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COVID-19

Lifting lockdown in Spain: What changes in Phase 3?

Barcelona and Lleida are the latest provinces to advance to Phase 3.

Lifting lockdown in Spain: What changes in Phase 3?
Photo: AFP

Some 78 percent of Spain is now in Phase 3, which under the governments four stage “plan for the transition to the new normal”, Phase 3 is the final step before arriving at the new normal.

Two more provinces – that of Lleida and Barcelona – were given the go ahead to advance to Phase 3 on Thursday meaning 37 million Spaniards are now enjoying new freedoms. 

The map shows that all of Spain is now in Phase 3 except Madrid and parts of Castilla y Leon which remain in Phase 2. 

 

It means that your province or health authority zone has already successfully advanced from the preparatory Phase 0, through Phase 1 and 2 to arrive at Phase 3.

The main differences between the last two phases of the de-escalation plan are the increased limit on capacity at bars, restaurants, shops and cultural venues and that even bigger groups of people are allowed to gather.

The occupancy on a terrace of a bar or restaurant rises from 50 percent in Phase 2 to 75 percent in Phase 3.

While bars are now allowed to open inside  with 50 percent maximum capacity although they must have safety measures in place that include hand sanitizer at the door, table service and being able to maintain a safe social distance of 2 metres between people who you don’t live with.

READ MORE: What changes about life in Spain under the 'new normal'

 

The number of people allowed to meet socially has risen from 15 under Phase 2 to up to 20 people during Phase 3.

The timetable which gave different age groups specific hours in which to go outside and exercise has been eliminated in the final phase. There are no restrictions on when you can leave the house and for what purpose.

Group sports (and that includes exercise classes at the gym) can be practised between up to 20 people as long as they are non-contact sports.

Casinos, gaming halls and betting shops can open with a reduced capacity of 50 percent and maximum of 50 people.

Youth activities such as summer camps can carry on with a third of the usual capacity and a maximum of 80 people if inside and 50 percent and a maximum of 200 people if outdoors.

Amusement parks, zoos, aquariums and that sort of thing can open with 50 percent of capacity outside and 30 percent inside.

Tour groups can restart their guided tours with up to 20 people.

All shops can now open regardless of the size including shopping malls as long as capacity does not exceed 50 percent.

Cinemas, theatres, shows, concerts can all open but with 50 percent occupancy and a chair’s space between each person not from the same household with up to 80 people indoors and 200 people in the openair.

Weddings, baptism and first communions can now go ahead with 75 percent of the venue’s capacity and up to 75 people when indoors and 150 people when outdoors..

Libraries, museums and exhibition spaces can welcome 50 percent of the usual capacity.

Hotels can now open their common areas including spas for up to 50 percent usual capacity.

Work conferences can have up to 80 attendees.

What other rules are in place?

Masks are compulsory for all those over the age of six in public places and places open to the public where it is impossible to maintain the 2 metre social 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.  

READ MORE: Face masks are now mandatory in Spain: What you need to know

What next? 

The Spanish government has decided that regional authorities will be given the responsibility for deciding when their provinces can transition from Phase 3 to the “new normal” which means it could be possible before June 21st when the state of alarm officially ends. 

Once transition has been decided, travel between provinces that have also advanced beyond Phase 3 should be allowed. 

READ MORE: OPINION: What will Spain be like to live and work in after the coronavirus crisis?

 

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COVID-19 RULES

What are Spain’s current rules for asymptomatic and mild Covid cases?

Spain is currently experiencing an eighth Covid wave. For those who test positive during the summer of 2022, here's a reminder of all the rules and recommendations you need to be aware of, concerning asymptomatic, mild and serious cases.

What are Spain's current rules for asymptomatic and mild Covid cases?

No one wants to get Covid, particularly when the summer season is approaching and many have booked their annual holidays.

But if you do find that you test positive for Covid-19, here’s what you need to know about Spain’s current health rules. 

Whatever questions you have, from wanting to know if you still need to get an official test or inform your doctor, to whether you can go outside and if you need to wear a face mask, we’ve got you covered. 

Q: What if I get Covid but don’t have any symptoms?

A: If you are asymptomatic, in other words you test positive for Covid-19 but don’t experience any symptoms, then it’s not necessary to self-isolate and you are not required to quarantine at home.

Spain’s quarantine requirement for asymptomatic cases was dropped as of March 28th 2022.

However, the health body that advises Spain’s Health Ministry recommends that you still stay at home and rest and that if you do go out, you wear a mask indoors and outdoors, and that you keep social contact to a minimum for a week. 

Q: What if I have mild Covid symptoms?

A: If you have mild Covid symptoms, you fall into the same category as those who have no symptoms for Spanish health authorities.

This means that while it’s not mandatory to isolate at home, you should still rest, wear a mask indoors and outdoors and avoid social contact.

The obligatory quarantine for mild cases was also scrapped as of March 28th, 2022.

Q: What if I have severe Covid symptoms?

A: If you have serious Covid symptoms, Spain’s Health Ministry continues to require a quarantine period of seven days, meaning that it’s mandatory.

It is also still required for those classified as part of the high-risk or vulnerable population, which includes those aged 60 or older, immunosuppressed people and pregnant women. 

Q: Am I allowed to go outside if I have Covid?

A: Yes, as mentioned above, if you have mild or asymptomatic symptoms you are allowed to go outside while you have Covid. However, you should limit your contact with others for a week to make sure you’re not putting others at risk. You should aim to stay at home as much as possible until your symptoms disappear.

Keep in mind that you are highly contagious in the first few days of the illness, so you may want to avoid going out during that time.

Q: Can I go to events if I have Covid-19?

A: Yes, you can leave the house if you have Covid-19, but as you’re expected to limit your contact with others, going to a large event with hundreds of people is not recommended. You could unknowingly be putting vulnerable people at risk. Health authorities still recommend that you avoid gatherings for at least a week after a positive test. 

Q: Do I need to wear a mask if I test positive?

A: The Spanish Health Ministry has confirmed that those who have Covid must wear a mask for “ten days from the diagnosis” of the virus.

They should be worn indoors, as well as outdoors, if a distance can’t be maintained from others. Experts recommend using the FFP2 masks during this time because even if your symptoms are mild, you can still be contagious.

READ ALSO: How likely is it that Spain will make face masks mandatory indoors again?

Q: Can I go to work if I have Covid-19?

A: If you have mild or asymptomatic Covid-19, although the recommendation is to work from home or take sick leave, you can still go in.

However, the health authorities recommend that you wear a mask, avoid contact with vulnerable people and avoid enclosed spaces with little ventilation.

Q: Is it necessary to get officially tested?

A: No, it’s not necessary to get a PCR or antigen done at your local health centre or at a private clinic any more. An antigen test bought from a pharmacy and performed at home will suffice.

Only those with serious symptoms and high-risk groups should get tested now. Although you it’s not necessary anymore to confirm your infection with a test, it’s still useful to test yourself at home so you can avoid contact with others if it’s positive and know when you can get back to life as normal.

Q: Do I have to tell my doctor if I have or have recently had Covid?

A: No, it’s not necessary for everyone to call their doctor if they have Covid, because not all cases are being counted by authorities anymore.

You may, however, still need to call your doctor if you need to sick leave from work. Those in Catalonia will be given an automatic five-day sick leave if they have Covid symptoms, even if they don’t take a test.  

If you are over the age of 60, are immunosuppressed or are in a high risk group, it’s still a good idea to tell your doctor if you test positive.

Q: What do I do if I have come into close contact with someone who has Covid-19?

A: If you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, it’s not necessary for you to take a test or to self-isolate.

The health authorities do recommend that you take precautions though, such as limiting social interactions, wearing a mask and avoid vulnerable people.

Remember that the days before you test positive, but after you have been exposed to the virus are when you are the most contagious. 

Q: What if I get Covid while on holiday in Spain?

A: If you have a mild or asymptomatic case of Covid-19 while on holiday in Spain, you don’t have to quarantine and you don’t have to inform the local health authorities, unless you are in a vulnerable category.

Like above, Spain’s Health Ministry only recommends that you stay at home and rest, that if you do have to go out you wear a mask indoors and outdoors, and that you keep social contact to a minimum for a week.

Different countries have different rules so you may not be able to travel home if you have Covid and may have to wait until you test negative.

READ MORE: What tourists should do if they get Covid while on holiday in Spain? 

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