’t know when you actually may suddenly need one. We also recommend having an extra mask with you as the disposable ones can often break.
Masks in Gran Canaria’s New Normal
What masks to use
Fabric masks are also acceptable however we have personally found the disposable ones a little lighter due to the heat. We are using both depending on the situation.
If you have not brought masks with you then you can purchase them in the pharmacy, petrol stations and also in most supermarkets and some shops. We recently paid 6 euros for a pack of 10 in the Mercadona supermarket.
Some people choose to wear a face visor as an alternative option which at the time of writing this is an accepted practice.
If you find yourself in a situation where you should be wearing a mask but you are not wearing one, the Spanish police do not mess about and the fines start from 100 -30,000 euros. They are being especially strong on this so we don’t have to go back to the previous phases as they have in other parts of Spain.
Check with your airline carrier and hotel
You should be checking with your airline before travelling as to their requirements for travelling. Please check if you have booked independently that before you travel your hotel is definitely open. Do not leave anything to chance, There are plenty of social media groups and people on the island who will help you if you have any doubts.
Eating, drinking and nightlife
Whilst eating or drinking in bars and restaurants you do not need to wear masks. You may need to use them in common areas where you may not be able to maintain the 1.5 metre distance such as when you go to the toilet.
- There will be hand sanitizer at the entrance of the bar or restaurant and you should ideally wait to be seated. Tables will be cleaned in between customers.
- There will be no standing at the bar and it will always be table service.
- Night bars and clubs are opening but to date you will not be able to dance. There are however plenty of places with live entertainment for a fun night out.
- Traditional menus are not allowed unless they can be sanitized between customers or you will usually find the QR codes either on the table or the waiter will give one to you. There are sometimes disposable menus or they could be displayed on the wall. It is worth remembering to always have your mobile phone charged to avoid any problems. If you don’t have this facility don’t worry the waiters will help you.
- If you are in a large group then please speak to the bar or restaurant before entering so they can organise the necessary seating for you to be compliant.
Shopping with Covid 19 Safety Measures
All shops will require you to wear a mask and sanitize your hands when you enter. You must also wear a mask within any of the shopping centres, even if they are open air such as the Mogan Mall in Puerto Rico. Most of the shops will have a clearly marked ENTRADA (entrance) and SALIDA(exit)
Supermarkets: Masks & Gloves:
The supermarkets are very strict and have very obvious expectations of what you should do when you arrive. You must wear a mask and use hand sanitizer and for example at the Hiperdino they will take your temperature on the door. There will be gloves available if you are expected to use them. You must definitely use them if you are handling fruit, vegetables and bread etc.
At the Checkout
At the checkout only one person will be served at a time. You must queue up using social distancing but it is usually clearly marked out. You should not stand In front of the person serving you and place your trolley at the side of the counter and yourself at the end. You should wait until the person in front of you has finished paying and packed up before you take your turn. When you pack your bags you must stand at the end of the counter. It isn’t as difficult as it sounds, us Northern Europeans are used to queuing up!
It is preferred that you pay by card or with your mobile phone apps, however you can usually also pay by cash in many places. We recommend you have both options available.
ATM machines are working as normal but please keep the 1.5 metre rule whilst waiting for the cash point. So far we haven’t seen many exchange places open so either bring enough cash, your bank cards or check in advance if your hotel can do this for you.
Luckily in Gran Canaria’s New Normal you do not have to wear your mask when visiting the beach! Each municipality is allowed to have its own rules, however it will be clearly signposted for you to see and won’t need to speak Spanish to understand the pictures on the signs. You must keep the 1.5 metre rule between yourself and others even if they are within your group. Sunbeds should be cleaned by the attendants before and after each use.
Your hotel swimming pool will most likely be open however if this is a priority for you then please check with your accommodation in advance. Some private complexes have opened their pools but do not allow you to use the sunbeds or sit around the pool. Once in the pool you must also keep the 1.5 metre rule.
Hotels and Apartments
When you arrive at your Hotel or Apartment they will have rules and regulations in place. You will probably be expected to wear a mask within the reception, lifts and communal areas. Please be courteous and kind to the staff. They have had a really tough lockdown and some are quite nervous about the island reopening.
Many Excursions have started up for you to enjoy. They will of course have their own rules and regulations but you will still be able to have a great time. Check out our Activity page.
For Example: Artenara Cave Museum
At the Artenara Museum last week (July 2020), only 5 (!) people are allowed to tour at the same time. And everybody has to wear masks, including the tour guide. Before Covid 19 there could be as many as 50 to 100 people be standing in this space.
If you can support these local businesses all the better as they have suffered a huge loss of income with absolutely no visitors for almost 4 months. They will really appreciate your visit.
You must wear masks on all public transport, meaning in taxis and on the bus. It is also compulsory within the airport and bus station. To date you must pay by card on the bus.
If you are travelling in your own hire car with members of your own family or holiday group (from the same room) you do not need to wear a mask. If you are taking others from another group you must all wear masks. In a taxi you MUST wear a mask and the driver will be wearing one too. They will accept both cash and cards.
Sadly many of the local events such as parades, concerts and carnivals have been cancelled for 2020. The larger weekly markets are still closed but some of the smaller artisan ones are open. Please check online for up to date details.
To date only a few shops are open and the duty free but no cafes or restaurants. Rent a car desks are open. ATM’s are working and you can use the bathrooms. Vending machines are in use for snacks and drinks. There will be no baggage trolleys available in the airport.
Happy Holidays in Gran Canaria’s New Normal
Did you know that the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvil has declared the Canary Islands as a safe place to visit? Well so far we are proving to be just that. Let’s keep it that way!
All these rules may all sound a little harsh but with a little forward thinking and mutual respect we are sure you will adapt to Gran Canaria’s NEW NORMAL quite quickly.
Our first visitors back to the island are mostly loving being treated like VIPS and welcomed back with the wonderful Canarian hospitality. We hope you have an fantastic holiday here in Gran Canaria and we thank you for supporting our island in these really very difficult times.
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