MADRID — Óscar Robles Álvarez yearned to celebrate Easter this year with his family in his hometown in northeastern Spain, which he has not visited since Christmas 2019.
Instead, he will spend the holiday on Sunday in Madrid, where he now lives, because of domestic travel restrictions imposed to stem another wave of Covid-19. He says he understands why the government recently extended those rules, but cannot fathom why no such travel ban applies to foreign tourists visiting his hometown, Getxo, a beach resort popular with surfers 80 miles from the border with France.
“This situation is completely unfair,” said Mr. Robles Álvarez, 50, who worked in finance but is currently jobless. “Citizens are being asked to behave responsibly by politicians who themselves decide completely incoherent Covid rules.”
In the prelude to Easter, a debate in Spain about whether double standards are being applied to contain Covid-19 has been intensifying. The polemic is echoed in other European countries, where the authorities have also restricted internal travel while allowing their citizens to go abroad and permitting foreign tourists to enter and move about more freely.
a digital certificate that could ease tourism this summer, including internal travel within member states.
“Given that transmission and risk are similar for national and cross-border journeys, member states should ensure there is coherence between the measures applied to the two types of journey,” said Christian Wigand, a commission spokesman.
tough rules in place restricting movement across the country. Residents are allowed to leave their town — or their house in the more affected regions — only for work, health reasons or other reasons deemed necessities.
But the government has allowed Italians to travel for tourism to most European countries, including France, Germany and Spain, only asking them to get a negative test 48 hours before their return.
A spokesman for Italy’s health minister said the risk of contagion from international travel with restrictions was lower than that of allowing free movement between domestic regions. One reason for that, he said, is volume — it is easier and cheaper for large numbers of people to travel domestically — adding that it would also be virtually impossible to enforce quarantines on travel between regions.
The Italian hotel association, Federalberghi, was among those accusing the government of double standards.