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NEWSLETTER

Everything that changes in Spain in September 2020

There are numerous changes in store for Spain in September after a particularly unusual and difficult summer for its 47 million inhabitants.

Everything that changes in Spain in September 2020
Photos: AFP

Return to school 

After months of closure, Spain’s schools are technically reopening at the start of September. 

The country’s coronavirus infection rates are as high as they were during the months of lockdown, which is turning the reopening process into a logistical nightmare for regional authorities. 

Madrid will gradually welcome back pupils to the classroom from September 4th in a staggered manner, which means half-empty classrooms at first, whilst Catalonia has announced September 14th as the date it will reopen schools.

Almost every region has set a different date: Asturias on September 22nd, the Balearics on September 10th, the Canaries on September 15th, and the dates also vary depending on whether it’s a primary, secondary or high school.

READ MORE: Back to school in Spain: When do classes resume in the different regions?

The country’s Education Minister Isabel Celaá said on Monday that Spain’s schools are ready to reopen, that “there is no such thing as zero risk” and that children need to return to school “from an educational, emotional and social standpoint”.

Less ERTE money for those temporarily unemployed

Anyone who started receiving 70 percent of their salary in March as part of the temporary unemployment (ERTE) subsidy will see this sum reduced to 50 percent per month from their September payroll onwards.

This 20 percent decrease applies six months after the ERTE subsidy started to be received.

There is a silver lining however, such as for those who have since returned to work but have had to leave their jobs again due to another lockdown or business closure, as they will receive a reduction of 80 percent in their social security contributions. 

 

Changes to remote working laws set to be passed 

Spain’s Labour Ministry is due to present changes to its teleworking laws in September, which are likely to guarantee that employees have the right to carry out 20 to 30 percent of their job responsibilities from home (when the nature of the work allows for it). 

Spanish unions have said that the amount is too low considering the current coronavirus situation and the prevalence of remote working as an acceptable means of work. 

The practice is still relatively new to Spain so the passing of the new legislation is likely to set in stone employees’ rights in terms of work hours, digital disconnection, work costs etc  

 

Warmer September than average 

According to national weather agency AEMET, it will be a drier and warmer September than in previous years, with temperatures only dropping towards the end of the month. 

Some rain is expected in the northern half of the country but the hotter than average weather we’ve experienced this summer will continue as we approach autumn.  

Sexual freedom law to be approved 

Spain’s government plans to reform its penal code in September to toughen the laws on sexual consent, which has been dubbed the “only yes is yes” law. 

The decree is meant to toughen existing legislation regarding what constitutes sexual assault and clarify the distinction between sexual abuse and rape.

 

Airlines offer flexible flights on the cheap 

In a bid to convince passengers to book flights as the prospect of a second lockdown looms, Spain’s flagship airline Iberia will offer tickets for as little as €22 which are fully amendable for international flights from September 2020 until June 2021. 

In pre-Covid times, buying a flexi-ticket could prove very expensive and amending a flight date after purchase as well, so the offer is certainly appealing for those wanting to travel but are scared of losing money due to cancellations or restrictions. Iberia’s offer ends on September 16th.

Low-cost airlines such as Vueling and Ryanair have joined the aggressive marketing tactic and are now offering tickets for lower prices than average (a million tickets for €5 in the case of the Irish carrier).

 

Big fines for polluting vehicle manufacturers

From September, vehicle manufacturers in Spain that are found to be in violation of emissions limits will have their cars revoked, handed fines of up to €30,000 per polluting vehicle and potentially lose their roadworthiness certifications as well. 

It’s a European Commission measure which affects all of the EU and it means that buying a brand-new but high-emissions diesel or petrol car is becoming increasingly difficult in Spain. 

 

Food credit cards for struggling Madrid families 

From September families in Madrid who are struggling to make ends meet can receive a bank card which is recharged with anywhere between €125 and €630 a month and can be used in supermarkets to buy groceries, hygiene products and other essential goods.

The measure is meant to reduce the huge queues that have developed outside food banks across the capital since the coronavirus crisis began, and at the same time give these hard-hit parents some dignity when it comes to taking care of their families. 

In most cases, the card isn’t available to adults who already receive Spain's minimum vital income. 

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TRAVEL

OFFICIAL: Vaccinated global travellers will finally be able to come to Spain from June 7th

The Spanish government on Saturday June 5th published a state bulletin confirming that it will modify the entry rules for vaccinated non-EU/Schengen citizens from June 7th. 

OFFICIAL: Vaccinated global travellers will finally be able to come to Spain from June 7th
Photo: ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

As we reported ahead of time on Friday, Spain has gone ahead and changed its entry rules for non-EU/Schengen vaccinated travellers, only seven days after it extended a ban on non-essential travel from outside the bloc.

This has caused plenty of confusion over the past week, as Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had initially said that all vaccinated travellers, “regardless of their country of origin”, would be able to come to Spain from June 7th, whereas last weekend’s state bulletin BOE made no mention of vaccinated travellers and in fact extended the ban on non-essential travel from third countries until June 30th.

In the end, Sánchez and his government have stuck to their word, and were just keeping their cards close to their chest while preparing a new BOE with conditions that modify the travel rules published only seven days earlier.  

What has Spain now confirmed?

Spain has “modified the criteria for the temporary restriction of non-essential travel from third countries to the EU and Schengen countries” the document begins. 

The standout modification is that people who wish to travel to Spain from outside the EU/Schengen Zone can do so from June 7th if they have a vaccination certificate and have had their full vaccination treatment or last dose 14 days before travel. 

In essence, vaccinated people have been added to the list of non-EU/Schengen travellers who are exempt from the ban on non-essential travel to Spain, which up to now had been mainly for Spanish nationals and residents, students, several different categories of key workers and in some cases spouses and family members of Spanish/EU and those who can prove force majeure reasons (more details here and here). 

This BOE is the first official document confirming Pedro Sánchez’s words on May 21st, and has been released less than 48 hours before the new rule comes into effect, at 00:00 hours on June 7th 2021. 

There are no changes to the list of non-EU countries which are exempt from Spain’s non-essential travel rule. People from Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macao, China, the United Kingdom and Japan can continue coming to Spain for non-essential reasons such as holidays.

The difference for vaccinated travellers from countries that are not on the list is that they as “specific people” are now also exempt from the non-essential travel ban, as long as they can prove they’ve been vaccinated.

The Spanish government has published a second state bulletin which lays out the new conditions for travel to Spain regarding vaccination certificates, health passes and more, so stay tuned to The Local Spain as we will cover all this in detail.

READ ALSO:

Reader question: Which Covid vaccines does Spain accept for international tourists to visit?

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