SPAIN’S Benidorm and Costa Blanca is all set for bars to reopen next week in Phase One of the country’s lockdown reduction plan.
The Valencian government is recommending to national authorities in Madrid that the whole of the region will be able to join in the relaxation from this Monday (May 11).
All health departments across the Costa Blanca report that they meet the criteria to qualify for residents and businesses to be given more freedom.
One of the key visible changes in the new phase of the State of Alarm will see bars and restaurants able to resume trading on their terrace areas at up to 50 per cent of their outdoor capacity.
Strict guidelines have been put into place, including the need for markings between tables to ensure that social distancing rules are observed.
A number of municipalities across the Costa Blanca have allowed businesses to increase the size of their terraces to boost trade, and have waived their regular ground rental charges.
Nevertheless, hospitality trade groups and individual owners have said that this Monday’s partial lifting of the emergency measures don’t go far enough, and some have added that it will not be financially viable for them to reopen.
Food service will not resume until Phase Two, which is scheduled to start on May 25.
Car travel rules will also see changes during Phase One, as 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.
Spain’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.
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.
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.