Coronavirus: as the Spanish government tightens lockdown to include all non-essential workers, what is still open in Spain?

The construction sector is one of the most affected by the new lockdown measures / Photo by Ümit Yıldırım on Unsplash
The construction sector is one of the most affected by the new lockdown measures / Photo by Ümit Yıldırım on Unsplash
3 April 2020, Emma Donaldson

The Spanish government has once again tightened up its national lockdown with further regulations, ordering all non-essential workers to stay at home for the next two weeks in a further effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus in the country and start to relieve pressure on the Spain’s overstretched ICUs.

This most recent measure comes just over two weeks after the original state of alarm was announced by the Spanish government which initially introduced strict rules and regulations that confined residents to their homes unless absolutely necessary. The state of alarm was initially put in place for 15 days but was subsequently extended until 11th April.

The announcement by the government about the tightening of these lockdown measures has inevitably led to questions from the public as to what activity is said to be “essential” and what remains open. The services which are classed as essential are:

  • anything medically or healthcare related, as well as pharmaceutical activities (including the production and selling of pharmaceuticals)
  • orthopaedic and optical services
  • transport of food and some goods (including home delivery services)
  • public transport (operating a reduced service)
  • services related to water, electricity and gas supplies
  • establishments selling food other products considered to be of primary necessity (supermarkets and similar)
  • newsagents, tobacconists, launderettes and dry cleaners’
  • vets and establishments selling food and essentials for animals
  • petrol stations and fuel distributors
  • telecommunications operators
  • insurance companies and banks
  • car repair services
  • shops selling or repairing technological and telecommunications equipment
  • ports and airports
  • the press, radio and television
  • security forces and law enforcement bodies

While these activities are said to be essential, some services may close due to their own initiative or operate on reduced opening hours. In general terms, services that are leisure related are not allowed to continue, as well as anything related to construction. However, keep in mind that these rules also only apply to physical shops. Retailers that trade online may continue and home deliveries are the option that many housebound residents in Spain are relying on.

Regarding employees, the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez stated that to begin with workers would receive their usual salaries under a system of paid recoverable leave but would have to make up missed hours at a later date on a gradual basis. It should also be noted that working from home is not affected by the tighter lockdown regulations and in cases where employees can work from home, they should continue to do so.

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