Q&A: What are the rules under Spain’s new state of emergency?

The Local Spain
The Local Spain - [email protected]
Q&A: What are the rules under Spain’s new state of emergency?
Photos: AFP

The Spanish prime minister declared a national state of emergency on Sunday, introducing a curfew covering all of Spain except the Canary Islands, in a bid to curb a second wave of coronavirus cases.


The measures went into force from Sunday night and will require all regions except the Canary Islands to impose a night-time curfew and limit the number of people allowed to meet to six.

Under the state of emergency, the regions would have the power to limit movement in and out of their territories, and could also extend the curfew by an hour on either end depending on local conditions.

When does it come into force and how long will it last?

The new state of alarm measures came  into force the moment the order was published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) on Sunday afternoon.

The Cabinet approved it for 15 days, in line with the Constitution. But to extend it beyond that needs the approval of the Congress and Sanchez has announced that he will seek to

Is this a return to lockdown like Spain had in March?

Absolutely not. This time the measures are not nearly as strict as those introduced in March when residents were confined to their home and only allowed outside to buy supplies, seek medical help etc.

Sanchez insists the government wants to avoid a repeat of the strict lockdown and that limiting social interaction and movement between territories will be sufficient to curbing the spread of the virus and bring the infection rate under control.  

Calling a state of alarm is a legal measure that allows special

What is the curfew?

A curfew - known as 'toque de queda' in Spanish - is now in place across all of Spain (apart from the Canary Islands) that means people are not allowed to be on the street or visiting any else’s home without a justified reason.

The government has set the curfew between 11pm and 6 am but allows regions to shift it by an hour either side.

Justified reasons include coming or going to the workplace, seeking emergency medical treatment (for you or your pet), collecting medical supplies, visiting a dependant who needs caring for.

The measure also states that you can use fuel stations during curfew hours if needed to carry out trips for justified reasons.

Curfews are mandatory across all of Spain (except the Canary Islands) until at least November 9th when it will be up to the regions to decide whether to keep them in place.

Is there a penalty for breaking curfew?

Spain's various police forces will have the power to stop those found to be breaking curfew and to issue fines to those who don't have a justified reason for doing so.

Fines could be between €600 and €600,000 depending on the severity of the breach. 


Do I need a document to prove justification?

Some regions have already produced justification forms to show at checkpoints if entering or leaving a confined zone or breaking curfew. This is the one for Catalonia and this is the one for Madrid.

Keep any details of medical/vet treatment, pharmacy receipts or work authorised statement to prove that your reason for being outside the home is valid. 

If going to visit a dependent person who you need to care for, police may accompany you to determine that case is valid. 

Always carry photo ID and it will help if you have your padron document or residence card with up to date address to prove where you live.

What are the limits on social gatherings?

The state of alarm limits social meetings to a maximum of six people both in private places and public spaces, unless they live together under the same roof across Spain except the Canary Islands. But the regional governments have the authority to lower the maximum number allowed in a social gathering. Galicia has already set a limit of five.

Are bars and restaurants still open? 

Yes, as long as the restaurants and bars are closed and shut up ahead of curfew then you can still visit them, allow there are limits on capacity and groups must be a maximum of six people.

Regional authorities may decide to impose their own restrictions on hostelry businesses. Catalonia last week made the decision to to close all bars and restaurants except those serving take-away.

Q&A: What you can and can't do under Catalonia’s new restrictions



What about other restrictions put in place by regional authorities? 

The State of Emergency framework allows for individual regions to apply their own restrictions based on epidemiolgical data in each area. So in Catalonia the closure of all restaurants and bars except those serving take-away food will stay in place. 

Can we still travel?

That is to be determined by each regional authority who can decide to introduce perimeter confinements of a whole region, province, municipality or healthcare zone depending on the epidemiological situation. There are currently more than 76 municipalities with perimeter confinements in place as well as the entire regions of Navarra and La Rioja. 

Madrid has introduced limitations on 32 basic healthcare zones within 11 different municipalities across the region including parts of the capital. 





Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also