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What changes in Spain in November 2020?

November 2020 will be a month marked by closed borders and curfews in Spain but there are other changes in store for people living in or visiting the country.

What changes in Spain in November 2020?
Photos: AFP

Closed borders until when?

The Spanish government has asked the regions that adopted the closed borders policy keep it in place until November 9th.

This includes all the autonomous communities in Spain except for the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and Extremadura.

Madrid’s regional government has defied the Moncloa national government by choosing to instead only close its borders on the All Saints’ long weekend that’s passed and their regional “puente” of La Almudena ending on November 9th.

But in other regions such as Andalusia, the regional government is in favour of keeping regional borders closed until the national state of emergency is over, which technically ends on November 9th but a six-month extension has already been approved.

READ MORE: What are the restrictions in place in each of Spain's regions right now?

Possible home lockdown in November?

November 9th is also the date which Spain’s socialist government has marked as when they will decide whether the current regional confinement measures and curfews have served to curb the spike in Covid-19 cases in much of Spain, or whether stricter actions are needed.

“Let’s not jump phases,” Vice President Carmen Calvo said on Tuesday, as the governments of Asturias and Castilla y La Mancha have already requested a return to the home confinement of last March.

New restrictions for restaurants and bars may well be implemented in regions with high coronavirus incidence rates (full closures were announced by Castilla y Leon on Tuesday) but the Spanish government is now running out of options other than a full stay-at-home lockdown, even though so far they’ve refused to confirm anything on the matter.

Covid test to visit the Canary Islands

Despite the fact that most of Spain isn’t open for leisure and non-essential travel, the Canary Islands hasn’t needed to implement the closed borders or curfew policies and is now welcoming European tourists.

However, from November 13th holidaymakers visiting the islands will have to present a negative Covid-19 test to check into their accommodation.

Visitors must show a PCR or negative antigen test carried out a maximum of 72 hours in advance of their arrival on the islands.

READ MORE: What we know about Canary Islands' compulsory Covid-19 tests for tourists

Changes to electricity bills in Spain

Spain’s National Commission of Markets and Competition decided back in February it would change its way of calculating the country’s rates of electricity transmission and distribution, a measure which comes into force this November.

Among the main changes are the ability to add different voltages to your contract (useful for electric car users) as well as modifications to the rates based on time brackets (there will be peak, flat and low hours).

The three time periods – period 1 (peak), period 2 (flat) and period 3 (low) – are illustrated in the diagram below.

More money for Madrid's struggling self-employed

Madrid is going to allocate €15 million to its “autónomo” workforce this November, the sector that is suffering the most from the coronavirus crisis.

A total of €7 million of this “Impulsa Plan” will be given as €3,200 aid packages to self-employed workers who can prove that they have been affected by the crisis and who have continued working during the pandemic.  

The beneficiaries must be self-employed workers without employees.

Aragón inheritance tax reduced

If you live in Aragón or have a close family member who lives there, here’s some good news.

Aragón has increased the amount of inheritance which is exempt from tax to €500,000, a measure which comes into force in November 2020.

Ryanair gives more flexibility to passengers scheduled to fly to Spain 

Customers who book their trips to Spain in November with the Irish carrier can change their tickets free of charge to travel until March 21st, 2021.

This is of particular interest to British tourists who may have booked flights to Spain before seeing how growing restrictions in the country could affect their holiday plans, as well as the UK's impeding return to lockdown on November 5th.  

The low-cost airline has explained these changes must be made at least seven days before the original date of departure.

“In order to provide as much flexibility and confidence as possible to our customers during the autumn months, we have extended the cancellation of the usual fees for flight changes to November bookings,” Ryanair said.

Photo: Jake Belucci/Flickr

Calçots season starts

There’s not a lot to look forward to during these difficult times, but if you live in Catalonia maybe you can get your loved ones together for a traditional calçots feast, as November is when calçots season starts.

In case you’re wonderig, calçots are a seasonal vegetable similar to leeks or spring onions grown in the area surrounding Barcelona and Tarragona.

The best way to try them is cooked on a barbecue accompanied by Romesco sauce, with local wine and a group of friends. ¡Bon profit!

READ MORE: Recipe: How to make, eat and enjoy calçots 

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New rules and laws: Everything that changes in Spain in July 2021

As the month of July kicks off in Spain, we take a close look at all the important changes that come with it, from vaccines to entry requirements, new VAT charges, car devices and more.

New rules and laws: Everything that changes in Spain in July 2021
Photos: Help Flash/AFP

Delta variant expected to become dominant in Spain 

Spanish researchers and public health officials believe the Delta variant of coronavirus, first identified in India, will become the dominant Covid-19 strain in Spain over the course of July.

On June 24th, the Delta variant accounted for four percent of the cases detected in Spain, three points more than the previous week.

In Catalonia, at least 20 percent of new cases are due to the Delta variant, the region’s health official Josep Maria Argimon told reporters at a press conference on June 17th, adding that it would be “predominant” in two to four weeks.

The Health Ministry has so far only officially recorded 62 cases of the Delta variant in Spain, but several regions have reported many more cases than this. Galicia has reported 25 Delta variant infections, while Castilla y León are investigating 83 possible cases. 

The variant has also been found in Andalusia, the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, the Valencian Community, Extremadura, Murcia, Navarra, La Rioja, Ceuta and Melilla.

READ MORE: How much is the Delta variant spreading in Spain?

Vaccines for thirty-somethings

In July, Spain’s vaccination campaign will focus largely on getting people in the 30 to 39 age group their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Many Spanish regions have already started inoculating those aged 35 to 39 towards the end of June, whilst Madrid has decided it will start allowing thirty somethings to book their vaccine appointments in July.

Administering second doses to those in their forties, fifties and sixties will also be a priority, especially for the latter group as only around 30 percent of the 60 to 69 age group have completed their vaccination treatment (roughly half that of people in their fifties). 

That’s in large part because the AstraZeneca vaccine has been reserved for this group and delivery delays and side-effect investigations have hampered its distribution. As a result, Spain’s Health Ministry has brought forward their second dose by two weeks. 

As of June 29th, 16 million people (35 percent of the population) have received their full vaccination treatment and more than half of the population (52 percent, 24.7 million people) have at least one dose.

To read all the latest vaccine news from Spain, visit The Local Spain’s Covid-19 section

Photo: Pau Barrena/AFP

New travel entry requirements 

July 1st marks the start of the requirement for British travellers to Spain to show proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR test.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez made the announcement on Monday June 28th with regards only to the Balearic Islands, but it has been widely reported that the requirement will apply to travel to all Spanish regions, to be confirmed in an official government bulletin on Tuesday. 

Conversely, Spain added the United States to the list of third countries that are exempt from presenting negative tests or vaccination certificates, meaning American travellers will able to visit Spain more easily during the month of July. 

To read all the latest travel news and information relating to Spain, visit The Local’s travel section

EU digital Covid pass launches

Still on the topic of travel, this digital ‘travel pass’ should make things a little easier if you’re venturing out of the country. 

The EU’s Digital Covid Certificate, as it’s officially known, launches across the bloc on July 1st, although Spain’s regions have made it available to their residents in June. 

In theory, people travelling from Spain to another EU/EEA country will be able to use their vaccination, testing or recovery certificates to get a QR code which allows for quicker and hassle-free travel in Europe. 

READ ALSO:

How to get a Digital Covid Certificate for travel from Spain to the EU

New VAT rules for imported goods

Imported goods with a value of €22 or less used to be exempt from tax, but this condition will be scrapped on July 1st across the EU. 

This means all goods arriving into Spain and other EU countries from non-EU countries will be subject to VAT, regardless of their value.

This EU-wide regulation will particularly affect businesses that import goods from outside of the bloc and people who shop online on international websites such as China’s AliExpress. 

If the goods cost more than €150 (not including transport, insurance and handling charges) you will also have to pay customs duty.

If businesses don’t register with the The Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS), the VAT will be paid by the customer when importing the goods into the EU. 

Postal or courier companies may charge the customer an additional clearance fee to collect this VAT and carry out the necessary procedures when importing the goods.

New device for cars in Spain

Back in January we reported how the warning triangles drivers in Spain have to carry in their cars in case of a breakdown are being phased out and replaced with these new emergency lights.

As of July 1st, drivers in Spain can use these DGT-approved V-16 emergency lights (luces de emergencia) instead of the warning triangles, although it won’t be obligatory to do so until 2026. 

Photo: Osram

VAT drop for electricity

The Spanish government’s bill to reduce the VAT on electricity from 21 to 10 percent in light of opposition to historically high rates comes into effect on July 1st.  

Last month we also reported how Spain’s main electricity access rates, the regulation costs of electricity which customers pay for, will no longer be frozen as they have been since 2018. 

The changes to the electricity rates means it has become more expensive to use electricity in the first part of the day from 10am – 2pm and in the evenings from 6pm – 10pm from Monday to Friday. The average times are between 8am – 10am, 2pm – 6pm and 10pm – midnight. 

READ ALSO: Spain’s new electricity rates for 2021 -the tricks to help you save up to €300 a year

July kicks off with a heatwave 

As is customary during the summer, July will bring suffocating heat to mainland Spain, with the mercury expected to hit 35 C in many areas. 

It hasn’t been a particularly scorching month of June in Spain but July is forecast to start with temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees higher than normal from Friday, the first heatwave of the year. 

That means that in parts of Andalusia and Murcia the temperature in the first weekend of July could be above 40 C. 

Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP

Ten single-use plastics officially banned

As of July 3rd, changes to the Packaging Act will come into force. 

Manufacturers will not be allowed to produce food and beverage containers made of Styrofoam from July. Furthermore cutlery, cosmetic cotton swabs, balloon sticks, stirrers, plates, bowls and drinking straws will also no longer be made from plastic.

If retailers and restaurants have remaining stocks, they can continue to hand them out so that they do not end up unused in the rubbish bin.

According to the EU Commission, the products prohibited under the law represent 70 percent of the waste that pours into oceans, posing a threat to wildlife and fisheries.

Money for staycations 

Twelve autonomous communities in Spain are offering their residents – and in some cases people from other parts of Spain-  holiday vouchers worth hundreds of euros as an incentive for them to spend their summer holidays in their part of the country.

These offers are available for the month of July, so if you want to find out more click on the link below. 

TRAVEL: Which regions in Spain are paying residents to go on staycations?

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