27 common questions, and their answers, that the announcement of the de-escalation phases by COVID-19 in Spain has left us
The Government of Spain recently announced the gradual de-escalation plan to resume normality in this global pandemic. Given the proposals launched, many doubts and nuances arise that must be highlighted. We have tried to answer all these questions.
A small summary of the de-escalation plan
As our Magnet colleagues told us, the de-escalation plan begins with phase 0 on May 4, the first of four that will evolve according to the figures associated with the disease. In this phase 0, or preparatory, which affects almost all the provinces (with the exception of some islands), children are allowed to go out for one hour, individual walks, opening of venues by appointment and sports activities.
If all goes well, from May 10 it is expected to enter phase 1 in which the small business will be opened with security measures and with preferential hours for the elderly. Terraces, hotels and tourist accommodation will also be opened with various restrictions, and worship facilities may be opened to a third of capacity. In phase 2, expected from May 26 (but with a variable date), the interior space of the restaurant premises can be opened with a third of the capacity, only for table service and with protective measures such as partitions.
Educational centers will be reopened, but only for some activities, and some leisure occupations such as fishing, cinemas, theaters and similar spaces will be resumed, always with limited capacity. The exhibition, conference and cultural shows rooms of less than 50 people will also open their doors. Phase 3, starting June 10, will make general mobility and the commercial sphere more flexible. In the restoration, the aforementioned restrictions will be limited but certain protection measures will continue to be requested. The reopening of beaches is also promised here.
The plan is of great magnitude and covers many nuances. During the public appearance, on April 28, numerous doubts arose, which did not stop growing in the following hours. We have put together some of the most common as well as their responses to date.
Family and outings
Will you be able to go shopping and run errands with a family member?
Yes, but only with members of the same address. As of phase 0, next May 4, the restriction of leaving one by one will be more loose. Family nuclei living in the same household may leave as a whole, which includes making purchases and errands of first necessity. Also taking the children out for an hour. You will not be able to go outside freely or remain in it without reason. Yes, it will be possible to walk for an hour, as an estimated average, as a family from the same home. You will not be able to exercise in a group, not even between people from the same home. This measure is purely for control, to avoid the relaxation of the measure being abused. From phase 1, it is expected to be able to visit other people's homes.
Can you go to another relative's house? What about a friend?
During phase 0 no. As clarified by the Prime Minister, it is expected that from May 10, with the beginning of phase 1, it will be possible to visit the homes of family and friends, but in a limited way. What limits or how this could be limited have not been specified. The paradox that we can meet in a restaurant but not in the home of a relative has raised some doubts about it. However, the appearance clarified the objective of protecting the elderly, who should be treated with the maximum possible isolation in the first months of the de-escalation, although we will see with what exact measures.
Can you go for a walk with your family?
Yes, but only with members of the same address. During phase 0 you can only exit in a very controlled way. Recommendations for the release of children are maintained. These measures will be maintained throughout phase 1 and will begin to relax from phase 2 if the situation evolves correctly.
What measures will be mandatory to go outside?
In phase 0 you can only go out on a limited basis, but from phase 1, access to the street will increase. The Government recommends, as it has done throughout the process, to maintain security measures such as gloves and masks, used correctly. However, at no time will they become mandatory for the common use of citizens, although they are highly recommended.
What happens if I meet someone on the street?
During phase 0 the contact must be limited, putting the appropriate distance measures and with a prudential separation of between one and a half and two meters. No meetings or direct contact are allowed. During phase 1, these contacts will be limited. The Government is considering taking specific measures for the elderly, although they will relax as we get closer to phase 2.
Will the departures be made by time bands?
At the moment, there is nothing specific. The Government is considering organizing outings and certain activities, such as sports, according to the age group, although they have not declared any specific measure. These strips would take the example of the proposals in Andalusia, which have not been officially approved. These separate the hours for the oldest, from 9 in the morning to 14:00 in the afternoon and from 19:00 to 21:00 for the youngest.
Can I go to my second residence?
During phase 0, no. However, we will be able to move freely during phase 1 and onwards, provided that the second residence is within the provincial limits. It will not be possible to change a province unless both explicitly allow it.
Can I go back to my house if I am not in my habitual residence?
In principle, yes; it has always been possible during confinement. The problem here is rather logistical, since the need to justify travel, especially over long distances, is complicated. But, legally speaking, yes; it is possible and will be the same way during the entire de-escalation.
What will I need to be able to move from my residence?
Documentation? DNI? Official receipt? That depends on the provincial government, which will be the one that regulates intra-provincial movements. For this reason, the Government has not specified any exact measure.
Sports issues and outdoor activities
Will you be able to run?
Yes. As of May 2, before the official start of phase 0, adults will be able to go out to play sports individually. The Government has given little information in this regard, especially regarding specific distancing measures. They did indicate that during this phase you will only be able to leave one by one and warned of the possibility of increasing the distance between people, which up to now has been one and a half or two meters. In phase 1 this measure would be relaxed.
One of the unknowns left in the air during the appearance is if time slots will be created to practice sports. The idea of these is to divide the departure of older people and the younger group by hourly sections. These bands would be divided between 9:00 and 14:00 for the oldest and from 16:00 to 21:00 for children under 14. However, they have not yet specified it.
Another big unanswered question is how far we can go doing sports. A mileage limit or even a maximum time outdoors has not yet been specified.
Will you be able to go cycling?
Yes. The measures adopted will be the same as for running: individual exits in phase 0, with a large safety distance, although not specified. Here, the question of time and space becomes more pressing: how far can we go with the bike? How long can we stay out? How is it going to be controlled? Yes there is a key factor in this case: it is not allowed to cross the border of the province, so the movement for cyclists will be limited, at least in that aspect.
Will you be able to go hiking?
In principle, yes. But the displacement will be limited during the entire phase 0. It is recommended to reduce mobility as much as possible, and although it is allowed to go out individually, it is recommended not to do it for security reasons. People living near rural environments will have an easier time. We do not know if this measure will relax from phase 1 or 2.
Will you be able to go fishing and hunting?
No. Sport fishing and hunting will start again from phase 2, like other types of activities included within organized sports.
Will the semi-professional or professional leagues and activities resume?
During phase 0, no. In phase 1, professional league clubs will begin to open their doors, and training will resume with precautionary measures. Massive events, however, will be totally limited until phase 3 or the so-called "new normal".
Can you go to mass and other places of worship?
During phase 0 the restrictions will remain as before. Royal Decree 463/2020, of March 14, in its article 11, specifies that "assistance to places of worship, civil and religious ceremonies" is "conditional" on the "adoption" of containment measures in response to the characteristics of and "dimensions" of such places to guarantee the social distance of "at least one meter". In other words, you could already go to places of worship during confinement as long as security conditions were maintained.
This will be maintained during phase 0 and will relax from phase 1. At that time the places of worship will allow access to one third of the total capacity. They will return to normal from phase 3.
Can you go to school?
The current course, 2019-2020, will not be resumed in person, as announced by the Government. In September it is expected to return to schools. However, schools will reopen from phase 2, but only for some activities. Among them are those for school reinforcement or to allow assistance to children under the age of six whose tutors work.
What will the tutors who work with the young children do?
As we said, starting from phase 2, which is expected on May 26, the educational centers will be reopened in order to offer services including the care of children under six years of age. To date, no specific measure has been decreed on this fact. Recall that in March, the Government reduced some of the aid dedicated to working parents, such as benefits. At the moment it is another great question to solve, at least until the beginning of the second phase.
What about after-school activities and tutoring?
Almost all cultural activities will be resumed from phase 2, and not before, coinciding with the reopening of educational centers and cultural activities, although with limited capacity (in principle 30%).
Can a music band get together to rehearse?
Not at the beginning. They will be able to meet from phase 2, beyond May 26, as part of the reopening of cultural activities, and always complying with the 30% capacity limitation (which would not be a problem for a rehearsal room with a band little).
Will it be possible to go to libraries and other cultural centers that are not shows?
At the moment, all cultural activity with capacity will open from phase 2 and will be limited to one third until, at least, phase 3.
Can you go to the urban garden?
The RD of March 14 leaves this issue quite ambiguous and subsequent statements have failed to clarify it. These types of activities are in a difficult limb to define, although many of the associations that run them fit into cultural activities. If they are classified as such, access to them may be resumed with the restrictions of the other activities, from phase 2, with a limitation of 30% of the capacity.
Are the municipal swimming pools to be opened?
These are expected to open their doors from the third phase 3, together with that of the beaches, although the Government has made it clear that this will be reviewed in the following months, as the data on the expansion of the SARS-CoV-2 advances. . Private pools can be used normally, always respecting the contact premises imposed in each phase (that is, they can only be used with friends and family from phase 1 with restrictions).
Are parks going to be opened for walking and bringing pets?
Regarding the opening of parks, these will depend on the local government, which will determine if they are cultural public spaces or open green spaces and will control access according to these determinants. The objective, they commented, is to control crowds, especially in large cities, which this could cause. Small, open-access parks, for example, as well as pipicans, will be immediately open and accessible.
Labor, professional and international
When will we go to work again?
Many of the work activities, including personal ones, are already being resumed. However, the Government announced that they will try to limit labor issues to preferential teleworking, that is, that it be carried out at a distance whenever possible, at least until phase 3 of the de-escalation.
Is the use of masks and gloves mandatory in the workplace? And in public?
Although we have already seen that protection measures are highly recommended, they are not mandatory for citizens on the streets, especially in public transport and media. Nor in work settings. Companies are obliged to have means of protection for their workers, as stipulated in the Labor Risks Law, whenever possible.
When will I be able to travel to other provinces?
At the moment, the transfer between provinces is totally ruled out at least during phases 0 and 1. This will depend on the provinces themselves and even on the personal situation: depending on the job or the family condition. In particular cases, transfer will be allowed, but not generally.
When will the borders open?
The Government estimates that we will be able to reopen borders, normally, from the fourth phase, at the end of June.
And what we don't know yet
As we mentioned above, we still have doubts about many aspects. For example, we still do not know what control measures and contact limitations in phase 1 the government was referring to. We also do not know the exact details about the sports outings: distances, times ... It has also not been clarified whether measures will be taken to avoid crowds in specific cases, such as going out to smoke in restaurants, from phase 2.
Another unknown is how interprovincial movements will be controlled or what specific measures will be adopted in terms of cultural activities and public celebrations from phase 3. We also do not know when they will give us more details on these topics or if they will be published in the next Official State Gazettes. The de-escalation, as we see, begins shortly and, knowing that it is a slow and complicated process, there are still many doubts that remain to be cleared.
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