June is set to be a busy month in Spain, which plenty of new laws and regulations due to come into force before the summer season officially begins. Whether you’re living in Spain or simply visiting for a holiday, it’s likely that you’ll be affected by some of these changes.
From a plan to return to normality in a post-lockdown world to changes in your electricity rate, here is a full break down of everything you can expect to be updated in Spain this month:
The Covid Passports are Coming
They have been talked about a lot in the media, and covid passports to enable easier travel overseas are finally due to be introduced this month. We don’t know much about Spain’s covid passports yet, or how they will differ from the EU’s Green Digital Certificates, but we do know that they are expected to work together, and that they will both make travel between EU member states easier.
From 7th June Spain will take part in the pilot test for the EU’s Green Digital Certificate scheme, which will outline an individual's covid status as they arrive into a country. EU representatives are yet to confirm whether this system will be available to non-EU nationals who wish to travel to Spain, which is something Britons keen to enter Spain this summer would like more confirmation of.
International Tourists Will Start to Return
In conjunction with the launch of the covid passport scheme, we can expect to see international travellers slowly start to return to Spain this month. From 24th May, UK nationals were able to enter Spain without restrictions from the Spanish government (though Spain remains on the UK’s amber list of re-entry requirements) and from 7th June the Spanish Prime Minister has confirmed that all vaccinated tourists, no matter where they are travelling from, are free to return to the country. This contradicts the ban on non-essential travel for visitors from outside of the EU which has been extended until 30th June, but does mean that visitors will be returning by the end of the month. From 7th June, international cruise ships will also be able to visit Spain again; this is the first-time cruise ships will be allowed to dock in Spain since the pandemic began.
Whether the opening of the country means that tourists will return to Spain is yet to be seen, but we can certainly expect the numbers to increase as time goes on.
Vaccinations Continue at Speed
On the 1st June it was reported that 18 million people (38 percent of Spain’s population) had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and more than 9.2 million people (19.4 percent of the population) had received both doses. This is only set to gather speed and pace, with those aged between 40-49 the focus of vaccinators in June. The government's target of having vaccinated 70 percent of the population by late August should be met, and a huge delivery of the vaccines needed is expected to boost these figures this month.
Goodbye to Outdoor Facemasks?
Since May, authorities in many of Spain’s autonomous regions have been discussing removing the requirement that citizens wear facemasks whilst outdoors. Each of the regions have differing opinions on this debate, so when and how the facemask removal will be introduced is yet to be seen. But according to the country’s health emergencies coordinator Fernando Simón “I think it could be feasible to say that between mid-June and the end of June, or very probably at the beginning of July, the rule for mask in outdoor spaces will not be necessary anymore”.
ITV Test Changes
If you drive in Spain then you need to know that several changes to the ITV test came into force on 1st June. The new version of the test will now include a focus on more modern vehicle technology, and because the UK is no longer a member of the EU (something those living in Spain after Brexit know only too well) the regulations will also include a section on registering a vehicle from the UK in Spain. Before you take your vehicle for its next ITV test you should read through the changes in full, to ensure that your car won’t fall foul of any new rules and will still be considered roadworthy.
If your car fails the ITV test then you won’t be able to drive it until any issues are repaired; you then have to return it to the garage or ITV station to check the car again in less than two months. Failure to do so or driving without an ITV can result in four different fines, which can cost up to €500, so it is well worth ensuring your car is compliant before the test begins.
The ERTE Furlough Scheme has Been Extended
Because Spain is not yet fully open, and the economy continues to suffer as a result, the ERTE furlough scheme has been extended for a fifth time. This extension will run from 1st June to 30th September 2021. 600,000 workers are currently being supported by the scheme, which offers them around 70 percent of their original salaries while the companies they work for remain closed due to the coronavirus crisis.
If you’re receiving ERTE then the main change you need to be aware of in this fifth extension is that the rules around having to pay social security contributions during this period have changed. You can read more about the ERTE scheme and these changes here.
Changes to electricity rates
Regulation electricity costs have been frozen since 2018, but from 1st June, this freeze ends. Rather than the cost of transporting and distributing electricity being fixed, it will now be set by Spain’s National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC). So what does that mean in real terms? Effectively, It will become more expensive to use electricity in the first part of the day from 10am – 2pm and in the evenings from 6pm – 10pm from Monday to Friday. The average times are between 8am – 10am, 2pm – 6pm and 10pm – midnight. The cheapest times will be in the early mornings on weekdays and all day on Saturday, Sunday, as well as national holidays.
Time to hit the Shops!
Just like in 2020, the starting date for the summer sales has been brought forward in 2021, in a bit to stimulate business. The Inditex group brands (Zara, Stradivarius, Bershka, Uterqüe, Lefties, Pull & Bear, Oysho, Massimo Dutti and Zara Home) kicked off their sales season on June 25th in 2020 and it’s highly likely that this year they will repeat the strategy (June 23rd in online stores and June 24th in physical stores).
The Arrival of Summer
June 21st may be the official start of the summer season, but the weather doesn’t know that! During early June the temperatures in Spain often reach over 30 oC, with 2020 being the hottest June on record in the country. Whilst storms and a drop in temperature are forecast for the first couple of days of the month, beyond that you can expect things to be hot, hot, hot! Since 1975, there have been 10 heat waves in June in Spain, and five in the last decade: surely that means it’s the perfect time to pack a pack and start planning your next holiday?
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