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What changes about life in Spain in March 2021

The Local Spain
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What changes about life in Spain in March 2021
Photos: STR, José Jordan, Fred SCHEIBER/AFP

March 2021 will bring with it updated travel bans, changes to daily regional restrictions and the start of the Easter holidays. Here's what you need to know about the month ahead.


More international travel restrictions

Travellers from countries outside the Schengen Area will not be able to make non-essential journeys to Spain until March 31st.

However, travellers from some countries with low infection rates will be able to make the journey, including those from Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, China and the regions of Hong Kong and Macao.

The Spanish government has also extended its travel ban on flights from the UK, South Africa and Brazil (except for Spanish nationals and residents) until March 16th to contain the new strains of coronavirus in those countries.

Spain and Portugal’s border closure has also been extended until March 16th.

Eased regional restrictions

Aragón, the Valencia region, the Balearics and the Canary Islands are among the Spanish regions that will ease their regional restrictions in March, a move which has led some epidemiologists to call for caution.

"In this country we are world champions in stumbling over the same stone and in the face of any good news, people push for restrictions to be eased and relaxed too quickly," epidemiologist Quique Bassat has said in response.

The easing of restrictions over the Christmas period is widely blamed among scientists for having caused a spike in infections which caused the third coronavirus wave in Spain.

You can find out in more detail what the restrictions are in your part of Spain here.



Clocks move forward an hour

In the early hours of Sunday March 29th the clocks will be put forward an hour in Spain, spelling the beginning of the summer schedule.

In 2019 EU Member States voted on whether to stop changing the clocks after 2021; Spain is yet to decide whether to stick to the summer or winter schedule. 

Changes to EU energy labelling of appliances

“To help EU consumers cut their energy bills and carbon footprint, a brand new version of the widely-recognised EU energy label will be applicable in all shops and online retailers from Monday, March 1st 2021,” the European Commission detailed on its website.

“The new labels will initially apply to four product categories – fridges and freezers, dishwashers, washing machines, and television sets (and other external monitors). New labels for light bulbs and lamps with fixed light sources will follow on 1 September, and other products will follow in the coming years.”

Vaccine campaign moves into third gear

The Spanish government has set itself the target of vaccinating 80 percent of its population above 80 years of age by the end of March.

Spain’s Health Ministry also hopes to double its vaccine supply from February’s 4 million doses to 8 million during March, with the arrival of the soon-to-be approved Janssen vaccine likely to allow for this.

Spain has tripled the speed at which it's inoculating its population and currently administers around 150,000 doses a day. 

The goal is for 70 percent of Spain’s 47 million peope to be vaccinated by the summer.


Controversial Women’s Day protests

March 8th marks International Women’s Day in Spain, a date which has been marked by large demonstrations in recent years calling for more action against gender violence, equal pay and other important causes.

However, with the pandemic far from being under control in Spain and restrictions on large gatherings still in place, Spain’s Health Ministry has recommended that these street marches don’t take place this year in order to avoid the “high risk” of infections.

Feminist groups have defended their right to protest, arguing that if other demonstrations such as anti-mask or anti-vaccine marches have been allowed to go ahead, theirs should as well.

Numerous marches have been called across cities in Spain, so you can expect the controversial matter to make headlines across Spain in March.

State aid for struggling self-employed and SMEs

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has pledged an extra €11 billion ($13.4 billion) to help struggling companies and the self-employed cope with the fallout of the pandemic, a sum which is set to be approved in early March and released to those who request it as soon as possible.


Easter holidays and other important dates

Easter, or Semana Santa as it’s called in Spain, officially starts on Sunday March 28th and ends on Sunday April 4th.

It’s a week that’s usually dominated by religious processions and huge gatherings in the streets, but this year as could be expected, all Easter celebrations in Spanish cities and towns have been cancelled.

Technically no day in March will be a public holiday in all of Spain, with April 1st being a non-work day everywhere except in Catalonia and the Valencia region and Friday (Viernes Santo) a holiday every in the country.

Other famous festivities such as Valencia’s Fallas, a spectacle of fire and plenty of noise, will not be taking place this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Saint Patrick’s Day falls on March 17th, but celebrations across Irish pubs in Spain are also likely to be limited.

Friday March 19 marks Father’s Day in Spain.


Easter travel breaks within Spain may be challenging

Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, the Basque country, Cantabria, Castilla y Leon, Catalonia, Ceuta and Melilla, Galicia, Murcia, Navarra, and Valencia currently do not allow people to leave and enter their regions, which makes a short Easter getaway within Spain impossible for many people.

Regional governments generally evaluate their coronavirus situation every two weeks, so stay tuned to The Local Spain as we will update you if any region lifts its border closure before Easter.

Madrid, the Canaries and Balearic Islands, Castilla-La Mancha, and Extremadura remain open to travellers entering and leaving their regions but restrictions or requirements may apply.

The Canary Islands for example have a rule in place until April 5th which allows people from other parts of Spain to visit the archipelago as long as they provide a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours before.

Spain's traffic authority goes digital

Spain's DGT has announced that from March 1st, it will be possible to do more than 30 processes online instead of in person at their offices. 

These include requesting an international driving licence, paying fees and fines online and ordering a duplicate of your licence if you've lost it or it's been stolen. 


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