When There’s One Covid Rule Book for Locals, and Another for Tourists

María Jesús Montero, a minister and spokeswoman for the Spanish government, said last week that the country was doing exactly the same as others in allowing foreign travel but limiting domestic movement.

On Tuesday, the Spanish government ordered the mandatory wearing of face masks in all public outdoor spaces, including beaches. Some regional leaders immediately criticized the rule, arguing that they should have first been consulted by the central government.

Italy also has 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.

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