This article will detail all information available regarding the Coronavirus measures as they apply specifically to Ibiza & Formentera.
Important: All information contained has been gained either directly from government issued statements or other trusted sources. We will not use or refer to any of the hearsay information being given on social media except to say where we feel it is unreliable or widely misleading.
Note: The provision of services by our local supporting advertisers shown on this page may be affected during the coronavirus crisis.
To avoid the circulation of outdated and so misleading information, we will publish this piece as a single ‘master’ article, and update the information contained as and when appropriate. Dates and times shown apply to the last update of that particular piece of information.
The sections are:-
- Frequently Asked Key Questions
- Covid-19 Numbers – confirmed cases
- State of Alarm – What the national situation means
- The Lockdown – What you can do, what you can’t do, and penalties if you get caught.
- Travel – Air, sea and road, what is open, what restrictions are in place.
- Health & Health Services – Who to contact, what you need to do and know.
- Economy – Ibiza’s tourism industry and national economic initiatives
- Further Reading – reliable and interesting information from elsewhere
We will also be publishing an Ibiza resources article, with key information on Ibiza delivery services and more.
Note to Ibizan subscribers; Due to the way the subscription service operates you will only receive notification of the first publication of this article. Please bookmark and refer back periodically.
We will do our best to highlight any issues of difficulty caused by translation, or the impossibility of direct translation.
We will answer as many arising questions as possible, but due to the volume we are receiving right now we cannot offer to answer any questions relating to the rationale behind government decisions (why are they doing that then?), nor those relating to specific ibiza instances (is such-and-such open?).
Despite every effort, the speed at which information is changing and the volume at which it is being published mean we will not get it 100% right. If you know different, please let us know – but state your official source – sorry, but that is all we can pursue.
Frequently Asked Key Questions.
- This section last updated Tuesday 17th March 11:00h
Simple answers to the most frequently asked questions based on our inbox. Full explanations of each question in the detailed answers that follow – please read, as many of the answers do require further information and explanation.
- Q. Is the lockdown in place now? A. Yes.
- Q. Can I walk in the streets? A. Yes, but only under circumstances deemed essential (see below).
- Q. Is the hospital open? A. yes, but special arrangements are in place for new and existing appointments – see healthcare section.
- Q. Is the medical centre open? A. yes, but special arrangements are in place for new and existing appointments – see healthcare section.
- Q. Is Ibiza airport open? A. Yes, but minimal services.
- Q. Is Ibiza port open? A. Yes, but minimal services.
- Q. Are Ibiza Buses running? A. Yes. Reduced service.
- Q. Are Ibiza Taxis operating? A. Yes, with limitations.
- Q. Are Ibiza Shops open? A. Yes, those shops deemed essential are open.
- Q. Are Bars, Cafes and Restaurants open? A. No. But some are offering delivery services.
- Q. Can I Walk My Dog in Ibiza? A. Yes, but with differing interpretations.
- Q. Are Delivery Services operating? A. Food delivery, yes. Postal & courier delivery, no definitive answer available. Anecdotal evidence says some are open and operating.
- Q. Is the Post Office/Town Hall/Police Station Open? A. These are being updated by the hour. Some are open, some are now closed. You need to check individually.
- Q. Can I go to the Beach? A. No
- This section was last updated Tuesday 17th March 15:00h
Ratio of Infection
|Area||Population||Cases||% of Population|
State of Alarm
- This section last updated Saturday 14th March 14:00h
Article 116 of the Spanish Constitution describes three legal categories for emergency situations: state of alarm, state of emergency and state of siege (in Spanish: estado de alarma, estado de excepción and estado de sitio). It is the first and lowest level that is now in place.
note: many people are incorrectly asserting that we are in a state of emergency due to a misunderstanding on what they believe to be a translation error.
The declaration of the state of alarm went into action on Saturday night the 14th March, and affects the whole of Spain for a period of 15 days. Under the state of alarm, the central government in Madrid has all powers under their direct control. All security forces, including local and regional police forces, are under direct orders of Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska.
Despite central Government holding all power, at a practical level many decisions and directives will continue to be made at regional and local level.
- This section last updated Tuesday 17th March 11:00h
What You Can Do …
During the state of alarm, citizens and vehicles will only be allowed to travel on public roads and streets for the following activities:
- To purchase food, pharmaceuticals and essential items. (1)
- To visit health centers.
- To visit a hairdressing salon or barbershop. (2)
- To visit a laundry or dry cleaner.
- To return to your home.
- To assist and care for seniors, minors, dependants, the disabled, or people who are particularly vulnerable.
- In cases of force majeure (3) or of necessity, or any other activity that can be proven to be justified by its nature.
- To use petrol filling stations (4)
- For animals, Dog walking, but only short walks to allow the Dog to ‘do its business’. To feed Cat Colonies and to take and animals to the vet (5)
- Attend a Civil or Religious Service or Funeral. (6)
- To go to your place of work or place that employment services are provided where directed to do so by your employer.
(1) Essential Shops Etc
Essential shops include food shops and supermarkets and pharmacies. The list extends to include newsagents, technology shops, and tobacconists.
To our knowledge all large supermarkets in Ibiza are open their regular hours, however we recommend checking directly with smaller and independent shops before travelling.
Hairdressing is considered an essential exemption as, according to the government, some elderly people unable to wash their own hair rely upon salon services for their basic hygiene needs. However, two large trade associations representing the hair and beauty sector have recommended that their salons close on the grounds of being centres of likely higher risk of contagion. It is therefore completely unknown how many salons will choose to stay open as it their right, or close as is the advice of their representatives.
(3) Force Majeure
Force Majeure is taken to mean circumstances that are impossible to avoid, most used in the context of a contractual obligation. By definition it is impossible to detail all situations that would be covered by needing to leave your home under the criteria of Force Majeure, but typical situations may include banking and insurance (both of which are mentioned as examples in the official guidance), car hire, government business. See our notes under ‘editorial note on interpretation’ towards the foot of this article.
The situation for companies where they are contractually obligated to fulfil a service is complex to a level beyond the scope of this article, and we recommend seeking legal advice.
(4) Petrol Filling Stations
The regulations as received only state that Petrol Filling stations may be used by vehicles to obtain fuel. There is no specific mention of whether this excludes pedestrians or motorists using the commonly attached shop facilities.
(5) Dog Walking, Vets & Cat Colonies
Here we have some differing interpretation. The national guidelines state clearly that dogs may only be taken for short walks necessary for them to do their business, and that walks for recreation or exercise are not allowed.
However, in Ibiza different localities are implementing this rule in different ways. For example Sant Josep have issued their implementation in line with the national ruling, Dog Walking for the purposes of evacuation only, whereas Formentera and San Antonio have both indicated Dog Walking as acceptable without any such stated limitation (though San Antonio said ‘in your own neighbourhood’).
In all instances it is stated that the Dog can only be walked by one person, not with other family members, nor with other dogs/dog walkers.
The national guidelines state that the feeding of cat colonies is allowed, but should be undertaken as infrequently as possible.
The national guidelines state that dog walkers must carry bags plus a bottle of water and disinfectant to spray where their animal evacuates.
The national guidelines also state that both dog walkers and cat colony feeders should time their activities when it is quietest in their area.
It is allowed to take your pet to a Vet
(6) Ceremonies and Religious Services
Civil and religious ceremonies, and services in places of worship, including funerals, can go ahead provided that there are no large crowds and that attendees maintain a distance of one metre from one another.
What You Can’t Do …
Limitation of operation on commercial activity, restaurants and leisure centres.
All premises and establishments that carry out public-facing activity are closed, apart from those distributing food and essential items.
- Bars and Clubs are shut.
- Cafés and restaurants are shut, but they may deliver food to people’s homes.
- Public shows such as cinemas and theaters are closed, as well as sporting events, museums, etc.
- All local fiestas, processions and other group cultural activities are suspended.
- Access to all beaches, recreations parks and other open public spaces is restricted other than in traversing them for the purposes of the allowed essential activities.
Editorial Note: Though these penalties are being widely circulated, and often in a highly sensationalised context, e.g. ‘fines up to 600,000€ for breaking emergency measures’. Before creating even more panic in people thinking we are entering some nightmare Orwellian police state, I feel it is important to point out that these crimes and penalties are all pre-existing. The laws that will apply to public breaches of the lockdown measures were actually enacted in 2011, 2015 (the 17/2015 legislation is part of what was widely referred to as the ‘gag law’, a very controversial piece of legislation that among many other controls brought in harsh punishments for criticism of the Police).
So yes, you may be fined from 100€ to 600€ for removing police cordon tape, but that has been the case since 2015, and will continue to be the case after the lockdown.
We therefore publish the list of fines and prison term penalties as a reminder of the level of punishment, NOT as a new piece of emergency legislation.
Each paragraph has the article number, the seriousness level, the infraction, and the level of fine, usually a from-to range or a prison term.
Organic Law 4/2015, of March 30, on the protection of citizen security
The removal of fences, tapes or other fixed or mobile elements placed by the Security Forces and Bodies to delimit security perimeters, even as a preventive measure, when it does not constitute a serious infraction.
100 – 600 €
Disobedience or resistance to the authority or its agents in the exercise of their functions, when they do not constitute a crime, as well as the refusal to identify themselves at the request of the authority or its agents or the allegation of false or inaccurate data in the identification processes.
601 – € 30,000
The celebration of public shows or recreational activities breaking the prohibition or suspension ordered by the corresponding authority for reasons of public safety.
€ 30,001 – € 600,000
Violations – General Law 33/2011 Of Public Health
- 57.2.B 1s
The conduct of conduct or omissions that may produce a risk or serious harm to the health of the population, when it does not constitute a very serious offense.
3,001 – € 60,000
- 57.2.A 1st
Very Serious The performance of behaviors or omissions that produce a SERIOUS risk or very serious damage to the health of the population.
- 57.2.A 2nd
Very Serious Non-compliance, repeatedly, with the instructions received from the competent authority, or non-compliance with a requirement thereof, if it involves serious damage to health.
€ 60,001 – € 600,000
Violations – Law 17/2015 National System Of P.C.
In declared emergencies, the breach of orders, prohibitions, instructions or requirements made by the holders of the competent bodies or the members of the intervention and assistance services, as well as the duties of collaboration with the surveillance and protection services of public or private companies, when it is not particularly dangerous or transcendent for the safety of people or property.
1,501 – € 30,000
In declared emergencies, non-compliance with orders, prohibitions, instructions or requirements made by the holders of the competent bodies or the members of the intervention and assistance services, as well as the duties of collaboration with the surveillance and protection services of public or private companies ̧ when it is particularly dangerous or important for the safety of people or property
€ 30,001 – € 600,000
Crime Of Disobedience – Criminal Code
Those who, without being included in article 550, seriously resist or disobey the authority or its agents in the exercise of their functions, or duly identified private security personnel who carry out private security activities in cooperation and under command of the Security Forces and Corps.
P: 3m – 12m or M: 6 – 18m
What We Don’t Know For Sure …
Which Shop & By Whom?
Though it is clear you are allowed to travel to buy food, we have not seen any confirmation on whether there is any expectation or restriction on whether you must go to those closest to your home (i.e. whether the Police will accept a reason of going to Eroski if you have passed other supermarkets or Eroskis to get there), nor whether a car driver can travel with a shopper who would be otherwise be unable to carry their shopping home under the assistance clause.
What is Employment?
The law assumes that everything and everybody is working in the context of legality. The reality is that some of its workforce, particularly in tourism centred areas, will be working black at this time of year. Can you travel to your place of work where it isn’t your legal place of work? Technically not, but many people will be facing that decision. See also ‘construction’ under the ‘Economy’ section’.
Banking & Financial
Some information indicates that banks will be open for general business, but some translations of the Spanish directives indicate that it is banking and insurance necessities only that are covered by the intention of the ‘force majeure’ exemption. So if correct, this would mean only contractual obligations can be undertaken, not routine business, not new business. See also our editorial comment on interpretation towards the foot of this article.
Many shops are starting to implement their own procedures to limit panic buying and hoarding of essentials. In so far as Governmental advice is concerned the following statement relates to the guarantee of the provision of food throughout the country.
“The authorities guarantee the production, storage, transport and distribution of foodstuffs to the consumer. When necessary, the transport of produce will be under escort, and routes will be established to allow for the circulation of personnel, raw materials and finished products. To guarantee these supplies, the government has powers to mobilize the state security forces and the army.”
- This section last updated Tuesday 17th March 16:00h
The President of the Balearics has announced the effective closure of all airports in the Balearics with some very limited exceptions.
Each airline operating services to Ibiza will be allowed 1 flight only per day from Madrid, and 1 flight from Barcelona.
The Police will be making health assessments of those travelling to Ibiza, and will refuse those who show symptoms of Coronavirus.
There is no detailed information as yet on what criteria will be used to allow travel to or from the Island on one of the very limited number of flights, however the Balearic Government have stated repeatedly that they will allow island residents to return home.
No private jets will be allowed to use airports in the Balearics.
Ferries will operate very limited services but adequate for the guarantee of the provision of food and other essential cargo.
We have not seen anything in the latest announcements regarding the ability of residents to return to Ibiza using ferries as foot or motor vehicle passengers.
Taxis are operating. Ibiza Town Council have issued a directive stating that only one passenger may use a taxi, except where there is an urgent need for additional passengers, for example in assisting a person with limited mobility or travelling with children. As it stands we have not seen any similar directives from the other Ibiza districts – but that is not to say they have not been issued.
We know bus services will be cut – but are awaiting confirmation as to the level and timescale etc of the reductions to be imposed.
The royal decree requires passenger transport services to undertake daily cleaning of vehicles in accordance with the recommendations established by the Ministry of Health. This will apply to planes, buses etc.
Transport operators must take necessary steps to ensure ‘maximum separation’ between passengers. There is no clarification on what constitutes maximum separation in terms of a specific distance as there is with other regulations.
The Consell de Formentera has commenced a check of all people arriving on the island. All ferry services will ask travellers to complete a questionnaire with the dual purpose of creating a data register of all on the island including information on their departure origin etc, and also questioning the reason for their trip to ensure it falls within those allowed essential categories.
It is stated that passengers who do not satisfy the police of the essential nature of their travel will be rejected from entering the island and will be required to return to the port of origin.
All travellers will receive an information brochure detailing Formentera’s responses and policies to the crisis.
UK Travel Advisory
The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office has issued a notice recommending British citizens do not to travel to Spain due to the declared state of alarm and in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus .
Their statement reads; “The Ministry recommends not traveling to Spain due to the restrictions imposed by the Spanish Government in response to the coronavirus outbreak ( Covid-19)”
Health & Health Services
- This section last updated Tuesday 17th March 14:00h
Ibsalut Information and Links
As healthcare information changes so quickly, it is better that we provide links to the official Ibsalut websites.
Translation Note: The Ibisalut website information is provided in Spanish and Catalan however it auto-translates very well using Google Chrome. Note: If you are opening the link from within a facebook session it may open within facebook’s own inbuilt browser that does not auto-translate. You need to select ‘view this page in Chrome’ or another external browser that does auto-translate to your language.
Translation Note: In an unfortunate error, Google translate incorrectly shows the Spanish word ‘Sanitarios’ as ‘Toilets’. In Spain, the word Sanitarios is used to describe healthcare professionals, e.g a collective terms for paramedics, doctors, nurses etc. You may therefore see automatically translated text referring to situations such as ‘Spain’s toilets being stretched to breaking point’, or ‘applauding the valiant efforts of Spain’s toilets’. Now you know.
Healthcare Appointments in Ibiza
This link gives information on healthcare appointments in Ibiza – both medical centre and hospital, new and existing appointments https://www.ibsalut.es/es/info-ciudadania/cita-previa-ibsalut/3731-cambios-en-la-asistencia-sanitaria-en-los-centros-de-salud-y-hospitales-por-la-crisis-del-covid-19
Coronavirus Advice in Ibiza
Information on the Covid-19 virus, preventative measures, and what to do if you feel you may have contracted the virus. https://www.ibsalut.es/es/info-ciudadania/cuidar-la-salud/3710-preguntas-y-respuestas-sobre-el-nuevo-coronavirus-2019-n-cov
Healthcare Advice – Prevention
The World Health Organization is recommending that people take simple precautions to reduce exposure to and transmission of the coronavirus, for which there is no specific cure or vaccine. The UN agency advises people to:
- Frequently wash their hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or warm water and soap
- Cover their mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when sneezing or coughing
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever or cough
- Seek early medical help if they have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share their travel history with healthcare providers
- Avoid direct, unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals when visiting live markets in affected areas
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat, milk or animal organs to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods.
Despite a surge in sales of face masks in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, experts are divided over whether they can prevent transmission and infection. There is some evidence to suggest that masks can help prevent hand-to-mouth transmissions, given the large number of times people touch their faces. The consensus appears to be that wearing a mask can limit – but not eliminate – the risks, provided it is used correctly.
There is conflicting information regarding the wisdom of using ibuprofen in managing coronavirus symptoms. The French health minister has warned against it. Spanish health authorities have rejected the French advice as misguided and unproven.
- This section last updated Tuesday 17th March 19:00h
200 Billion Euro Relief Package
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a relief package of €200 billion to fight the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis.
The measures include delaying mortgage payments and easing social security contributions for small businesses.
The 200 Billion Euro Coronavirus War Chest will comprise public and private funds. The amount is the equivalent of 20% of Spain’s total GDP (gross domestic product)
The aid package has four main objectives: –
- Easing the conditions of the temporary collective layoffs (known as ERTEs in Spain)
- Supporting workers and businesses affected by the slump in activity
- Guaranteeing liquidity for businesses
- Supporting research to find a coronavirus vaccine.
100 billion euros forms a public guarantee scheme to ensure liquidity for struggling businesses. Sánchez said the government will also guarantee liquidity for at-risk businesses. “The government will provide the necessary liquidity. We are creating a line of public guarantees of up to €100 billion,”
17 billion euros is earmarked to support the groups most likely to suffer from the effects of the pandemic.
Further measures outlined in the 45 page document include: –
The possibility (not certainty) of delaying mortgage payments on primary residences for employees who lose their jobs
The possibility (not certainty) of delaying mortgage payments on primary residences for ‘autonomo’ self-employed workers who sustain dramatic income losses due to the coronavirus crisis.
Newspaper El Pais say that should the mortgage moratorium be confirmed, it will last up to three months.
The possibility (not certainty) of suspending social security contribution requirements for small and medium businesses who do not lay off workers and adjusting the social security system contributions made by self-employed workers whose income plummets due to the crisis.
The decree also allows workers to adapt and reduce their working hours, by as much as 100% if necessary, if they need to provide care to dependents.
The measures also target the self-employed and small businesses, which stand to sustain significant losses. “We will work to allow the self-employed to receive a subsidy if they are affected,” said Sánchez, who called on employers not to lay off workers.
A €30-million allocation will also be made to reinforce “scientific research to develop a vaccine and a cure for Covid-19.” The beneficiaries of these funds are the state scientific research council CSIC and the research institute Carlos III.
Endessa have confirmed they will not cut any electricity supplies scheduled for disconnection during the current crisis.
A frequent question has been whether or not construction work is allowed to continue during the lockdown, with many locals expressing surprise that work is continuing unabated on large commercial projects whereas individual traders are being told they cannot work.
Though we cannot address the inconsistency of information, the president of the Association of Builders in Ibiza and Formentera, Consuelo Antúnez, has issued a statement that building work may continue.
“You can work in the construction of private buildings, as long as the security measures provided by the Government are met, that is, the use of masks and the separation of security between people,” the Antúnez is quoted as saying in the Diario de Ibiza.
The newspaper states they have confirmed this with sources in the Balearic Government. “The Government Delegation has also explained that this activity is allowed, provided that it is carried out by authorized companies and with the appropriate requirements fulfilled”.
Particular mention was made of the transport of workers to and from sites in so far as it is still strictly prohibited to carry multiple passengers.
Editorial Note on Interpretation
- By Nick Gibbs, 16th March
Though the outline of the State of Alarm is dictated nationally, its implementation and all importantly interpretation, will be governed locally.
Ibiza & Formentera have 6 local authorities and 6 police forces. Inevitably interpretation will vary. Example; Formentera have indicated Dog Walking to be acceptable. Sant Josep have stated Dogs can only be walked to the extent needed to ‘do their business’, they state dogs cannot be walked for exercise.
Beyond the district’s interpretation of the regulations, you have the individual police officer’s view, and again these will vary considerably. We need to cut them some slack in this respect – the whole situation is new and unprecedented. It is impossible for them to have received direction on every detail of the law. Example; one of the necessity exemptions allowing movement is ‘force majeure’, the need to complete a contract in unexpected circumstances. The guidelines cite banking and insurance as examples. One may reasonably assume this would also apply to Car Hire contracts (e.g returning cars at the end of the contract – which a few Ibiza people have raised as a question), but it was not stated in the text, so it will be down to the officer on the street to make that assessment until someone higher up gives a directive (which being Ibiza and car hire being a commonly accessed service they will in all probability do at some point soon).
There is no way the Police or Authorities can be expected to have come up with an answer to every possible situation that may arise. Whining about your own plight is not helpful. Questions good, whining bad.
Our advice is to be very careful when considering the anecdotal advice of what one person says they can do or can’t do in any given area. Even assuming their information is reliable, just because it is so in their district does not mean it is so in yours.
Also, if people are sharing their own experiences it is useful to state the area the event occurred, and specifically confirm that it was your own first hand experience. Third hand accounts, however well intended, are unreliable and create confusion.
With such a deluge of information being published on the coronavirus crisis, it is difficult to know what to read and take note of. The articles below are what we trust as useful additional information across the broader spectrum of coronavirus issues.
No Time to Lose – El Pais
On the scientific reasons for the state of alarm; Jesús Pla and José M. Bautista, professors in microbiology and molecular biology, respectively, at Madrid’s Complutense University, explain that the scientific community supports the declaration of the state of alarm. “There is no time to lose,” they say. https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-03-14/no-time-to-lose-with-state-of-alarm-say-biology-experts.html?rel=lom
Spanish Prime Minister’s Statement
Spanish PM: “The measures we are going to adopt are drastic and will have consequences” https://english.elpais.com/politics/2020-03-14/spanish-pm-the-measures-we-are-going-to-adopt-are-drastic-and-will-have-consequences.html?rel=lom
Well reasoned and informed piece here https://elemental.medium.com/why-we-should-care-commonly-asked-questions-and-answers-about-covid-19-6b166f1876e9
Responsible British Press
Report in the Guardian gives a good account of where we Spain is at. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/14/spain-government-set-to-order-nationwide-coronavirus-lockdown
Crime in Ibiza
This interesting piece by the diario talks of the potential affect on crime. It states that the big, organised crime gangs will not come if the tourists on who they feed are not here to rob, but also anticipates an increase in subsistence crime, as the economic effects are felt by those desperate to make ends meet. https://www.diariodeibiza.es/pitiuses-balears/2020/03/15/fuerzas-seguridad-preparan-escenario-delincuencia/1129670.html