CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus deescalation plan: Everything you need to know about the changes in Spain on Monday

Madrid, Barcelona and much of Castilla y León will remain in Phase 0 tomorrow, but some islands will be entering Phase 2

A street café in Gandía, Valencia earlier this week.
A street café in Gandía, Valencia earlier this week.Mònica Torres

The 45,000 residents of the four Spanish islands that are leading the way toward what the prime minister has dubbed “the new normality” will on Monday enter Phase 2 of Spain’s coronavirus deescalation plan. People living on the Balearic island of Formentera, and the Canary Islands of La Graciosa, La Gomera and El Hierro, will from tomorrow be able to take walks or exercise at any time of the day, apart from the timetables reserved for the over 70s: from 10am to 12pm, and from 7pm to 8pm. That’s according to the latest Official State Gazette (BOE), which was published late on Saturday night by the government, and that also loosens some of the restrictions for areas that are still in Phase 0 and Phase 1.

The Madrid region, Barcelona and a large part of Castilla y León are still in Phase 0, but from tomorrow stores and other businesses with premises measuring under 400 square meters will be able to open without customers needing to make an appointment beforehand, as was necessary until now. Capacity will, however, be limited to 30%. Education centers, universities and libraries will also reopen, while visits to museums will also be permitted. High-level sporting facilities will also open, but not open-air sports installations. Places of worship can reopen once more, but with a third of their capacity, while up to 15 people will be able to attend funeral wakes if they are outdoor, up to 10 if they are inside.

The rest of Spain is either already in Phase 1, or will move to this stage on Monday. The areas that will enter Phase 1 tomorrow are: the remaining areas of the Valencia region still on Phase 0, the remaining provinces in Castilla-La Mancha (Albacete, Ciudad Real and Toledo), and the remaining provinces in Andalusia (Granada and Málaga). Hunting and fishing will be permitted once more, and businesses with premises measuring over 400 square meters will also be able to reopen. Sales will be allowed in these establishments, but only if they can guarantee “that crowds will not be formed that impede keeping safe distances, excess capacity, or compromise the rest of the measures established in this order.”

Also under Phase 1, vehicle dealerships will be able to reopen, as well as ITV vehicle testing centers, as well as garden centers, whatever their size.

Phase 2

The BOE also details all of the measures included under Phase 2, the stage that the aforementioned islands will enter on Monday. The majority of territories currently in Phase 1 are likely to move to this phase in a week from now. In this stage, social meetings of up to 15 people are permitted, and shopping malls will be able to reopen, although the public will not be allowed in common or recreational areas. Capacity will be limited to 40%.

The number of stands permitted in open-air markets will also be raised, to a third of those usually authorized. As well as street cafés, which under Phase 1 were permitted to operate at 50% capacity, bars and restaurants will be able to open their indoor dining areas (apart from nightclubs and nighttime bars), with capacity limited to 40%.

Regions will be able to allow visits to a relative in supervised housing and residential homes for people with disabilities, provided that there are no confirmed coronavirus cases there and none of the residents are in quarantine. Hygiene and other safety measures will have to be observed.

Here is a full summary of the phases from Monday:

‘Phase 0.5’

Around 14 million people – in the Madrid region, the city of Barcelona and the majority of Castilla y León – will remain in Phase 0 this week, albeit with some relaxation of the conditions. In this phase, businesses with premises measuring below 400 square meters will be able to open without customers making a prior appointment, and respecting the corresponding safety measures. The regions will be able to decide whether or not to open social services – remote assistance is recommended where possible – and scientific installations such as university laboratories will be able to restart activity. Libraries will be able to lend books once more, and high-level sports facilities (indoor) can reopen too.

In what has been dubbed “Phase 0.5,” funeral wakes will be permitted with up to 10 people in attendance, if indoors, and up to 15 if outdoors. Mobility limitations will remain in place, meaning citizens can only go outside to work, shop, or take walks or other exercise. Street cafés will not be reopening, nor will social or family meetings be permitted.

Activities in Phase 1

The majority of Spaniards – 33 million citizens – will from Monday be in Phase 1 of the coronavirus deescalation plan. The principal activities during this stage, which were defined in another royal decree last week, are:

Mobility. Citizens can move around their province or island. All members of a family who live together can travel in a vehicle. People can travel to, and stay in, second residences if they are in the same province.

Business. Businesses with premises measuring under 400 square meters can open without customers having to make prior appointments. Establishments that are over 400 square meters can delimit an area within their premises to attend to customers. Shopping malls will remain closed. A timetable for the over-65s must be established.

Shows and cultural centers. Theaters, cinemas and museums will be able to open, limiting capacity to a third, with a maximum of 30 people at shows where the audience is seated. Libraries will open with the same conditions, but just for the lending and return of books.

Social meetings. Up to 10 people can meet, but observing social distancing and using masks, both in homes as well as in a public establishment, or during, for example, an excursion in the countryside. People in vulnerable groups, such as seniors or those with health conditions, are not excluded, provided they take adequate protection measures.

Bars and restaurants. Bars and restaurants are permitted to open their street cafés, limiting capacity to 50% and prioritizing single-use objects.

Places of worship. Churches and other places of worship can reopen at a third of their capacity. Objects must not be shared, and if praying takes place on the floor, each person must bring their own mat.

Sporting activities. Individual training sessions are permitted for elite and federated sports persons. Sports centers can open with prior appointment, with limited capacity to ensure social distancing. The use of locker rooms and showers is not allowed.

Education centers. Schools and other places of learning can open for essential tasks, such as maintenance.

Social-health centers. Remote assistance is given priority, but these centers can reopen if they need to offer attention in person

Walks and other exercise. The timetables remain in force, but as before, these are not applicable in areas with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants.

Tourist accommodation. Hotels and other tourist accommodation can reopen all of their rooms, but common areas cannot be used.

Street markets. Open-air markets are allowed with 25% of usual stands and a third of normal capacity.

Fishing and hunting. Both hunting and sports fishing can restart.

Activities in Phase 2

Social contact. The number of people who can meet for active and nature tourism activities is increased to 20, and congresses, business meetings and conferences are allowed provided there are no more than 50 attendees, with two-meter social distancing observed.

Mobility. Citizens are permitted to move freely within their province, island or territorial unit.

Shopping malls. Shopping malls can reopen, provided capacity is limited to 30% of common areas and 40% in each of the commercial premises located inside. Customers will not be allowed in common areas, apart from to move from one store to another.

Hostelry. Bars and restaurants can reopen their interior dining areas, apart from nightclubs and nighttime bars, provided capacity is limited to 40%. Dining inside can only take place sat at a table, or groups of tables, and preferably via prior appointment. Self-service at a bar is not permitted.

Hotels. The common areas of hotels and tourist accommodation can reopen their common areas, provided capacity is limited to a third.

Cinemas and theaters. All cinemas, theaters, auditoriums and similar spaces can reopen, provided that seats are pre-assigned and capacity is limited to a third.

Concerts. At open-air concerts, the public must be seated, observing social distancing, with capacity at a third and limited to 400 people.

Places of worship. Capacity will be limited to 50% in all places of worship.

Funeral wakes. These can take place in public or private installations, with a limit of 25 people when in the open air, and 15 people in closed spaces.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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