UK expats are eagerly waiting for Phase One of Spain’s relaxation of the State of Alarm rules to begin this Monday (May 11) in the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca areas, which will feature bars reopening.
It will mean that people will be able to go out for a drink for the first time since the lockdown began in mid-March, as bar and restaurant terraces will be able to trade at 50 per cent capacity.
Food service will not resume until Phase Two which is scheduled to start on May 25.
The relaxation is good news for hard-pressed business owners in the hospitality trade to try to claw back some of their lost income over the last two months.
Many though believe the terrace restrictions are too severe, even though the government announced a 20 per cent increase in seat capacity last weekend.
Car travel rules will also see changes during Phase One.
It’s currently been prohibited for more than one person to be in a vehicle, unless they were going for medical attention or other special circumstances.
From next week, drivers will be allowed to have people in their car if they live with them, but if the occupants do not live together, they will have to wear face masks and not be sat next to each other.
Social contact between people in the same municipality will be permitted, so long as nobody falls into an ‘at risk’ category.
The country’s Health Ministry has said that groups of up to 10 people can meet, so long as they follow the social distancing rules of being at least two metres apart, assuming that they don’t already all live together.
The groups can meet at any location, both indoors and outdoors, but travel to another province in Spain for such a gathering is prohibited.
Libraries and museums will be permitted to reopen, but with reduced capacity and hours.
Churches will once again be able to open for services to the public at 30 per cent capacity, and with the observance of social distancing.
Open air markets, some of whom have already reopened in parts of the country, can trade at 25 per cent of their previous levels.
Cultural events could also be permitted in some open air venues that are fully seated and which can allow two-metre distances between each member of the audience.
Phase One already started this week in Formentera in the Balearic Islands, as well as three of the Canary Islands.