Just like the rest of Europe, everyday life in Spain has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Whether you live in Spain, have a holiday property in the country, or are just looking forward to getting back to the region for your two weeks in the sun, you’ve no doubt been watching the news closely for an update on when the country will return to some semblance of normality. The good news is that, on April 28th, the Spanish government outlined their four-stage de-escalation plan to gradually ease the current confinement, reopening the country and allowing Spanish life to return to normal.
To help you better understand the most up-to-date situation in Spain, here’s everything you need to know about the Corona Virus information and advice that is currently being shared with the public:
Understanding the Four Stages of De-escalation
Starting on the 4th May, Spain entered the first of their four proposed stages of de-escalation from the country Coronavirus lockdown that the country is experiencing. Although officials have not given a date for when each stage will be introduced, they have stated that each stage will last for at least two weeks.
During the first stage (known as phase zero) children are now allowed to spend an hour in the street to get some exercise and fresh air, and adults are also now allowed to take their daily exercise outside. Businesses that can accommodate individual customers by appointment are also allowed to open, as well as restaurants with takeaway services, provided the food and drink is taken away and not consumed on the premises. Finally, professional athletes can begin to train again, provided they do so individually.
During the next stage (phase one) restrictions will be loosened again. Whilst shopping centres will remain closed, small shops will be allowed to reopen, provided that strict safety and social distancing protocol can be met. Restaurants with outside terraces can also reopen, but they will be restricted to 30% capacity, and this same rule will apply to bars and hotels. Places of worship will also reopen, again, with a 30% capacity limit in place. The use of face masks at this stage will be ‘highly recommended’ for all individuals using public transport.
Phase two, also known as the intermediate phase, will allow catering facilities inside hotels to resume their services with specific criteria in place (such as reduced capacity and a large space between tables) and the one third capacity rule of thumb will also be applied to cinemas, theatres, auditoriums, exhibition sites, conference centres and monuments, which will all open at this stage. The capacity of places of worship will be increased to 50%.
For parents with young children keen to get their children back to school, the academic year is planned to start in September, but some childcare facilities and education centres could open earlier than this either to allow children to take their university entrance exams or in the circumstances that both parents are required to work.
Finally, in phase three, or the advanced phase, Spanish residents will have much more freedom of movement. Whilst they will still be expected to wear face masks when they are in public and on public transport, the capacity restrictions in restaurants will be increased. Shops will also have their capacity limits lifted to 50%, provided a distance of 2 meters can be maintained between people at all time.
Provided that the spread of the virus is controlled at each stage, the government hope that the country will have reached phase three, and a state of new normality, where people can begin to create new routines and get back to their everyday lives.
Can I Travel to Spain?
Airlines have now started to fly from the UK to mainland Spain. As a result of this, the Spanish government have implemented new policies which apply to foreign tourists, and which will be applied from the 15th May. All new international arrivals entering Spain, including Spanish nationals and residents, will be required to self-isolate in their residence or hotel for a period of 14 days. What’s more, once the 14 day period has passed, trips outside of your residence will be limited to only essential trips to supermarkets or pharmacies, and face masks or face coverings must be worn at all time when you are in any public area. Therefore, whilst it is more than possible to travel to Spain, trips for the purpose of tourism are being discouraged within the current guidelines. As the stages of de-escalation progress, these restrictions are likely to be lifted, meaning that within the next eight weeks, it is expected that tourism will become a more attractive proposition again.
Travelling in Spain
Until very recently, the ability to leave your home in Spain was heavily restricted. Under the first phases of the de-escalation, however, residents do have more freedom to move around. Urban and inter-regional transport services (i.e. coaches and trains) are operating at reduced levels. Travel to airports by road or rail to leave Spain is still permitted, but travellers may be asked to provide evidence that they are departing Spain (i.e. plane ticket). It is worth reiterating that in order to travel on public transport during the current Covid-19 crisis, you will be required to wear a face mask.
Life in Spain, just as across the rest of Europe, has changed and a ‘new normal’ situation is now in place. But that doesn’t mean that the country isn’t preparing, and ready, to welcome both tourists and second home owners, back to the country this summer.
Are you thinking of buying your own holiday home in Spain? Ready to turn your dream of living overseas into a reality? Why not get in touch with our local property experts today. They’re ready to help you!