Tonight Pedro Sanchez announced that the State of Alarm has just been extended in Spain until May 24th. This is the fourth time it has been extended (remember that Spain is timing the State of Alarm in 2 week periods unlike other countries).
What does the “State of Alarm” actually mean?
The State of Alarm allows the government to control the timing of relaxing lock down and to follow their de-escalation plan, which means a gradual relaxing of rules. If the State of Alarm was cancelled today, they could not restrict movement, crowds etc. As they said chaos could ensue.
Thus their de-esclation plan will still continue with the proposed phases, within the overall umbrella control given by the State of Alarm.
Will Bars and Restaurants still open next week? Can we drive to them together?
Many people think that as we are in a State of Alarm now until May 24th, then does that affect bars and restaurants opening, travelling in vehicles and time slots for exercise etc? The answer is not specifically no.
Everything stays the same. The planned relaxing of lockdown rules continues. Nothing has changed with regard to these issues because the State of Alarm was extended. As usual further clarification will be given by the government this weekend for the coming week with the full details. You will find more information about this on the facebook site “N332”.
What is the De-Escalation Plan?
The four phases are the de-escalation plan for Spain. The phases are the same in every region/area/territory of Spain, but will be implemented at different speeds depending on the virus. We are currently in phase 0.
The Murcia and Valencia regions governments have asked that they can enter Stage 1 from May 11th (next Monday). We have to wait to see if this is approved. We will probably hear just before the 11th. They have had to prove that virus numbers have reduced in these regions. We expect that the Spanish government will approve this.
What are the Four Phases?
Phase 0: Preparation and planning. Certain businesses will re-open with an appointment system. Restaurants will be able to prepare ‘takeaways’. Exercise and walks, with those who you live with, were allowed 2nd May, with staged time slots, etc. We have had this during this past week.
Phase 1: Open small businesses. There will be schedules/time slots for elderly. Terraces of bars/restaurants 50% capacity, always with sufficient social distances (at least 2 metres). Hotels and tourist accommodation can open (under certain measures, e.g. no common areas allowed open). Religious sites can open, always with sufficient social distances.
Phase 2: Inside of restaurants/bars can open (hoped to take place after 24th May), reduced capacity, social distancing, only table service. Schools will re-open in September for most students. Cinemas, theatres etc may open, 30% capacity, social distancing. Religious sites 50% capacity.
Phase 3: Easing of movement between different territories. Social distancing continues.
The final phase should end June 21st if all goes to plan.
What are the Rules Next Week?
Measures are changing week to week. The above phases are the general plan. The nitty-gritty detail of each phase and in which region are decided and detailed in a BOE (official government document). They are too detailed to post here. There are only a couple of places in English that you can find official information translated and posted, such as Murcia Today and the incredible and now famed N332 facebook site . Within the BOES are the specific details, and on the pages I mention the answers to many questions if you scroll down. The Costa Blanca People newspaper also have excellent information.
Where can I personally get Official Advice?
We have been inundated with specific requests for answers and apologise if we have not managed to get back to you as we are still answering all of your enquiries. If you are a business and are concerned about what you can and cannot do, you need to refer to your accountant/laboral people. If you are a private individual and wish to know about travelling to Spain, travel in cars etc, specific rules, please refer to the Citizens Advice Bureau Spain or to the N332 facebook page above. (They do not answer specific questions but you will find many people have posted the same queries).
Please contact us for all specific requirements that we can help you with. Legal, tax issues, Wills etc. Passing on your Spanish property to your children (the government have announced again today that raising taxes is imminent but we should have time to get a few more properties transferred to save inheritance tax). Also purchasing or selling property, as the work can be done on this, probates and Wills. (We have a waiting list for Spanish Wills, which really are essential if you have Spanish assets but you must be here in Spain). Also divorce and separation, our work on this goes on.
There are certain issues such as Residencias, NIEs, matters to do with town halls, suma etc that we need to wait before we can get back to you as we are waiting for those offices to announce they are re-opening.
These are terrible, surreal times, and our sympathy is with everyone who is suffering, and experiencing problems. If we can help, we will. Please contact us to let us know how we might help. And stay safe, wherever you are.