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COVID-19

Q&A: When will we be able to meet friends and family in Spain?

The new “plan for transition towards the new normality” was unveiled by Pedro Sanchez in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday evening.

Q&A: When will we be able to meet friends and family in Spain?
Photo: AFP

He talked about a gradual loosening of restrictions to be introduced in phases at different times in different parts of Spain depending on the evolution of the coronavirus crisis locally.

But one of the burning questions is when will residents in Spain – who have been isolated in their homes since March 14th except for authorised trips for shopping and seeking medical care –  be allowed to visit friends and family?

The ministerial order outlines plans to open restaurants, firstly for takeaway and then outdoor tables with a reduced occupancy, so the overcrowded bars and bustling restaurants. Basically socializing as we know it in Spain, is still some time away.

READ MORE: What we know about Spain's 'plan for transition to a new normal'

But when will it be considered permissable to pay a visit to a friend’s home or have family over for dinner?

More details providing the exact answer to that question is expected before the government launches Phase 1 of the plan but the PM did reply to a journalist’s question (asked via Zoom) that in theory it will be possible to meet friends and family, as long as they reside in the same province, from Phase 1.

Although the exact rules over such meetings have yet to be published, a government spokesman said on Wednesday  that small groups would be able to  meet either in one another's homes or a public place such as the terraza of a bar.

However, this likely won’t include visits to those who are considered vulnerable – such as the elderly or people with underlying heath conditions that puts them in a higher risk group – and visits to residential care homes would be allowed until later phases.

So, socializing in small groups with friends and families who live within the same province could be allowed as soon as May 11 with the introduction of Phase 1, if the province within which you live has met the criteria to enter that phase.

The government said that gatherings of up to ten people per group will also be allowed from May 11th.

These can take place at a private address or outdoors but under no circumstances can people who are part of the high risk group attend these meetings. 

And by phase 2 you should be able to visit friends in their home within the same province.

Travel to other provinces won’t be allowed until both the province in which you live, and the one you want to visit have both entered the final stage – Phase 3.

And no clear indication has yet been given of when Spain might reopen its borders and allow foreign visitors.

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FACE MASKS

When and where will face masks still be mandatory in Spain?

Masks will soon no longer be mandatory on public transport in Spain, but when and where will they still be obligatory?

When and where will face masks still be mandatory in Spain?

Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias confirmed on January 26th that face masks would no longer be compulsory on public transport, a measure that has been in place in Spain for almost three years.  

She added that it would be approved at the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System on Tuesday, February 7th.  

Then on Thursday, February 2nd Darias elaborated further, confirming that as well as on public transport masks will not be required in health establishments such as opticians, hearing and orthopaedic centres, where they had been up until now.  

She said that they will, however, still be mandatory in all other health centres, pharmacies and hospitals, as well as in care homes.

The Spanish government will approve the measure on Tuesday February 7th and it will enter into force when it is published in the Official State Bulletin (BOE), which usually occurs the following day.

READ ALSO: Spain announces end of public transport face mask rule

This means that most likely from February 8th masks will no longer be required on public transport, but you will still have to wear them in pharmacies and hospitals and doctors’ offices. 

The use of masks ceased to be mandatory outdoors almost a year ago, on February 10th, 2022.

Then, two months later on April 20th, the government announced they wouldn’t be required indoors either, except in health centres and on public transport. 

Covid-19 controls at airports in Spain

Darias also announced the results of the controls carried out by the Foreign Health Department on travellers coming on direct flights from China.

Controls have been carried out on a total of 1,765 travellers and three people have tested positive for Covid-19, she confirmed.

The three positives were confirmed by PCR and the virus was sequenced, showing that it was the same strain that is currently already dominant in Spain. 

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