On Monday (18 May), around 32 million people in Spain, roughly 70% of the country’s population, awoke to eased coronavirus lockdown restrictions after having to respect strict lockdown measures since 14 March.
While the majority of Spain has progressed into ‘phase one’ of the government’s so-called “transition to new normality”, Madrid and Barcelona – the two worst-affected areas – and a patchwork of provinces in Castile and Leon, remain in preliminary phase zero. A few small Spanish islands, with a total population of 45,000, have already progressed to phase two of the four-stage de-escalation process.
The slight easing of restrictions comes after the entire nation spent almost two months in one of the most draconian lockdowns in the world, as people were only allowed to leave their houses for essentials such as food and medicine.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s government slightly eased phase zero rules for more than two-thirds of the country, allowing businesses smaller than 400 square metres to offer services without customers requiring a reservation and museums to partially reopen at limited capacity.
Those living in ‘phase one’ areas can also meet with friends and family in groups of up to ten and can dine and have drinks in outdoor restaurant spaces, which can open at one-third of their normal capacity.
The government’s de-escalation process has sparked tensions between the central and regional governments and it appears likely that the government could come up against tough opposition when it proposes to extend the state of alarm for one final month. (EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)