As the world tackles a global pandemic, most countries put their economies to a halt, in hopes to slow the spread of COVID-19. Spain recorded the highest number of cases in Europe with more than 27,000 recorded deaths. The country implemented one of the strictest lockdown restrictions in the world to help flatten the curve. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez unveiled a phased-out plan to ease lockdown. The prime minister said the plan to relax the restrictions would be ‘gradual, flexible and adaptive’.
Spain is home to more than 47 million people, most of which make use of public transportation. While the decision to relax restrictions will help soften an economic blow, many fear a resurgence of the virus. One of the latest adjustments is the mandatory use of face masks on public transport.
As of 9 May, Spain gradually opened its economy to a ‘new normal’ with many of the lockdown restrictions still in place. The four-phase plan introduced by Prime Minister Sanchez is expected to last until the end of June. Also, the minister noted that while the country eases lockdown, the ‘state of alarm’ would be extended. The government proposed monitoring each region on its readiness for the next phase. These are the four phases of the country’s plan to ease restrictions:
Phase 0 – Introduction and Preparation of Exit Plan
The introduction phase sets out to get the economy running while keeping strict measures in place. Children under 14 years enjoyed short walks since 26 April, while the rest of Spain as of 2 May. Restaurants and bars only permitted to open for takeaway and delivery. Hairdressers, bookstores, and other retail shops with less than a 400m radius also allowed. Training of sports professionals allowed within restrictions.
PHASE 1 – Initial Phase of Easing Spain’s lockdown restrictions
Tourism, which is one of the most affected industries, will resume with hotels and other accommodations opening their doors to guests. Guests are prohibited from utilising hotel’s communal areas and establishments to maintain capacity restrictions. Bars and restaurants can open up their outside terraces with a limitation of 50% their occupancy. Allocated shopping time with priority for people over 65. Other key elements include:
- No more than 10 people can meet for social gatherings.
- Churches and other places of worship can reopen with 30% of normal capacity.
- Outdoor markets to reopen while keeping in line with social distancing recommendations.
PHASE 2 – Intermediate
While keeping in line with the 30% capacity rule, bars and restaurants will be permitted to receive sit-down customers. Children under six are allowed to return to school, in the case parents are not able to work from home. An increase in capacity from 30% – 50% at all places of worship, the same goes for cultural events.
PHASE 3 – Advanced Phase
Phase 3 will see most of the business opening to the ‘new normal’. Social distancing and capacity measures will, however, remain in place. Movement between regions only permitted once both places have passed through phase 3. Most of these measures allow people to return to work; while, BOE recommends working from home.
Learn more about travel restrictions in Spain