Q&A What are the rules for meeting friends during Spain’s Phase 1?

Q&A What are the rules for meeting friends during Spain’s Phase 1?
Photos: AFP
What are the rules for seeing your friends once your province has advanced to Phase 1?

If your province has been given the all clear to move to Phase 1 then at long last you will be able to meet friends and see people outside of those you have been lockdowned with for more than two months. 

LATEST: These are the provinces advancing to Phase 1 and Phase 2

But what are the rules?

In short, the regulatyions published in the Official State Gazette (BOE)  state that meetings of up to ten people who live within the same province can meet either in each other’s homes, on a terrace of a bar, café or restaurant or in the open air.

The meetings don’t have to take place within the designated time-slots but social distancing between those who do not live within the same household is advised.

What do they mean by social distancing?

The official advice is to maintain a distance of 2 metres between anyone who does not reside in the same household as you. This is the rule that we are supposed to observe even when visiting friends or meeting up in a group on a terraza.

That officially means no kisses or hugs as a greeting and sitting far back in your chair across the table from someone who doesn’t live in the same household.

If you can't keep the recommended distance apart, then masks are recommended to be worn – although Spain is likely to introduce the mandatory wearing of masks in all public places later this week.

At home?

During Phase 1 people are able to visit one another’s homes as long as no one has symptoms of the coronavirus and as long as there is no-one considered in the vulnerable group resides there.

Meetings can involve as many as ten different people (up to fifteen if you live in a municipality of less than 10,000 people) but those who do not reside within the same household must maintain social distancing measures by keeping 2 metres apart from one another.

Can children visit their grandparents?

Yes, as long as no-one has symptoms of the coronavirus and as long as the grandparents are not considered in the vulnerable group, as in that they do not have a medical condition that makes them high risk.

But social distancing must be maintained alongside hygiene measures – meaning keep two metres apart at all times and wash hands properly on arrival.

Visits to elderly relatives in residential homes are still not allowed. 

What are the rules for meeting on a terrace?

Under the rules for provinces advancing into Phase 1, cafés, bars and restaurants are able to open their terraces to customers, but not quite in same way as before the coronavirus struck.

Establishments with pavement tables or a terrace are limited to opening just half the number of tables and chairs they usually have permission for as outlined in the Official State Gazette notice published on May 3rd.

“They must ensure a proper physical distance of at least two metres between each table or grouping of tables”.

A maximum of ten people are allowed around a “grouping of tables” with enough space between each to ensure the “minimum safe distance between people can be respected” which as per the guidelines in another section on social distancing means 2m distance between people who do not reside in the same household.

You'll notice a few other differences too. You won't be handed a menu but most likely asked to look at a blackboard or similar to chose and the table will be covered with a single-use paper tablecloth. Plus condiments, sauces, olive oil etc will all be sevred in single-use disposable packaging rather than communal bottles. 

Can we meet in a park or on the beach?

Different rules apply province to province and even town to town when it comes to rules on meeting in parks and beaches. Some municipalities have opened beaches to enable people to go for a walk or a bathe or to do sports. While others are keeping the beaches closed until a later phase. Same goes for the parks. So while outdoor meetings are allowed,  check council notices to find a suitable venue.

Can I meet a friend from a different province?

The current rules mean you have to stay within your province during Phase 1 even if the friend you want to visit is also in Phase 1 province. This means that you can only see friends who live within the same province as you.

READ MORE: 

Can I travel in the same car as a friend?

The rules for driving have been updated to allow those within the same household to travel within the same car without restrictions. However those who are not from the same household can be in the same vehicle but must be seated a maximum of two in each row (in a vehicle that carries up to 9 people) with an empty seat in between and masks must be worn.

If the car just has the front and back seats then the driver can take one passenger (from outside their household) as long as that person sits in the row behind on the opposite side from the driver. And wears a mask.  

Do we have to wear a mask? 

Current regulations state that masks must be worn on public transport and for those over six years old it is now compulsory to wear masks in public places and places open to the public where it is impossible to maintain the 2 metre distancing rule. However there are exceptons for those who have respiratory, health or behaviourial problems that make the wearing of a mask impossible or if you are eating or drinking.  

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