Updated 22 June: Now that we’re in the New Normal, with the estado de alarma lifted and borders reopened to EU and Schengen Area countries including the UK, I think it’s time to put this post to rest. I’ll start a new one, which will hopefully be very short, giving the main details of the New Normal, and it will be there ready for any further announcements that may be made. Thank you all for reading this post over the past two months. I think the original idea of separating it from the Covid figures/outbreak post was a good one simply to keep relevant information all in the same place. Let’s hope the new post, HERE, doesn’t need to include any updates about future lockdowns or return to an earlier phase, nor a reimposition of an estado de alarma. Stay safe everyone.
Updated 20 June: Today is the summer solstice, the longest day … and the last one of the estado de alarma. From midnight tonight, the start of Sunday 21 June, Spain and Tenerife move forward from phase 3 into the New Normal (national legislation HERE). In addition, the date for reopening Spain’s borders has been brought forward from 1 July to correspond with the lifting of the state of emergency. This means an end to restrictions on free movement within Spain, and also the entry of tourists from Schengen and EU countries under the triple tests introduced yesterday for international arrivals by Health Secretary Salvador Illa (see yesterday’s 4pm update): the UK is included with the EU countries because although no longer an EU member state, British nationals are covered until 31 December by the arrangements of the Brexit Transition Period. Health Emergencies Centre Director Fernando Simón has said, however, that we should still be very aware of the risks of free movement, and should be responsible, and not make unnecessary journeys.
I’ve detailed below (10 June update) the national rules, and the Canarian Government has also introduced its own rules, published today in the BOC HERE. Individual ayuntamientos may also impose their own local regulations. Both main pieces of legislation are intended to be in force until the national Government officially announces an end to the covid19 health emergency which it has indicated will only be when a vaccine is developed or a guaranteed treatment becomes available.
The combination of these rules affects our daily lives in many respects, and some will feel that although it’s a “new” normal, it is not all that different to the phases we’ve been living through over the past three months. In particular, we remain under the compulsion to wear a face mask complying with national specifications (see HERE) in any public space, indoors or out, where a 1.5m physical distance cannot be maintained, and at all times in public transport or cars shared with others from a different household; there are exceptions for those doing something where one cannot be worn but one must be carried to be worn when the activity has stopped, and those with certified breathing problems are wholly exempt.
In addition, we are required to adopt measures at all times to avoid generating risks of propagating covid19, as well as doing whatever is necessary to avoid such risks ourselves. In the main, this requires us to maintain physical distancing of a minimum of 1.5m, and apart from rules imposed on all businesses regarding disinfection and hygiene, they are required to ensure that customers and staff can maintain that necessary distance. This will mean a minimum 1.5m spacing between all clients, tables, and groups, and various restrictions of capacity of up to around 75% maximum in all venues and events including discos and nightclubs: these last may only reopen for outdoor entertainment and even then dance floors cannot be used. Any activities that are permitted indoors must be organized in groups of no more than 20, with crowds attending events restricted to a maximum of 1,000 if outdoors, 300 in enclosed spaces.
In restaurants, there will be no menus, with choices made available through clients’ own phones and tablets online or through QR codes, or chalked up on blackboards, posters and the like. Glasses, cutlery, bread baskets, etc will be stored in closed containers and disinfected between use, and no decorations are allowed on tables. Anything that could be touched by subsequent customers must be removed, so there’s an end, for the time being at least, to the familiar little square containers of napkins, toothpick glasses, cruets, oil jugs … we have a whole new form of “nouvelle cuisine” where it’s not the food that’s “minimal”! Cinema, theatre, and auditorium audiences will be required to use a pre-assigned booking system to ensure clients are seated and distanced (couples will be able to sit together).
Hotels and touristic complexes will look different too, with common areas marked off for distancing, valet parking a thing of the past, at least for now, and any staff touching suitcases or other client belongings, or driving them around, wearing gloves. Entertainment too will be in limited groups and with 1.5m distancing between those taking part or wearing masks if distancing is impossible. No entertainment will be able to involve something like a ball that is touched by more than one person. One particular measure in the rules is that tourist accommodation may not be shared by those who do not live together. Any cafeteria or restaurant services will comply with rules for the catering industry generally but buffet services will have protective screens, and meals will either be individually plated or in sealed single helpings.
Public administration offices will continue to provide services primarily online or by phone, or through prior appointment. In this last respect, waiting areas will be controlled with the public not allowed in until just before their allotted time, and with measures in place at all times to avoid crowds forming. Only those with appointments may attend. Various measures will be in place to avoid queues and ensure distancing and hygiene in waiting areas.
Outdoor sporting activity may be undertaken singly or in groups up to 30, always respecting the 1.5m distancing. Enclosed sporting facilities will have to limit groups to 25, however, again with distancing, and only to 60% capacity. Measures will be in place for dressing rooms, common areas, and rest facilities. Beaches will be controlled by ayuntamientos, with 1.5m distancing required for any users who don’t live together, and capacity determined by calculating four square metres per person. Natural pools will be controlled for distancing. Any sunbeds on beaches must be spaced out at a 2m distance all round, with hygiene and disinfection rules in place. Pairs of sunbeds will be available for couples subject to the same rules in respect of other pairs.
In summing up the New Normal, Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez said that tomorrow sees the start of a new stage. “We are in a position to move forward and we have to do so but the warning is clear: the virus can return”, he said, adding that it is “up to every one of us to be a wall blocking covid19 and its path of contagion. Let’s not drop our guard, let’s be as personally responsible as we can possibly be.” The PM continued that it was now time to reconstruct the country. “We have to recover our economy”, he said, “and renew it at the same time. This is the sense of recent measures like the minimum living wage, laying the foundation for a New Economy, more inclusive and sustainable, this is the road we have ahead”.
Updated 4pm, 19/6: The Spanish Government has clarified that borders will reopen to Schengen Area countries and EU nation states this Sunday, and that the UK is included in the EU nation states because it is still within the Transition Period. Health Secretary Salvador Illa also confirmed that every single person entering the country will be subject to three controls for covid19 reasons. The first will be documentary, involving a form containing details of the person, where they’re from, and specifically where they will be staying in Spain; the second will be an automated temperature control; and the third will be visual inspection. If any one of the three tests is failed, the passenger will be medically examined, with various procedures in place depending on the result of that examination.
Updated 19 June: As expected, the Canarian Government has now approved the measures which will be in place in these islands, complementary to the national New Normal legislation HERE, once we leave phase 3 on Sunday, the day on which the estado de alarma is also lifted. These rules will be in force until the national Government officially announces an end to the health emergency caused by the covid19 outbreak, which it has indicated will not be until a vaccine is developed or a guaranteed treatment becomes available.
The main measures of the national legislation as they will affect us in our daily lives involve face masks and physical distancing. We are required to wear a face mask complying with national specifications (see HERE) in any public space, indoors or out, where a 1.5m physical distance cannot be maintained, and at all times in public transport or cars shared with others from a different household; there are exceptions for those doing something where one cannot be worn but one must be carried to be worn when the activity has stopped, and those with certified breathing problems are wholly exempt. We are also required at all times to adopt measures necessary to avoid generating risks of propagating covid19, as well as doing whatever is necessary to avoid such risks ourselves.
This legal duty of caution and protection is applicable across the board, including for staff and customers in all establishments where crowds could gather – please see the 10 June update below for further details. Now, in addition, the Canarian Government’s rules have been approved. They will be published in the BOC tomorrow, but the Government reminds the public that individual councils will be able to add their own local rules so the national and regional Governments’ rules may not be the only ones that apply in any given area.
The Canarian rules will guarantee safety distancing, cleaning and disinfection measures, and crowd capacities in a range of activities and premises, including shops, bars, restaurants, tourist establishments, schools, sports facilities, ports and airports, and gambling venues. Also included will be measures covering cultural activities, cinemas, theatres, auditoriums, libraries, archives, museums, public or private administrative offices, and call centres.
The new regulations also cover federated competitive sports, sporting events, personal physical outdoor activity, beach and rock pool use, as well as weddings, funerals, and other religious events. Open-air discos and nightclubs will be able to open but only for seated eating and/or drinking, but dance floors will remain shut off. In all these cases, capacity will have specific limits which will always be less than full. Any activities that are permitted indoors must be organized in groups of no more than 20 including the organizer.
As soon as the measures are published in the BOC tomorrow I’ll post a link here, and edit the rules at the top of the page. Meanwhile, the regional Government has published THIS easy-to-follow leaflet in pictorial form.
Updated 18 June: Spain will have a €4.25 billion investment in tourism to restart the country’s principal economic motor, PM Sánchez has announced today. The massive investment will be across the board, including marketing which, as we already know, is heavily focusing on the domestic market in addition to a major drive in Germany, Ireland and the UK. In respect of the domestic market here in the Canaries, a group of regional businesses have created an action group #MuéveteporCanarias … Explore the Canaries perhaps captures the meaning more than a literal translation.
The initiative is an alliance within the tourism sector to offer Canarian residents discounts on holiday packages of between 12 and 15 per cent. The businesses where these discounts will be available are: Viajes Insular, Binter, Fred Olsen, Cicar, Líneas Romero, THe Hoteles, HD Hoteles, Satocan Turistic, Coral Hoteles, Jardín de Tecina, Dreamplace Hotels & Resorts, R2 Hotels, and PY Hotels & Resorts. Any legal residents here who are thinking of a staycation … now might be a good time!
Updated 16 June: Spanish Foreign Minister (acting) Arancha González Laya has confirmed that British nationals will be able to come into Spain from 22 June but says that if the UK continues with its policy of quarantine for arrivals there, Spain would look at reciprocating that for British visitors to Spain. The minister said the situation was fluid and evolving: here is a clip from her interview, in English, on BBC Hardtalk.
EXCLUSIVE: The Spanish Foreign Minister has told @BBCHARDtalk the country is considering imposing quarantine restrictions on visitors from the UK – unless the British government lifts its own 2 week quarantine for visitors from Spain. pic.twitter.com/HMt2GvxmEs
— Charlie Haynes (@charliehtweets) June 16, 2020
Updated 15 June: Although there has been no public announcement from Spain, which has only officially confirmed that its borders are reopening to Schengen Area countries this Sunday, not even the EU, the FCO’s Embassy in Madrid says:
You may have seen the announcement this weekend that Spain will open its borders with some countries from 21 June. The Spanish government has confirmed to us that the UK is included within the group of countries to whom these border relaxations will apply.
Updated 2pm, 14/6: Canarian President Ángel Torres has confirmed that the Canaries will leave phase 3 for the New Normal next Sunday, 21 June, when the estado de alarma is lifted nationally and when the regional Government has passed a decree, which it will do this coming week, probably on Thursday, to legislate what this new period will be like in the islands. The president said that the main threat currently was that of possible fresh outbreaks, but that the Canaries were now even better placed than formerly to deal with any that should occur. He stressed that it was crucial to maintain personal and collective responsibility, and to respect the rules which remained compulsory.
Torres paid tribute to the strength of the Canarian health service and every one of those who worked in it, whom he described as great heroes in this victory over the covid19 pandemic, and confirmed the Government’s commitment to public health provision. He welcomed the national Government’s announcement that it would present its Plan Turístico por la COVID-19 (tourism plan for covid19) this coming Thursday 18 June, and said that it was vital in order to define the future of the main economic motor of the Canaries. The regional President repeated his call (as reported in yesterday’s update below) for all visitors to be tested before entering the islands, ideally at place of origin but if necessary here in ports and airports: this is not his decision to make, of course, but Spain has repeatedly said that all decisions will be collegiate.
To confirm the countries which will be allowed into Spain from next Sunday: the Schengen Area is formed by 26 countries, 22 of which are EU members. They are Belgium, Czech Rep, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The other two countries are Spain and Portugal, whose shared border, as reported in today’s earlier update immediately below, won’t be opening until 1 July when there will be a formal ceremony for the event.
Because all sorts of incorrect information are circulating right now about all this, let me stress first that there has been no “change of mind” by the Canarian Government. No final decision had been taken so no change of mind was possible, and as I said previously, a move out of phase 3 tomorrow Monday 15 was considered but in the end it was decided not to proceed without regulations in place. These will be developed this week, probably on Thursday, which is perhaps why some outlets are incorrectly reporting that this is when we will move out of phase 3 into the New Normal. The Canarian Government has itself confirmed, today HERE, that the New Normal is a stage that “Canarias entrará a partir del 21 de junio próximo, después de que en el Consejo de Gobierno de la próxima semana se apruebe el decreto que regule cómo será ese nuevo periodo en las Islas” (the Canaries will enter from 21 June after the Government has approved the degree for the new rules this coming week). What is actually happening on Thursday is the Spanish Government’s presentation of its new tourism plan, and the Canarian Council of Ministers’ approval of regional rules to complement national legislation which will be in place until the health emergency is declared over, likely to be only when there’s a vaccine or a guaranteed treatment for covid19.
Updated 14 June: Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez has announced this morning that Spain’s borders with the Schengen Area will be reopened when the estado de alarma comes to an end a week today, Sunday 21 June. The reopening has been brought forward from 1 July to coincide with the ending of the state of emergency, but excludes Spain’s border with Portugal which will remain closed until 1 July: that particular reopening will be a formal ceremony attended by Sánchez himself along with King Felipe VI and the Portuguese PM. Sánchez has also confirmed that Gallicia in north west Spain will be the first part of the country to leave phase 3 for the New Normal, a step the region will take tomorrow, Monday 15 June.
Updated 13 June: Thanks to what now seems to have become a norm of treating ideas, thoughts and plans as concrete facts, half of Tenerife seems to think that on Monday we will be leaving phase 3 and joining the new normal. Given the actual legislation for the new normal, there won’t be all that much difference in the two situations anyway, but in any case it is not going to happen. The simple fact is that the Canarian Government was considering the possibility of moving forward from phase 3 to the new normal on Monday, believing that the evolution in the islands allowed for that transition, but in the end did not make the final decision to do so, preferring to do things cautiously and, that word again, gradually. The Canarian Government’s expressed position is that the situation looks good to move forward into the new normal, effectively bringing the Canaries out of the estado de alarma early, but at this moment the executive is “estudiando ahora si es necesario dictar normas autonómicas antes de tomar la decisión de pasar a la nueva normalidad” (currently considering whether new regional laws are needed before taking that decision).
Regional president Ángel Torres has also said that the islands were demanding that once Spain’s borders were reopened on 1 July, anyone who comes into these islands should have had a test and a negative result in their place of origin before arrival: Torres said that if there were no international regulation in this regard the Canaries could impose a test here on all arrivals. What Torres seems to be doing is adding weight to the current discussion between Aena and Sanidad (Spain) as to the range of methods and procedures to be employed in the requirement, contained in the New Normal legislation, to carry out health checks on all those arriving on international flights.
Updated 2pm, 12/6: The Canarian Government has announced that regional airline Binter will gradually resume inter-island air connectivity from Monday. The Government says that the progressive increase will mean that by 1 July, when Spain’s borders are reopening, the company will have recovered 100 flights a day between the islands in the archipelago. The plan is possible because the General Aviation Board has published a resolution, at the Canarian Government’s request, to rescind the reduction of 70% of air traffic imposed in March because of the covid19 pandemic. Binter Coordinator General Juan Ramsden said that “this significant increase in routes that we are undertaking in such a short time is a clear reflection of the real commitment of the company to enable Canary Islands inhabitants to fly again with a wide range of connections and maximum health safety guarantees”.
Updated 12 June: As Clio and I discussed in our podcast yesterday, the Canarian Government is putting around €6m into a tourism marketing campaign focusing on national tourists from the Spanish mainland, and the German, Irish and British markets, in that order. The Tenerife Cabildo, for its part, is putting €23m into a fund to restart tourism, with a focus on sustainable and intelligent tourism, a new model for the new normal. I outline the details of what that means in yesterday’s podcast too, and it is not something that will just be a Canarian project. King Felipe VI himself attended a virtual conference yesterday with the network of Spain’s Intelligent Tourism Destinations. The country as a whole is looking towards sustainable and intelligent tourism, sustainability definable as a focus on environmental responsibility and control of massive numbers, and intelligent tourism very well described in THIS piece by a Finnish tourism specialist.
No-one is saying this is all going to happen quickly, but as Clio and I discussed with Jorge Marichal, Ashotel chief, tourism cannot resume from a standing start and so they need to begin putting plans in place now to be ready for when tourists can return, whenever that is and wherever they might be from … and that will depend both on whether they’re in the Schengen or EU areas, where the first arrivals are most likely to hail from, and the way in which the outbreak in those countries is evolving.
Some who are returning to Spain even before the borders are reopened on 1 July are German holidaymakers who will be going to the Balearic Islands as part of a pilot project (pun not intended but amusing all the same!) for air corridors between regions of Spain deemed safe for tourists to visit and those countries deemed safe to accept tourists from. Despite a fair amount of hype lately about this proposed measure, including widespread but misplaced rumours that it was going to bring tourists back to the Canaries in the immediate future, HERE is the legislation published today showing quite clearly that it is just German airports that will be sending tourists to Spain, and equally clearly that they will only be going to the Balearic Islands.
“Gradual” is the key word that has now been used about the resumption of tourism by those involved in it in the Canaries and Spain generally by everyone from hoteliers, councils, cabildos, regional governments, health departments, national and regional tourism departments, and yesterday even the King himself. The plans, however, are already starting and the money is being made available. The future of tourism will arrive in stages, gradually, as part of a different normal, a sustainable and intelligent one. And hopefully a safe one too.
Updated 4.30pm, 10/6: With regard to face masks, please see THIS from Sanidad (Spain), published today, which is dedicated to the issue, and covers the three types we must use in different situations. The first is a simple hygienic mask, the sort we already get from chemists: it is the sort we should all wear if healthy and not working frontline or in the health services. Its specifications, defined by the Spanish Standardization and Certification Association, are detailed in Anexo 2. The second sort is a surgical mask to be worn by anyone displaying symptoms or their close contacts – all these should also be self-isolating and seeking medical confirmation of their infection. The third is an auto-filter mask to be worn by health professionals and frontline workers. This graphic (click to enlarge) shows the three types. **Please see THIS post from 16 June which is an update confirming the specifications for home-made masks**
Updated 10 June: And HERE it is, the legislation for the New Normal with which we will live from whenever the Canaries leaves phase 3 until, the Decree says, the Government declares an end to the Covid19 health crisis based on scientific evidence and in agreement with reports from the Centro de Coordinación de Alertas y Emergencias Sanitarias, which is the Health Emergencies coordination centre headed by Fernando Simón. We must presume, from what Sánchez has said previously, that this is likely to be when either a vaccine is discovered or a guaranteed treatment for covid19 becomes available.
This is a longish piece of legislation so I’m not going to translate it all but will outline some basic points here. If anyone has specific questions I’m happy to try to help clarify. I’ll change the bullet points above to cover the new normal once Canarian President Ángel Torres announces that we’re leaving phase 3 and so become covered by the provisions of this New Normal Decree.
One thing that has been firmed up is the requirement to wear a surgical face mask of the sort bought at a chemist, for example, rather than “of some sort” which was the wording in legislation covering a previous phase of the de-escalation. Those words have disappeared, so a scarf or even a fabric mask will not do, it seems. **Now confirmed that it must be one of the three types in the update above this one** (** edited). Exceptions remain for those with respiratory conditions or those carrying out activities incompatible with wearing one, though in this latter case one must be carried to put on when the activity has stopped. A related amendment is that the physical distance required generally and in particular where face masks must be used has been reduced from a minimum of 2 metres to 1.5.
We are also to be required as a fundamental tenet to adopt measures necessary to avoid generating risks of propagating covid19, as well as doing whatever is necessary to avoid such risks ourselves. This legal duty of caution and protection is applicable across the board, to everyone. The basic rule in this respect is that of physical distancing of a minimum of 1.5 metres. The Decree places an obligation to provide and enforce this physical distancing rule for staff and customers on all businesses and establishments where crowds could gather, and explicitly includes shops, wholesalers, commercial centres, markets, hotels, touristic accommodation, bars, restaurants, caravan and camping sites, museums, libraries, cultural sites, public shows and other recreational activities, sports installations, university halls of residence and any similar establishments. Basically, everywhere, including in social groups, not just commercial settings. Where this is practically impossible, such establishments must observe appropriate hygiene rules which will have been supplied in detail to their professional organizations or those of their advisers.
The legislation covers much else, concerned above all with the monitoring and control of the outbreak, the production and distribution of sanitary and health supplies, the testing programme and contact tracing, epidemiological monitoring and treatment of focal points of future outbreaks, the designation of covid19 as an urgently notifiable disease, and of course the protection of the health system and its capacity at root. The Decree also provides for sanctions for non-compliance including fines, as I mentioned yesterday, of up to €100 for not wearing a face mask.
As far as international travel is concerned, as I’ve said previously there is no direct connection between Spain’s border controls and the estado de alarma, nor will there be one with the New Normal legislation. Spain will lift its border restrictions on 1 July with details still to be confirmed about who will be allowed in and when. What this Decree does do, however, is impose the requirement on Aena, as the national airport coordinator, to carry out health checks on all those arriving on international flights. The details of this arrangement are still being fleshed out between Aena itself and Sanidad (Spain), and will include considerations of methods and procedures, rights and obligations, etc. Similar requirements are imposed on the Ports Authorities for maritime traffic.
Updated 9 June: The measures for the new normal legislation were approved in Cabinet this morning. These will be published in the BOE in due course but for the moment, the Government confirms that for the foreseeable future, face masks will continue to be required as at present with fines of up to €100 for non-compliance. Cases of covid19 must be reported under their definition of notifiable disease, and Spain’s autonomous regions are required to continue providing data necessary for the central collation of information to monitor the outbreak. All suspected cases will be subject to a PCR or other diagnostic test within the shortest possible period.
Devolved powers are restored to the autonomous communities with the exception of measures relating to free movement at a national or international level. Control in those respects is held centrally by the national Government. In general respects, it will be the regions which decide when to leave phase 3 for the new normal according to their health and epidemiological criteria. Work places are required to provide an environment in which prevention and hygiene measures are in place, whether in respect of desk placements or shift arrangements, all in order to allow physical distancing and avoid crowds. These measures apply in commercial establishments, residential and social centres, as well as in the fields of hostelry and catering.
The new Law will also contain a series of provisions on health and operational controls at ports and airports, with sanitary controls required for international passengers. There will also be measures for transport operators to adapt their offer in line with what the Government sees as a gradual recuperation of demand, always with the object of assuring an appropriate level of service based on health measures imposed to avoid the risk of covid19 contagion. These measures will be detailed in the legislation but will include the obligation for transport operators to keep passenger contact information for a minimum of four weeks and make it available when required by the public health authorities, in order to carry out contact tracing if necessary.
As soon as the Law is published I’ll add further details and provide a link to the publication.
Updated 8 June: Although phase 3 regulations allow nightclubs and discos to reopen, the Canarian Government has announced today that they will in fact still be kept closed. the regional authorities have the power to impose more restrictive measures than those set out in national legislation. As anticipated, however, Canarian President Torres has also announced today that we can now travel freely within the Canaries as a whole, but passengers coming in from outside the region will be required to make a declaration of purpose of travel, which must be for the exceptions noted in the estado de alarma if the traveller is not a Spanish national or legal resident. In addition, all travellers in the region regardless of where their journey started will have to undergo a temperature test: those coming into the Canaries from outside the region will be tested at airports or ports of arrival, whereas those travelling within the Canaries will be tested at departure points before boarding. The testing will be by thermographic cameras where available or, in their absence, by specific teams from the DGSE (Canarian Security & Emergencies Board).
Updated 7 June: Following the usual weekly Zoom conference between Pedro Sánchez and the Presidents of all the Autonomous Communities in Spain, Canarian President Ángel Torres has said that the islands are far better off now than even just a week ago, with 87.61% of covid19 patients now recovered. “These are data that invite optimism”, Torres said, adding that from tomorrow 52% of Spain will be in phase 3 including all the Canaries. Torres will of course be in far more control of matters here in these islands from tomorrow because in the final fortnight of the estado de alarma very much more power has been restored to the regional Governments. Torres said that he will be making announcements in coming days on specific health protocols which will be coordinated with central Government, always following health criteria.
Over coming days, therefore, we can anticipate announcements on protocols relating to the resumption of education in the autumn, on public spaces like stadiums, and on the arrival on pateras and cayucos during a health emergency. In this last respect, all are tested for covid19 before being processed and sent to migrant detention centres, and one of the occupants on a craft which recently arrived at Lanzarote has tested positive. Torres said the main concern in this respect was that this is high season for such crossings to attempt to reach western Europe and the routes have clearly changed, bringing the Canaries back into focus. The Canarian President also referred to the flight which arrived recently in Lanzarote from Madrid carrying a passenger who had tested positive for covid19; Torres confirmed that other passengers in a zone around his seat had all been tested, all with negative results.
For his part, Pedro Sánchez said that covid19 is still circulating, and the threat of a second wave was a risk that we have to avoid at all costs. The Spanish PM confirmed that this Tuesday Cabinet will approve a Real Decreto with the rules we will have to follow as our new normal once the estado de alarma comes to an end in order to prevent new outbreaks and keep the virus at bay until a vaccine is developed or a guaranteed treatment becomes available. Meanwhile, as of today the Army is bringing to a close its supportive operative in the Canaries since all security forces, including the Army itself, say that it is no longer considered necessary. The Defence Ministry will continue working within the framework of Operación Balmis in the fight against covid19 with a contingent of 446 in 11 different localities, as well as 254 military medical personnel.
Updated 6 June: The Government has published in the BOE the regulations that will be in place for Phase 3, the phase Tenerife will be in from this Monday 8 June. The main measures have already been set out because they’ve been in application for the last fortnight in La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa, and now there are one or two additional measures. The main points as applicable to Tenerife from Monday are detailed at the top of the page.
The most obvious change, perhaps, is that there are no longer any time slots for walking or exercise. We are now free to go wherever and whenever we want for any reason within the general public health safety regulations in place. Also discos and nightclubs may open but to the disappointment of many will be a shadow of their former self, at least for the time being, since no dancing will be allowed: any dance floors may only be used to allow tables to be spread out so that their capacity, already limited, may be physically distanced as required.
The matter of face masks, which some see as controversial, is not related to any particular phase but is rather a public health measure which will extend beyond the end of the estado de alarma. It will form part of the legislation to be unveiled on Tuesday to see Spain through from the end of the estado de alarma to whenever a vaccine is developed or a sure treatment for covid19 becomes available.
Finally, as far as I can see, there is no relaxation of the rules relating to travel between provinces: the Guardia Civil, indeed, have today explicitly said that we may still only travel within our own province. For Tenerife, that means we may go anywhere within the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, ie to La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Palma, but not the eastern province of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, ie Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and La Graciosa. There had been a suggestion that rules could be relaxed to allow travel between provinces within an autonomous community like the Canary Islands. Of course, from Monday, very much more power is ceded to the autonomous regions so this is perhaps a development we may hear about from Canarian President Ángel Torres in due course.
I would just remind everyone that the issue of Spain’s borders is not related either to a de-escalation Phase or the estado de alarma as such. It is a separate measure, and so although the state of emergency now definitively comes to an end at 00.00h 21 June (as also published today in the BOE), Spain’s borders are closed until 1 July. This month will see the development throughout Spain and indeed the EU of new rules that will apply henceforth, but until the end of June, no-one may enter the country except Spanish passport holders and legal residents, i.e. those who have their green Certificado de Registro with them (exceptions apply to a few others like diplomats), and all arrivals must undergo quarantine at home for a fortnight.
Updated 5 June: The Spanish Government has confirmed that from this Monday 8 June Tenerife and all the Canaries will be in Phase 3 of the de-escalation process within the framework of the estado de alarma. This will see the vast majority of Spain in Phase 3, with only Castilla y León, Madrid and parts of Cataluña and Valencia moving into or remaining in Phase 2. We will see the detail of what this means for us here as soon as the measure is officially published. The Government also confirmed that following Congress’ recent approval of the final extension the Spanish Cabinet has this morning approved the decree which will shortly appear in the BOE bringing the state of emergency to an end at 00.00h 21 June.
In respect of border controls, Pedro Sánchez himself has confirmed this morning that he views the lifting of border controls as something that must be carried out in a coordinated manner for the whole EU, and on the basis of common and transparent criteria. The PM says that he has sent a joint letter, along with Italian premier Giuseppe Conte, to the EU Commission to ensure that the transition to the New Normal in Europe is secure. This ties in with Industria’s comments yesterday that none of Spain’s borders will open until 1 July and even then visiting rights will probably be staged with the first allowed in being nationals of EU countries at no worse a stage of the outbreak. Industria confirmed that although this was an issue aligned with the estado de alarma there was no automatic link between the two, and so border restrictions or closures were independent of and could be extended beyond the end of the state of emergency.
Spanish Turismo minister Reyes Maroto has indeed already confirmed that she has held discussions with British tour operators and told them that the country’s data must improve before British holidaymakers will be allowed in, but here in the Canaries regional authorities are already looking at ways in which this can be done safely – finger-prick testing, health passports, safe corridors are all being considered – within the gradual reintroduction of tourism that is planned, and for those who are allowed to return to Spain at any point.
Updated 6pm, 3/6: Congress has approved the Government’s request for a final extension of the estado de alarma to 00.00h 21 June. Pedro Sánchez has thanked all those who have facilitated the measure and previous extensions for their support and contribution both to public health and to saving lives. The PM said that the risk is no less in this final stage and that we need to maintain caution. As he has already announced, in any case, the end of the four phases 0-3 will be followed by new legislation with measures applicable to the new normal.
Updated 3 June: Congress will almost certainly approve the last extension of the estado de alarma today. The debate started this morning and appears to have all the necessary support that Sánchez said the other day that he believed he had, and in fact is hoping for an absolute majority for the measure. The PM also said that new legislation will be approved by Cabinet next Tuesday to be presented to Congress to legislate for the conditions that will apply in the “new normal” once the state of emergency has been lifted on 21 June to ensure that the ongoing outbreak is dealt with to ensure prevention, containment and coordination throughout the various regions of Spain until either a vaccine is developed or a guaranteed treatment has been approved.
Updated 10pm, 31/5: El Hierro, La Gomera and La Graciosa are in Phase 3 as from tomorrow, Monday 1 June. The Order has been published in the BOE HERE, and Canarian President Ángel Torres has also requested that the rest of the Canaries be allowed to move into Phase 3 from next Monday. Of course, after what Pedro Sánchez said today, if he can get his extension passed this coming week for the last fortnight of the estado de alarma such decisions would be devolved to the regions anyway and so would be in Torres’ own gift. This suggests that in one week’s time, we in Tenerife will be following these three islands into Phase 3 ourselves.
I’ll just say while I’m posting this that today, the Guardia Civil were called out by National Park rangers to the Parador and Los Roques area of the Teide caldera to deal with visitors who were not complying with physical distancing, nor wearing masks, and who were in numbers that could do nothing other than form crowds, all factors that are disallowed in Phase 2 of the de-escalation. Police say that they dispersed the crowds, and so there are two points to be made: first that we are still under restrictions as I’ve enumerated at the top of the page, and secondly that the police are right on this, and although they haven’t confirmed any action which might have been taken, we can be in no doubt that they have the powers and aren’t afraid to use them.
Updated 2pm, 31/5: Pedro Sánchez has announced that he will ask Congress for a final fortnight’s extension of the state of emergency. The sixth extension and last 15 days of the estado de alarma, Sánchez says, will be the lightest yet and will give the regional Governments virtually full control of the measures to be imposed in their de-escalation, the national Government retaining control only in respect of freedom of movement. The final stage, if approved by Congress, will run from 8 to 21 June, the point at which Spain will then embark on its new normality. Sánchez will have a battle to get the extension through Congress but says that he believes he has the agreements in place to provide enough support to get the measure passed.
Updated 1pm, 31/5: Only a couple of days ago, Canarian tourism minister Yaiza Castilla played down expectations over the resumption of full-throttle tourism in the Canaries (10.30am 29/5 update below), and now national tourism minister Reyes Maroto has addressed the matter specifically of British visitors. Maroto said in an interview with press agency EFE that although the UK was a major market, perhaps the main one, for visitors, the Government needed to be sure that a country didn’t have worse figures or wasn’t in a different stage of an outbreak before its nationals were allowed into Spain.
Maroto explained that she has spoken with various tour operators and advised them that the data must improve before British holidaymakers will be allowed in because Spain must be certain that people can come in, and return home, in good health, maximizing safety for all. She added that the British Government itself was not yet recommending foreign travel in any case.
The minister said that the government is working on projects for what she called safe corridors, so that nearer July some autonomous communities might be able to receive foreign visitors: she identified German and Scandinavian countries as among the likelier candidates but stressed that nothing was in place yet in terms of Spain reopening its borders to international tourism.
Updated 31 May: The Guardia Civil have reminded the public that under phase 2 we can go anywhere within Tenerife and indeed the entire western province for justifiable reasons only. This does not mean “only essentials” but there must “be a reason”. This means, police say, that we can’t just go out for a drive for the sake of it: this will become possible at some stage, but not yet in phase 2. The Guardia Civil also reminds people that social groups are allowed of up to 15 people in venues or each others’ houses but physical distancing is still required, as are hygiene precautions such as face masks, hand washing, disinfection, etc., where the social group is from different households.
Updated 10.30am, 29/5: Canarian tourism minister Yaiza Castilla has said that although expectations inevitably rose once Pedro Sánchez said borders would be reopening to tourism from 1 July, its restart in the islands will be a much slower process than people seem to think. As I’ve already said in a futile attempt to manage expectations, Sánchez’ “announcement” was a statement of desire as much as intent, and along with it he called for a national debate next month on how tourism could be reactivated throughout Spain. In the Canaries, in any case, regional President Torres has consistently sounded a cautious note, indicating that international tourism may not even start in these islands before September, if then. None of this has been focused on by the majority of media, however, who have reported little other than Sánchez words, and in a way that indicated Spain’s borders would be thrown open to all and sundry from the end of next month.
Castilla said that many factors other than health security were involved in reopening the Canaries to tourists from outside of Spain, not least the economic hit of the covid19 pandemic, which has affected many people’s ability to afford holidays. There are also considerations beyond the control of Spain itself, with various countries’ border control decisions and flight availability potentially impacting visitors’ ability to travel. Castilla, taking part on behalf of the Canaries in Sánchez interterritorial conference about how to restart tourism in Spain, has effectively confirmed what I’ve been trying to caution for several weeks now: international tourism to the Canaries will not be restarting any time soon, and when it does it will be slow. If we have anything even approaching a normal winter season this year I think we will be able to consider ourselves very fortunate … from an economic and tourism perspective. From a health perspective, some might prefer to wait even longer.
Updated 29 May: The system for registration of foreigners resident in Spain, a legal requirement for all who come to live here within three months of arrival in the country, has been restarted with appointments available from Tuesday 2 June. Diana McGowan explains that British Nationals will only be able to register and acquire their green Certificado de Registro at the Extranjeria in Calle La Marina, Santa Cruz: appointments are required and are in slots between 9am and 1.30pm Monday to Friday. Appointments can be made online HERE, but Diana advises that places are limited.
Updated 28 May: La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa will move into phase 3 this coming Monday, 1 June. Tenerife and the rest of the Canaries will naturally remain in phase 2.
Updated 5pm, 26/5: The Tenerife Cabildo has issued its rules for use of the mountains now that the forest fire alert has been lifted, and explains that although the area is open to the public, use is subject to restrictions imposed as part of phase 2 of the de-escalation process. As such, camping zones, recreational areas, and visitor centres will remain closed for the time being, but walking and other sporting activities can be undertaken individually or in groups up to 20, always respecting physical distancing requirements, and only when organized through active tourism clubs, sporting associations, official authorities, or registered businesses or individuals. The Cabildo says that although the forest fire alert has been lifted, conditions are still critical because of high temperatures and so the public should take the utmost care to leave the area safe and as found.
Updated 26 May: I don’t know what’s been published in the British press but I’ve had a rush of enquiries about people assuming they can come back from 1 July. Clearly the impression is out there that Spain’s borders are going to be open again from then to all comers, and without quarantine. The last bit is almost certainly right: the Government has said that it plans to remove the quarantine requirement for all arrivals after 1 July. The rest is not.
Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez has said that he wants Spain to open up to international tourism from 1 July, and for that reason he wants an interterritorial conference to take place next month with tourism authorities from around Spain contributing thoughts and ideas to help the country plan its return as an international tourist destination from 1 July. That is all the information there is at present.
In my opinion, no-one should book flights, even if they can find them, on this basis. There is no guarantee whatsoever that tourism will actually restart on 1 July, nor what form it will take, nor whether there will be any restrictions imposed on certain countries nor what criteria might be in place to determine whether restrictions should be imposed. Others might think differently, and go ahead and book their tickets, but please do so in the full knowledge that we have no idea of what will happen other than, I repeat, Sánchez wants international tourism to restart from 1 July and the country will debate the whole issue through next month to decide what, when, where, if and how.
Updated 25 May: This is lovely! As the Canaries and much of Spain moves into Phase 2, PM Pedro Sánchez has released the following video. He says we’re doing this! Thanks to the effort and responsibility of everyone we’ve managed to get this far. It’s you who’ve pushed the virus back and put Spain securely on the road to its new normality. As the video says, you’re stronger than you knew, and now you do know it!
Lo estamos consiguiendo. Gracias al esfuerzo y responsabilidad de todas y todos hemos llegado hasta aquí. Sois vosotros los que habéis hecho retroceder al virus.
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) May 25, 2020
Updated 24 May: I would like to address the issue of walks for the over-70s and groups considered vulnerable because although I have been the first to complain about everyone being “confused” about completely straightforward rules – at least in terms of the famous British common sense – I myself now find one rule that appears “confusing”.
The confusion arises because the order publishing the relaxation measures for phase 2 a week or so ago established that anyone up to the age of 70 could carry out their sport or physical exercise at any time, without time slots, except for those reserved for the 70+s. These hours we will remember are 10am-12 noon and 7-8pm. We will also recall that the regions were given the right to adapt these time slots by a couple of hours should they be in areas which became too hot in those original slots.
So far so clear. Then on Wednesday, national Health Secretary Salvador Illa said in his weekly appearance in Congress’ Health Committee that all time slots would be eliminated in phase 2, and that even further relaxation measures would be added to those originally envisaged because of the positive way the outbreak was evolving.
Within a few hours of that, director of the Spanish Health Alerts & Emergencies Coordination Centre Fernando Simón seemed to attempt to clarify by saying that time slots were indeed eliminated except for those relating to the 70+s and those considered vulnerable. In their cases, he said, regional authorities and/or ayuntamientos would determine what the times would be: “si bien deberán ser las Comunidades Autónomas o ayuntamientos los que las delimiten”.
To round off his comments, Simón said that the Government was working on a new ministerial Order that would correlate all the various requests from Spain’s regions in an attempt to find a consensus on the matter. It seems to me, therefore, that there remains no clarity on the matter of walks for the 70+s, with an actual BOE-published Order saying time slots remain for them superseded by confirmation of their elimination by the Minister of Health himself – now in complete control of Spain’s covid19 response, countered by the Emergencies Centre Director with “it’s up to the regions”.
We must hope that Simón’s promise of a Ministerial Order clarifying the matter will be realised soon, but for the moment, for me, Illa’s comments are crystal clear and he is the ultimate authority. If there is a new Order stating time slots remain or an announcement by the Canarian Government on the matter for us regionally, I’ll post it of course.
*In terms of the elderly, those who wish to visit an elderly person in a residencial home will not be able to in the Canaries even though nationally it’s allowed in phase 2. The Canarian Government has chosen to maintain the restriction in this respect in the region, something they’re able to do – they can be more restrictive than the national measures, but not less so.* (** edited 25 May)
Updated 23 May: When Tenerife moves into Phase 2 on Monday along with 47% of the rest of the country, various aspects of life will become more flexible. Beaches are opening up, with many councils now making announcements about social distancing still being required, which beaches are conditioned for swimmers, which for recreational or sporting use: there are so many variations that it would be a hopeless task to try to correlate them all here, and indeed the slightest change in any of the municipal regulations would need to be amended in the post and that would require constant monitoring – it is unachievable. Anyone who wants information about a beach, therefore, will need to check with their local ayuntamiento to see what rules are in place for which beaches locally.
As far as swimming in communal pools is concerned, this was never anticipated for phase 2, and indeed has not been explicitly covered by the measure. Community pools may not reopen *unless they can comply with the strict measures in place HERE – something that the association of administrators has said most will be unable to do* (** edited 24 May). A community administrator will be able to explain why in detail though Clio and I have covered the reasons for this in one of the recent podcasts. Public swimming pools in towns will be open for the public but under strict limitations: the management of each will advise on the regulations and incorporate any additional measures required by any given local ayuntamiento.
Time slots for walks are totally eliminated including that for the over-70s which was originally going to be kept in place: *this is a developing situation with the BOE-published legislation maintaining time slots for the 70+s but with the Government saying changes will be announced soon* (** edited 24 May). Children will no longer be limited to groups of three with one adult for walks but those walking together must be from the same household. People will be able to get together in social groups of up to 15 instead of 10, but the restrictions on staying within a province remain. Similarly the number in groups practising “active tourism” or hiking in nature, and the like, is increased to 20 but must still be under the auspices of organized tourism businesses.
Diners will be able to eat inside restaurants and bars, but with clear physical distance and hygiene requirements as well as capacity restrictions. Nightclubs and discos remain closed, however. Commercial centres will be able to reopen with clear limitations on locales being allowed to trade (only those under 400 m2 or if larger then 400m2 must be cordoned off for use), numbers entering (40%), and use of communal areas (only for transit, not use): clear requirements for hygiene and physical distancing will also be employed, with signs placed to advise the public about what they can and can’t do. Shops under 400m2 which cannot allow a 2m physical distance may only allow one shopper in at a time, and must offer preferential times for the over-65s. The public is instructed that the shops are not open for them to browse, but for them to get in, get what they need, and get straight out again.
Tráfico has confirmed that driving lessons and exams will resume from Monday, again with clear hygiene and physical distancing requirements which driving instructors and examiners will know about officially. Tráfico also says that regional Jefaturas will reopen to the public for procedures but with prior appointment only. Building works will be able to resume in occupied buildings provided hygiene and physical distancing measures can be maintained.
The PM has stressed that although Spain seems to be opening up, it simply reflects the ground gained against the virus which is still around. We have to comply with the restrictions and limitations of the de-escalation phases because we’re still in a health emergency, and must proceed with caution and responsibility.
On a more general level, Sánchez has announced that the main Spanish football season will resume next month, and that tourism will resume in July. There are no further details at present as to what restrictions might apply, such as spectator limitations for football, nor what restrictions might apply to the international visitors Sánchez is anticipating. All that can be said right now is that Sánchez has encouraged Spaniards to organize staycations for this summer.
No doubt this will all become clearer in coming weeks when we will also see how the de-escalation is going, and whether we get a second wave of the pandemic or not. One other thing that will be clearer, and next week too, is a promise of information about what’s been touted as a “universal income” but which Sánchez calls an ingreso mínimo vital – a minimum living wage. Meanwhile, face masks remain compulsory on public transport, and in any public space indoors or out where 2m physical distancing cannot be maintained, and anyone who can get into the country must go into quarantine for a fortnight immediately on arrival.
Finally, Sánchez has announced an official period of mourning from Tuesday for all those whose lives were taken by covid19. The official luto will be for ten days, the longest official mourning period ever held in Spain.
Updated 1.30pm, 22/5: Tenerife, along with Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Palma will indeed move into Phase 2 from Monday. More detail later.
Updated 22 May: The national Government has announced that those municipios with under 10,000 residents which are still in Phases 0 and 1 will no longer have any time slots for adult exercise and children’s walks nor a limit of three children together with one adult, provided the group comprises only those who are members of one household. They will not, either, have to remain within 1km of home, but will be able to go out within 5km of home even if that crosses a municipal boundary, provided that the neighbouring municipio is also a lower population one in either Phase 0 or 1.
These smaller municipalities in Phases 0 and 1 may now also allow catering establishments other than discos and nightclubs to reopen for consumption on the premises. The Order has been published HERE in the BOE, and comes into effect today, the result, Sanidad explains, not only of the de-escalation going well but because more and more information and results are available to assist decision makers. The Government is therefore able to make decisions in real time, but Tenerife is of course hoping anyway to move into Phase 2 from Monday, with the formal request already made by the regional Government and an announcement expected over this weekend.
Updated 10pm, 20/5: Congress has approved a fifth extension of the estado de alarma for a fortnight. The state of emergency therefore now runs to 00.00h 7 June. The extension will appear in the BOE in the near future.
Updated 20 May: The regulation concerning face masks has now been published in the BOE HERE. It requires us to wear a face mask from tomorrow in all public spaces, open and closed and including streets, wherever a 2m physical distance cannot be maintained, and as before on public transport at all times. Any type of mask will be accepted but would ideally be an hygenic or surgical one, and one in any case that covers the nose and mouth. The rules come into force tomorrow 21 May and apply to anyone 6 years of age and over with the exception of those who have medical reasons not to wear one (respiratory conditions, practical problems because of disability etc), or are carrying out activities, sporting or in the workplace, where wearing a mask would be incompatible with the activity, or are in a situation of compelling need.
Updated 19 May: The Spanish Government will after all ask Congress to approve just a fortnight’s further extension of the estado de alarma after it proved just too difficult to get a consensus for the full month that Sánchez wanted. Given that desire, this is likely not to be the last fortnight, but it does appear that the Government has the numbers now for a successful vote extending the state of emergency to 00.00h 7 June. Congress is likely to debate the issue tomorrow so we won’t have long to wait to find out.
Meanwhile, although we’re still waiting final confirmation of the published measures that are to come into force regarding face masks, national Health Secretary Salvador Illa said today that it will be obligatory to wear one not just on public transport, as is currently required anyway, but also in any closed spaces and in open spaces in public where 2m physical distancing can’t be guaranteed. The measure will come into force once it’s published in the BOE, again likely to be tomorrow or very soon thereafter.
Updated 18 May: And so La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa are now in Phase 2 while Tenerife and the rest of the Canaries remain in Phase 1 … for now. Regional President Torres has, however, formally asked Madrid to allow the whole region now to be in phase 2, and since each phase is anticipated to last a fortnight we could expect to move forward to phase 2 next Monday anyway. Meanwhile, even in phase 1, hunting and sport and recreational fishing has been reintroduced from today, something I’ve had a surprising number of queries about.
Also, as of yesterday we now know that there will be an announcement shortly making face masks compulsory in more situations than just public transport. The details are to follow soon, the national Government says, but confirms that the measure is in response to requests from the regions, rather than an imposition from central Government. The measure will come into force when the announcement is made, and is not in force at present when the only compulsion is for face masks on public transport and in private cars where the occupants are not members of the same household.
Updated 17 May: With La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa moving tomorrow into Phase 2, Pedro Sánchez has announced today that the freedom from time slots for walking and exercising that has been enjoyed by municipalities of fewer than 5,000 residents will now be extended to those of fewer than 10,000. These residents will be able to go out within 1km of their home within the same municipality at any time between 6am and 11pm. The original list of municipalities in Tenerife was Vilaflor, El Tanque, Fasnia, Los Silos, Buenavista del Norte, San Juan de la Rambla, and Garachico. To these are now added Arafo, Arico, La Guancha, La Matanza, El Sauzal, and La Victoria.
Updated 4pm, 16/5: There is much excitement today about “new rules” supposedly introduced yesterday banning international flights into Spain. In fact, a ministerial order published on Tuesday and which came into force yesterday restricted entry into Spain via borders that are internal to the Schengen Area. This alters nothing for British travellers coming into Spain from the UK since they are crossing an external Schengen border to do so, and so were already subject to restrictions which now apply to anyone coming into Spain from anywhere.
These restrictions on entry will already be familiar to everyone, namely only those who are Spanish nationals (and so have a Spanish passport), legal residents (and so have a Certificado de Registro), cross border workers (Gibraltar), diplomatic corps and healthcare professionals involved in the covid outbreak, importers of essential supplies, or those who can show compelling need to enter the country.
There has also been consternation about Tenerife not being on a list of airports where flights are allowed to land. This has now been confirmed not to be the case by both Tenerife President Pedro Martín and national Transport Minister José Luis Ábalos: the exclusion was either the result of an error, an omission, or a decision that has now been rescinded. Whatever the reason, it is now confirmed that TFS will receive flights but this will make little difference to British travellers who still need to be in possession of a Certificado de Registro (and carrying the original with them) before being allowed into the country.
All arrivals will also need to go into a fortnight’s quarantine upon arrival in their home here. Although some have thought it unenforceable, forms with details of the passenger and their legally registered address along with identifying details are completed before passengers clear the concourse and checks will subsequently be made to ensure compliance.
Updated 16 May: As I said in the 12 May update and mentioned in recent podcasts, Pedro Sánchez was planning to ask Congress for a further extension of a month or so to the estado de alarma when its current extension expires at 00.00h 24 May. Today he has confirmed that this is indeed what he will do, saying that the estado de alarma has benefited everyone, and that the road to combat the pandemic is the only one possible. We have to keep on this track, the PM argued, acting with prudence to recover spaces of mobility and activity, always sure to keep the virus at a distance.
With an eye no doubt to the coming battle in Congress to get his measures approved, Sánchez called again for unity, an effort from everyone to save jobs and businesses and to bring Spain closer to being able safely to reactivate the economy. He said that the figures are improving, clearly, but the virus has not gone away and its threat remains, and is real. Because of this we must all keep on following the recommendations of the health authorities, recommendations that have nothing to do with ideology or business but with public health. An interesting week beckons, then, in Congress …
Updated 15 May: I posted on Tuesday that the Canarian Government had formally asked the national Health Department to allow La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa to enter phase 2 because they complied with the conditions to move into the next phase, and this evening permission has been given. The islands, along with Formentera in the Balearic Islands will now enter Phase 2 this coming Monday 18 May. We will need to wait for the published details as to the measures which will be in force from then for them, but it’s obviously encouraging for Tenerife because they led the way into Phase 1 with the rest of the Canaries following closely behind.
Updated 14 May: Once again, the Tenerife Cabildo has emphasized that it is now the body that governs use of the Parque Nacional del Teide, and that the area is closed to the public. As the Cabildo said only two days ago, and I posted at the time, the national park, the mountains, hiking trails and forestry tracks, as well as camping sites and BBQ and recreational areas are closed. HERE are the rules in English from the Cabildo: since they were published, the only change is that active tourism and nature businesses can offer services and activities controlled through measures like restricted group sizes, physical distancing, hygiene procedures etc. These are the only means the public has of getting up into the hills at present, and registered active tourism organizers will know any relevant specific regulations.
Updated 11pm, 12/5: The Canarian Government has formally asked the national Health Department this evening to allow La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa, the islands which led Spain into Phase 1 on 4 May, to enter Phase 2 because they already now comply with the conditions to allow them to advance to the next stage of the de-escalation which would allow greater movement and commercial and cultural activity. Whether Sanidad allows the islands to start Phase 2 or not, the precise dates for changes to the current phases and the specific measures that they will entail will be confirmed in the order when it is published in the BOE.
Updated 4pm, 12/5: Evidently there is a widespread misconception that now we’re in Phase 1, everything is open again. It is not. And so the Tenerife Cabildo has felt obliged to remind the public that the national park, the mountains, hiking trails and forestry tracks, as well as camping sites and BBQ and recreational areas are closed.
Active tourism and nature businesses can offer services and activities but they are businesses which can be controlled through legal measures, such as being required to restrict sizes of groups, employ necessary measures like physical distancing and hygiene procedures. These are the only means the public has of getting up into the hills at present.
This is because we remain in a State of Emergency because we are only in Phase 1 of a de-escalation plan that has two more stages to go before we even approximate normality, whatever normality will look like at that point. Fernando Simón, director of the Spanish Health Alerts & Emergencies Coordination Centre, has said this afternoon that we have to be responsible, and careful, and fully aware that this virus is still around.
Phase 1 rules are detailed in “Updated 1pm, 9/5″ below.
Updated 1pm, 12/5: Clearly I need to clarify that this does NOT mean the borders are open to everyone provided they go into quarantine. I did not say that so I do not understand why it has been interpreted as that, but the situation remains as before because Spain remains in a state of emergency.
The ONLY change is that those who were permitted to return previously, i.e. Spanish nationals and legal residents, must now ALSO go into 14 days of quarantine after they return. Please understand that the following are all irrelevant to your right to enter Spain at present – I list them because they are all examples of reasons people give as to why they consider the rules do not apply to them:
- owning a property
- having a NIE
- being a regular swallow
- paying IBIs (rates)
- paying any other taxes
- going out to eat in local bars and restaurants when here
- doing shopping or spending money on anything else when here
Assuming you are British, the only questions you have to answer if you want to enter Spain are:
- have you registered with the police as a foreigner living in Spain and been given a green Certificado de Registro to prove your registration (any size, any date, with or without the word permanente on it)?
- have you got it with you?
Only if the answer to both those questions is yes will you be able to enter Spain. And when you do you will have to go into 14 days of quarantine in your own home here only going out for shopping, doctor, unputoffable needs, and wearing a face mask. If the answer to either of those questions is no, you will have to wait for further announcements as to when you will be permitted to enter the country.
Updated 12 May: Spain has introduced a 14-day quarantine on everyone entering the country from 15 May. The measure has already been in place for anyone being repatriated to Spain from Italy but from Friday will apply to all including Spanish nationals, who will have to remain at home and only go out for shopping, doctors, or for imperative reasons, and they are required to wear a face mask any time they go out during their quarantine. There are a few exceptions to the quarantine, as with previous measures, namely cross border workers (Gibraltar), medical personnel involved in the outbreak, essential supplies importers etc. At present the quarantine requirement ends at 00.00h 24 May with the end of the estado de alarma but could be extended along with it if a further extension is approved, and Sánchez has indicated he will ask for one lasting around a month, to the end of June or so. The Order has been published today in the BOE HERE.
Updated 6pm, 10/5: The Cabildo will reopen all the puntos limpios in Tenerife from tomorrow. Here they are, and the times they’ll be open (click to see full size).
Updated 10 May: HERE is the ministerial order governing transport, published today in the BOE. Any two people from the same household can go out together in a car, and as long as they live together they can sit anywhere in the car and indeed fill the car to its capacity. If they are not cohabitants, then passengers must sit as far apart as possible and no more than two per row of the vehicle, and must wear masks. The Policía Nacional confirm, however, that we still need a justifiable reason to be out and about, and so police can demand ID plus something to help them check your reason:
ten a mano tus documentos de identificación y ayúdanos a comprobar que tu desplazamiento está justificado. Trabajamos por tu seguridad y tu salud.
Updated 7pm, 9/5: Some local authorities are reopening their SAC offices to process administrative procedures. Granadilla is one of them, and they say that their offices will reopen to the public for “the most urgent needs of local residents”. Clearly anyone needing an urgent processing of a municipal procedure will need to check with their own Ayuntamiento as to what their policy is.
Updated 5pm, 9/5: One piece of additional information will please many, given the number of times it’s specifically asked about! It is that from Monday two people may go in a car together. Two people could previously go out in a car if for an imperative reason but now it is allowed for anyone without having to be a situation of emergency or caring for someone disabled, or the like. Moreover, those who live together can all go out in a car together – obviously only to the car’s capacity!
Updated 1pm, 9/5: And so Tenerife will be in Phase 1 from Monday morning. This means that the public may go anywhere within Tenerife, indeed within the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, provided that they comply with social distancing and hygiene measures, and do not do so in groups of more than ten. In addition:
- people should work from home wherever possible
- social contact is permitted for up to ten people (the limit doesn’t apply to those who share a household)
- all retail establishments and professional services offices of no more than 400 m2 may reopen to the public to 30% of their capacity and with a preferential timetable for service of the over 65s
- markets may reopen at the discretion of local councils, with priority for markets selling food and essentials. Those that are permitted to reopen must only do so to 25% of stall capacity and only allow in 30% of normal customer capacity
- open-air terraces may reopen for 50% of normal table capacity, with a maximum of 10 to a group, and where a minimum 2m social distancing is possible. Single-use table linen must be utilised, and self-service products and commonly used items like menus may not be provided
- libraries and museums may reopen with entry restricted to minimum capacity, and cultural events shows may take place with a maximum of 30 people allowed into a closed show, and 200 people if the show is outside. Ingress and egress will be staggered and complementary services such as cafeterias will not be open
- hotels and touristic establishments may reopen but communal areas must remain closed (and of course no international tourists can enter Tenerife at present because the estado de alarma only permits Spanish nationals and legal residents to enter the country with very few exceptions)
- active and nature tourism activities may resume for groups of up to ten, through a registered active tourism business and with prior arrangement where possible, but hunting and sport fishing remains banned
- churches may reopen to a third of their capacity with the congreation wearing face masks, the spaces must be disinfected beforehand. The use of blessed water or ritual ablutions, among other measures, will not be permitted
- chapels of rest may allow 15 people to gather at a time in the open air or 10 in an enclosed space, and funerals themselves may be attended by up to 15 people always complying with safety and hygiene measures
- car dealerships, vehicle inspection stations, and garden centres may reopen regardless of their size, though the public may only visit by appointment
- businesses that cannot or do not allow a 2m interpersonal safety distance such as hairdressers, beauticians, physiotherapy, etc, must none the less maintain a 2m distance between clients, and appropriate protective equipment must be used to ensure both client and worker are protected
- outdoor sports facilities, except for swimming pools and water parks, may reopen for individuals or pairs where the sport requires it, and assuming it is possible always to maintain 2m interpersonal distancing
- closed sports centres may reopen but only for individual practice plus one coach where needed. Visits must be by appointment and changing rooms and communal areas will remain closed
All establishments open to the public must be cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day, maintain adequate ventilation, and washing and disinfect work clothes daily. There are also limits on use of lifts and freight elevators, as well as toilets used by customers.
It is possible that the Canarian Government will change the hours for children to go out. This is something that is now in the gift of regional authorities, and is intended to allow hotter areas to permit children to go out at cooler times. This is something that is not yet in place in the Canaries but might happen. If it does, it will almost certainly affect the rest of the time slots.
No doubt information on this will be forthcoming in the next couple of days but until it does, time slots for walks and individual exercise remain as previously. It is important to understand that while we are allowed out, anywhere in Tenerife at any time to visit a shop or bar terrace that’s open, a walk with or without a companion or practising exercise alone must be done in the time slots as previously.
Updated 9 May: HERE is the BOE with the published legislation extending the estado de alarma which runs from midnight tonight until the end of 23 May (00.00h 24 May), and HERE is the BOE published order for Phase 1 regulations.
Updated 8 May: National Health Secretary Salvador Illa has confirmed this evening that Tenerife, along with Gran Canaria, La Palma, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, will be part of the 51% of Spain (see HERE) that passes to Phase 1 this Monday, 11 May. Illa confirmed that under phase 1, the public won’t be limited to their time slots for visiting shops, bars and restaurants that might open, however limited that opening might be, but walking and practising sports will continue to be governed by the time limits we’ve become accustomed to. Although this signifies a clear stage in the de-escalation process, it is still very restricted, with no transit beyond the islands, and the limitations on flights from the mainland will remain as in Phase 0.
Fernando Simón, director of the Spanish Health Alerts & Emergencies Coordination Centre, said that the evolution of the pandemic in the Canaries has been “spectacular”, one of the regions that complied with the regulations to a very high level. The Canaries is expected to remain in Phase 1 for a fortnight, with more details over this weekend when the regulations are published in the BOE as to the specific measures which are likely to include social gatherings of up to ten friends provided social distancing is practised, as well as the opening of bar and restaurant terraces to 50% capacity. Those cultural events which might be allowed can only open to 30% capacity.
Regional Health Minister Julio Pérez said that the permission to move to Phase 1 was testament to the technical and medical professionalism of the regional health system as well as to the exemplary behaviour of Canarian society at large. Pérez said he felt really proud of the health service here, with all its personnel at every level, showing the whole of Spain that it could have confidence in us. What happens from now on, he stressed, will depend both on how well we respect the new rules, and continue to abide by time slots where applicable, hygiene measures and social distancing.
Updated 6 May: Congress has approved the Government’s request for an extension to the estado de alarma until the end of 23 May (00.00h 24 May). The approval was expected despite much noise from the main opposition party, the Partido Popular, and smaller regional opposition parties like the Coalición Canaria, who have succeeded in getting some sweeteners such as an extension of the temporary redundancy protections for those in tourism employment in the islands.
The most that was going to happen, ultimately, was that a party would abstain rather than be seen to vote against a major public health measure which would have thrown the country into some degree of constitutional chaos had it been rejected, as speculated on in considerable depth over recent days in the media. In the end, as expected, abstention was the main way for the opposition parties to oppose without subjecting themselves to accusations of trying to torpedo health crisis measures brought in for the country’s safety, not a good look for any politician, and so the measure was passed with 178 votes in favour, 75 against and 97 abstensions.
And so we have a fourth extension of the State of Emergency, which is now in place to 23 May (00.00h 24 May), and so will continue to provide the framework within which the de-escalation process takes place. As we will all know now, Tenerife is in Phase 0 of this process, and hoping to enter Phase 1 in the next few days, possibly this coming Monday 11 May, when much of Spain is also expected to do so. Whenever that does happen, Pedro Sánchez has said that an official mourning period will also commence for those lost in the outbreak, a homage to those who sadly didn’t make it through to the time when Spain moves forward into its new normality.
Updated 4 May: The Spanish Government has confirmed this afternoon that Congress will be asked on Wednesday to approve a fourth extension of a fortnight to the estado de alarma. Transport minister José Luís Ábalos said that there is no reason now for the country to lower its guard, and that the state of emergency is the most effective way to deal with the virus outbreak. He called on opposition politicians to behave as responsibly in the interests of public health as the public itself has been so far, and he called on all of us too to continue behaving responsibly so as not to waste our efforts so far.
Updated 3 May: From tomorrow, as I posted yesterday, small businesses are allowed but not required to open under strict distancing rules, often by appointment only and with limitations on one customer to one staff member. The measure applies to shops up to 400m² in size, but any in commercial centres, as I posted below, won’t be able to open in Phase 1 let alone the Phase 0 we are currently in. Restaurants also have permission to do takeaways rather than just deliveries. Some councils have opened their coastline, not for swimming but for people out for a walk to do so on the beach, and while some others have permitted surfing none apparently allow swimming. Some councils too have extended their deadlines for municipal taxes while others have not.
The only thing that can be said with certainty right now is that Spain remains under an estado de alarma (State of Emergency) and that Tenerife is in Phase 0 of the de-escalation. This combination means that the country’s borders are closed to all except the ingress of Spanish nationals and legal residents (and a few other exceptions like diplomats) and the egress of those with urgent need to travel – it’s not a free to leave situation for anyone who just wants to go. We remain under lockdown with permission to leave home for the specific justifiable reasons (shopping, bank, work etc) and for a walk or some exercise once a day. Anyone out working has been required since 31 March to carry a certificate to justify their journey: the model for the certificate is in the annex to THIS piece of legislation: it should be signed by the worker’s employer; the self-employed can show evidence of their autonomo status as justifiable reason. Do also remember that from tomorrow, anyone using public transport for any reason must wear a face mask.
If anyone requires specific confirmations, whether about who is trading and where, or which beach is open for strolls, or which council has extended its payment window for car tax and which is still demanding payment on time … please check with the individual entity concerned, whether it’s a local ayuntamiento, or a hairdresser, or a restaurant, or whatever. All or most of them have their own websites these days, or at least a Facebook page, and most of those that are Spanish sites will have an English language option, and that will be the place for anyone to find out specific details.
Updated 6pm, 2/5: The Government has announced that from this Monday 4 May shops and business may reopen if they wish but only to allow one customer per staff member and often by appointment only. The businesses identified as having this permission, though not a requirement, to open are book sellers, ferreterias, and hairdressers. Restaurants, which are already allowed to serve the public for takeaway orders, may now allow food to be collected from their premises as well as taking orders for home deliveries.
Updated 4pm, 2/5: Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez has announced that from this Monday 4 May face masks will be obligatory on public transport. To facilitate compliance, the PM says, from Monday the Government will hand out 6 million masks in transport hubs and another 7 million to local authorities via FEMP, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces. A further 1.5 million masks will be distributed to Caritas, Cruz Roja, and Cermi, the Spanish Committee of Disabled People’s Representatives. And of course we can buy them in chemists too. During his briefing, Sánchez also confirmed that he will ask Congress on Wednesday for another fortnight’s extension of the estado de alarma.
Updated 2 May: And so, Phase 0 is underway and from today the situation is as follows (and I’ll copy and pin this to the top to be edited as the situation changes):
Tenerife, and indeed all Spain, is in a state of emergency. This means we may go out only for specific essentials like food shopping, doctor, work, etc., plus a walk or a bit of exercise as detailed below, and while keeping a 2m distance from others, and hand washing, etc. Under the State of Emergency (estado de alarma), all air and land borders are closed to all except Spanish nationals and legal residents (those in possession of, and carrying, a green Certificado de Registro), plus a few other exceptions like diplomats, cross-border workers, medical personnel involved in the outbreak
We are in Phase 0 of a four-phase de-escalation plan. From 2 May people may go out once a day as follows:
- adults and partners with whom they live can walk together within 1km of their home – or exercise alone (running, cycling etc) for any distance – always within their own municipality, between 6 and 10am, and 8 and 11pm.
- adults over 70 and those who need physical assistance can go out together within 1km of their home, and within their own municipio, between 10am and 12 noon, and 7 and 8pm. Someone over 70 can be accompanied by one person over 14 provided they live with them (that person would then be substituting their own time slot for that of the over-70)
- children under 14 in groups of no more than three can go out accompanied by one person over 14 that they live with, within 1 km of their home and within their own municipio, and for no more than one hour, between 12 noon and 7pm
- anyone in a municipality of fewer than 5,000 has no time slot restrictions and can go out within 1km of their home within the same municipality between 6am and 11pm. In Tenerife, these municipalities are Vilaflor, El Tanque, Fasnia, Los Silos, Buenavista del Norte, San Juan de la Rambla, and Garachico
- the situation on dog walking is unclear because it is not detailed in the law, but Government ministers have said that they may be taken on any walks that a person is taking, as well obviously as taking them out just to do their business when necessary. Since this is not specified in the actual law, however, it is conceivable that some police will enforce the original rule of out to do business only and not for longer walks.
Updated 10pm, 1/5: One further clarification, which I’ve also edited below, will please many who’ve asked about the rules concerning people over 70. They can go out accompanied by one other person provided they live with them and they can be any age over 14.
Updated 4pm, 1/5: I’ve edited the 7pm, 30/4 May update below which is the main section concerning the Phase 0 rules on walking and exercising. I’ve edited the original to avoid someone being misinformed by seeing the originally posted version of rules that have now been clarified. The edits concern:
- “municipalities”: yes it’s municipalities not towns;
- dog walking: they can be walked when people go out either to take them to do their business or while they are themselves walking or practising sport BUT the law, to which I’ve given a link, does not actually mention dogs, and that means that interpretation is down to any police officer that might stop someone as to how far from home they might be out and for how long;
- the hour-long window: this is now confirmed only to apply to children, not adults or those exercising. With regard to exercise, this is clarified as “cualquier deporte individual que no requiera contacto con terceros” – any individual sport that does not require third-person contact. Please note that people are allowed out once a day, and although not limited to one hour, are still limited to “a walk” or “an exercise” within the time slots allocated and within 1km of their home.
Updated 2pm, 1/5: El Pais has produced a tool for people to see where they can walk. The paper has an English edition and that version’s interactive map is HERE. Please be aware that it doesn’t recognize municipal boundaries so you can’t take the 1km radius as giving you permission to cross any such boundaries that exist in reality.
Updated 1 May: The ministerial order imposing the conditions under which one can carry out non-professional physical exercise out of doors during the health crisis, Orden SND/380/2020, de 30 de abril, is HERE. Below is a graphic of the rules issued by Spain’s Home Office, the Ministerio del Interior (click to see full size).
Updated 7pm, 30/4: Spanish Health Secretary Salvador Illa has now confirmed that from Saturday 2 May adults will be allowed out for walks alone or with a family member with whom they live, or alone to undertake individual exercise. Social distancing measures must apply and so no contact is possible with others encountered while out and about. Our freedom, moreover, will be subject to the following restrictions in most cases:
- as already in place for children, within certain hours adults and partners with whom they live are restricted to one excursion a day within 1km of their home, and if this is near a municipal border they must stay within their own municipality. The times they can do this are between 6 and 10am, and again between 8 and 11pm. If they are undertaking physical exercise (whether running, cycling, or skating) rather than walking they must be alone and there is no distance restriction but they must remain within their municipio. Neither walkers nor those practising sport have a time restriction within the time limits established.
- Adults over 70 and those who need carers or physical assistance will be able to do the same with their carer once a day for up to 1km within their municipio between 10am and 12 noon, and again between 7 and 8pm. There is no time restriction within the time limits established, and someone over 70 can go out accompanied by one person of any age above 14 provided they live with them,
- Children, to a maximum group of three, and accompanied by an adult with whom they live, are now restricted to the same distance, again within their own municipio, and they do keep their one hour time limit, but the hours in which they may go out are now between 12 noon and 7pm whereas they were previously 9am to 9pm.
I say that “freedom is subject to the restrictions in most cases” because in municipalities with a population of under 5,000, these time restrictions won’t apply, and so the public is considered not at risk of crowds and is therefore allowed to carry out these activities between 6am and 11pm, but again only within 1km of their homes. In Tenerife, according to the National Statistics Institute these are Vilaflor (1667), El Tanque (2763), Fasnia (2786), Los Silos (4693), Buenavista del Norte (4778), San Juan de la Rambla (4828), and Garachico (4871).
Please note that “municipalities” are areas with an Ayuntamiento – so Arona, Adeje, Guía de Isora, etc., not towns like Las Galletas or Callao Salvaje (for further information on how Spain is divided into municipalities, provinces, regions, etc., please see HERE). The law does actually also allow for other types of administrative area other than a municipality but in the Canaries the only area so defined is at Cabildo level, and Tenerife has over 5,000 inhabitants, so to all intents and purposes in the Canaries, the only administrative area that matters is a municipality.
When it comes to dogs, these can be walked as previously at any point whenever they need to be taken out to do their business or have a wee, whether or not it is the allocated time for their human to walk or practise sport.
In addition to the relaxation of personal restrictions, those with fincas will be able to manage them even if it involves crossing a municipal border, but only one person at a time may do so, though the usual exception applies to anyone caring for a child or someone for whom they provide care.
Social get-togethers won’t be approved until an area enters phase 1, and the first areas in the country to do that, from this coming Monday 4 May, will be La Gomera, El Hiero and La Graciosa in the Canaries, together with Formentera in the Balearics. The conditions under which these will be permitted have not yet been decided. The current measures have been decided and agreed after a day of governmental deliberations in technical committees and consultations with the regions.
Original post 30 April: I think it’s worth starting a new post separate to the covid post to trace what Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez has called the long road to the new normality. The country has a four-phase plan, confusingly enough going to Phase 3 because it starts in Phase 0.
This is where we are right now, and as part of Phase 0 a relaxation on adult restrictions will start on Saturday 2 May provided that the measures are approved, as is likely. The new measure will see adults able to go out in groups of family with whom they live for walks, or alone to do individual exercise. Police say that they are already gearing up to police our new freedom because we will still have to observe social distancing rules and, depending on what’s announced as confirmed rules, they may have to police groups to ensure limits, or time slots, or distances. The confirmation won’t take long in coming because national Health Secretary Salvador Illa will speak to press tonight to confirm the measures.
Phase 1 will see a further loosening of restrictions and will start in La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa (and Formentera in the Balearics) this coming Monday 4 May. The rest of Spain will have to wait until 11 May when any areas deemed safe at that point will be able to join Phase 1 as well – other areas not deemed safe then will have to continue to wait. The Spanish Government has put HERE the English version of its report on the latest measures, but as always it’s the Spanish version that’s most reliable and official and that confirms that these remain “plans” until approved.
Immediately below, too, are the actual plans with appendixes showing all the phases and proposed de-escation measures which are expected to last a fortnight each. The situation is fluid, though, and everything will be monitored so that no area of Spain moves into a phase before it’s safe for it to do so, and in case a lockdown needs to be reimposed in the event that there’s a resurgence of the outbreak.
For travellers, it’s important to note that the State of Emergency remains in place and so Spain’s borders remain closed at present. Only Spanish nationals and foreigners who are legal residents with (and carrying) green registration certificates may enter the country. Below is confirmation in English from the British Consul General to Spain, Lloyd Milen. Please also note that Sänchez has confirmed he will ask Congress for a third extension: this one currently ends at the end of 9 May so the next one, if approved,, will take us to the 23rd. While it is in place, all the usual measures still apply – eg one in a car unless someone must be taken somewhere in which case they sit in the back diagonally from the driver, going only to the supermarket, going to work, all the things we have become used to are still in place, and will remain in place until either it’s lifted or specific relaxations are announced.
Finally, to run through the proposed future phases of the de-escalation. Phase 1 will allow a partial reopening to the public of some businesses but not large commercial centres where crowds could gather. This phase will include the opening of hotels and tourist apartments though not communal areas. For the moment, there will be no movement between Spain’s provinces (parts of autonomous communities) nor between islands. The elderly – over 65s – will have a “timetable” to go to the shops but face masks are still not going to be required though they will be strongly recommended. Churches too will be able to open but only to 30% capacity.
Once conditions are deemed appropriate, Phase 2 will start allowing hostelry establishments to reopen to diners. Schools won’t reopen until September but will be able to offer a place to six-year-olds if parents have to work, and to students who need to complete university applications and exams. This second phase will also allow some small cultural events of up to 50 attendees; the same will apply to open-air events of up to 400 seated attendees, and cinemas and theatres – like churches, only up to 30% capacity.
Phase 3, when it’s deemed appropriate, is considered as an advanced phase of de-escalation, which will see churches, cinemas and theaters able to let 50% of their capacity in. It is at this point that those who have been encouraged or required to work from home may return to their workplaces.