Could Spain’s new normal be a crystal ball for the UK?

May 1, 2020

COVID-19: Spain has published its plan for a return to a new normal.  Could this be a crystal ball for the UK? Jonathan Eshkeri, Director of E&G Solicitors in Spain, looks in detail at the Spanish plan…

COVID-19 has severely affected the whole world. In the fight to decrease the numbers of people affected, many countries have implemented containment measures in order to restrict the movement of its citizens.

Coming in at over 24,500 deaths from COVID-19, Spain in particular has seen one of the most stringent lockdowns. Restrictions began on 14 March 2020. Now, after a long six weeks of isolation, children under the age of 14 have been permitted to venture outside for one hour a day. This marks the start of Spain trying to return to some form of normalcy, calling into question how the Spanish government will deescalate further restrictions in an appropriate time frame.

The plan

Spain’s deescalation and economic revival plan involves progressing through a number of phases. What is involved in each phase?

Phase 0: Preparatory phase

  • People can continue to exercise and train individually.
  • Professional and federated athletes can commence individual training.
  • Professional leagues can commence basic training.
  • Small premises to open by appointment for individual customer service.

Phase 1: Initial phase

  • Social activities, such as home gatherings, will be permitted, however further conditions are still to be determined.
  • There will be the possibility of moving within a province.
  • Smalls businesses to open.
  • Hotels and tourist accommodation, excluding common areas, to open.
  • Outdoor areas to open at 30% occupancy.
  • Places of worship to open, limited to 30% capacity.
  • Professional leagues can commence medium training.
  • Agricultural and fishing sector – work can resume.

Phase 2: Intermediate phase

  • Restaurants to open for table service, but with limited capacity.
  • Cinemas and theatres to open, up to a third of the normal capacity.
  • Indoor cultural activities permitted, only with less than 50 people seated.
  • Outdoor cultural activities permitted, only with less than 400 people seated.
  • Hunting and fishing permitted.
  • Schools and colleges (care for children under six and university entrance examinations).

Phase 3: Advanced phase

  • In restaurants, capacity restrictions will decrease, but with strict separation between people.
  • General mobility to be made more flexible.
  • The occupation of spaces, such as commercial areas, will be expanded to up to 50% of normal capacity.

Reaching the new normal: Spain’s expected timescale

How will the deescalation plan work? Each of Spain’s territories and islands will enter their first phases on 4 May 2020. For all territories this will be the preparation phase 0, other than for four of the islands for which this will be the initial phase 1.

Each phase is expected to last for a minimum of two weeks. At the end of each two week period, each Spanish territory or island will either advance onto the next phase, or go back to the previous phase, and this will be dependent on a number of factors: the strategic capacities of the health system, the epidemiological situation, compliance with collective protection measures, and the evaluation of mobility and socioeconomic data.

If all goes to plan, the transition to Spain’s new normal is estimated to last for at least eight weeks, bringing us to the end of June 2020.

Perhaps we can look to Spain for a bird’s eye view of the shape of things to come in the UK in the near future.

By Jonathan Eshkeri


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