Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Spain outlines plan in easing COVID-19 restrictions

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez revealed yesterday, 28 April, how Spain will gradually transition out of its lockdown. The plan, which was approved by the country’s cabinet, is divided in four phases with no fixed dates. Each phase will run for at least two weeks in line with the incubation period of the coronavirus.

The different phases will work as follows:

Preparatory phase

The first phase already began on Sunday, 26 April, when Spain allowed children to go out for one hour per day with a parent within a kilometre radius from home. Starting 2 May, the population will be allowed to go out for walks or individual exercise.

Government offices will be opened for individuals who have previously scheduled appointments. Restaurants will be allowed to prepare takeaway orders as well. Professional athletes may resume individual training and public locations will be disinfected in preparation for phase one.

Phase one

While there is no fixed date for it yet, Spain expects to start the first phase on 11 May. During this stage, bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen their terraces, although occupancy will be restricted to only a third of their normal capacity. Accommodation businesses, including hotels, will also be allowed to operate as long as capacity restrictions are observed and communal areas remain closed.

Small shops may open as well, but all commercial activity must have hours that give priority to people over 65. Big shopping areas are to remain closed.

Places of worship may also reopen but must function with only a third of normal capacity.

Phase two

During the second phase, restaurants and bars will be allowed to receive customers but only for table service and occupancy must remain to only a third of normal capacity. Places of worship, meanwhile, can expand occupancy to 50%.

Schools will open to children under six whose parents cannot work from home.

Cultural events will be allowed to resume during this phase, although events must be limited to 50% capacity or 400 people if the event is held outdoors with seating.

Phase three

The third phase is the last step before Spain enters the new normal. In this stage, all shops can open provided that capacity is maintained at 50% and customers continue to observe social distancing. Restaurant capacities will be eased as well with strict separation between customers.

Movement restrictions will ease as well, although movement between regions will remain prohibited until phase three has been completed in both areas. The use of face masks outside of the house will remain “strongly recommended” especially in public transport.

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