CONFUSED British residents have been warned over being fined for breaking new travel rules in Spain’s Costa Blanca South area during Phase One of the lockdown changes.
The two health departments of Orihuela and Torrevieja were cleared over the weekend to go into Phase One of the country’s de-escalation of the State of Alarm from tomorrow (May 11).
Amongst the package of measures is a greater freedom of movement than existed before when the emergency measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 were introduced in mid-March.
Ironically, that could land some people in potentially hot water, especially in health area ‘border’ communities.
The new flexibility allows for travel between municipalities within a health area, but the Euro Weekly News has received clarification that people cannot go into an adjoining health area, even if it is in Phase One, unless it is to go to work or for a legitimate reason like a medical appointment.
A Euro Weekly News reader had asked whether it would be possible to travel long-distance from Orihuela to Benidorm, both of which have been ‘cleared,’ as opposed to the Alicante and Elche health departments that have not been allowed to go through to the new phase.
The rules clearly state that the journey cannot be made for the time being.
Facebook sites of Local Police forces like Orihuela have been deluged with queries from residents worried that they could break the law if they stray into a different health area.
The Orihuela police site produced over 600 comments and queries in just six hours today (May 10).
In all cases, the police told contributors that they had to follow the rules, which in theory makes going to the nearest shop a harder proposition for some residents in ‘cross border’ areas than it was under the initial State of Alarm, or perhaps even just knowing what the exact health borders are.
There are plenty of intriguing scenarios like in the case of the Lo Crispin urbanisation which is in the Algorfa municipality.
Algorfa comes under the Orihuela health area, yet the nearest major supermarkets are literally a stone’s throw away in Quesada, which is part of the Rojales municipality, but comes under the health jurisdiction of Torrevieja.
Further clarifications or perhaps exemptions with some common sense might be on the way.
The Orihuela health area takes in Orihuela City, as well as Almoradí, Callosa de Segura, Cox, Granja de Rocamora, Bigastro, Benferri, Albatera, Catral, Jacarilla, Benejúzar, Redován, Rafal, Daya Vieja, Daya Nueva, Dolores and Algorfa.
The Torrevieja health department covers Torrevieja, as well as the Orihuela Costa, Pilar de la Horadada, San Fulgencio, Guardamar del Segura, Rojales, Benijófar, Los Montesinos, San Miguel de Salinas and Formentera del Segura.