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

New rules and laws: Everything that changes in Spain in June 2021
Electricity rates, Covid passports and roadworthiness are just three of the changes to life in Spain in June 2021. Photos: Nicole Köhler/Pixabay, Toa Heftiba/Unsplash
As the summer season kicks off in Spain, there are plenty of changes that are expected to come into force, from Covid rules, to electricity rates and roadworthiness tests, vaccines and plenty more. 

Spain’s ‘Covid passports’

Spain’s Covid passports for travel are set to be launched this month. How much they will differ from the EU’s Green Digital Certificates isn’t clear yet but they are expected to work together within the bloc’s safe travel framework, that will facilitate easy travel between member states in July.

Spain is one of the EU countries which will take part in the pilot test for this digital system from June 7th, which contains information about whether a traveller has been vaccinated against Covid-19, received a negative Covid test result or recovered from Covid-19.

EU representatives are yet to confirm whether this system will be available to non-EU nationals who wish to travel to Spain. 

READ MORE:

The return of international tourists?

As the summer season kicks off in Spain, June is expected to be the month when many international holidaymakers return to the country, thanks to progress in the country’s vaccination rollout and the launch of the ‘Covid passport’.

UK nationals have been able to come without restrictions since May 24th (although quarantine is still required on return to UK) and all vaccinated tourists from outside of the EU/Schengen Area – “regardless of their country of origin” – can come from June 7th, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez stated. 

However, Spanish authorities have since extended the ban on non-essential travel from outside the EU and the Schengen Area until June 30th 2021, which calls into question the PM’s words. 

International cruise ships will also reportedly be able to dock in Spanish ports from June 7th, the Spanish government said recently, lifting a ban imposed when the Covid-19 pandemic began.

But will the tourists come en masse yet? Ongoing vaccination campaigns and a lack of confidence in international travel could mean that the 45 million tourists target Spain has set itself for this year is difficult to meet.

No more facemasks outdoors?

It’s been in the pipeline during the month of May and the country’s health emergencies coordinator Fernando Simón even said it would be “a matter of a few days” before the Spanish government scrapped the outdoor mask rule. 

But as Spain’s 17 autonomous communities have differing opinions about the easing of this rule and they also have a say in the legislation, when and how the new measure will come into effect is currently being debated. 

READ MORE: Which Spanish regions are likely to allow people to remove their masks outdoors?

Simón has since gone back on his words slightly and said that: “If the evolution of the epidemic continues as it is currently, if people are aware that control measures must be maintained for a time, I think it could be feasible to say that between mid-June and the end of June, or very probably at the beginning of July, the rule for mask in outdoor spaces will not be necessary anymore”.

A man wearing a face mask walks past a wall art mural in Ibiza town . (Photo by David GANNON / AFP)

Vaccine take-off

As of June 1st 2021, 18 million people – equal to 38 percent of Spain’s population – have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. More than 9.2 million people (19.4 percent of the population) have received the full vaccination treatment. 

In June the focus of Spain’s vaccine campaign will be 40 to 49 year olds, although people in their thirties are also expected to get their first dose this month.

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“Once the vast majority of citizens aged 70 to 79 have the complete vaccination this May, in June it will be the beginning of mass vaccination of those under 50 years of age”, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on May 17th.

A record 17 million vaccine doses are expected to arrive in Spain over the course of June, 4.6 million in the first week. 

Thirteen million of these will be Pfizer and 3.7 million will be of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines (referred as la vacuna Janssen in Spain). A further 1 million AstraZeneca doses are also expected to arrive and the delivery of Moderna inoculations are yet to be confirmed. 

This huge vaccine delivery should put Spain on track to meet its 70 percent immunity target for late August, especially if there are no setbacks that slow down the increasing pace of vaccination.

New roadworthiness test changes

On June 1st 2021 several new changes relating to Spain’s ITV roadworthiness test come into force. 

The new version of the ITV test is more in line with current vehicle technology and regulations and will include scenarios such as how to register vehicles from the UK in Spain, since the UK is no longer a member of the EU.

The main changes that will affect drivers are:

If the anti-lock braking system has some kind of fault, this goes from being considered a minor defect to a serious defect.

The possible detachment of the rearview mirrors is also considered a serious defect.

It will be possible to verify the data of the driver’s licence through the General Registry of Vehicles at the DGT, in case it is not presented at the ITV station.

Photo: Pexels/Pixabay

Emission testing on extended range electric vehicles (REEVs) or the identification of motorcycles with advanced emission control systems, will be more clearly specified.

These changes, especially the first two, can put the driver in a difficult situation because they are both grounds for rejection of the ITV, meaning you will not be allowed to drive the vehicle until it is rectified.  

If your car doesn’t pass the ITV test, you have to return it to the garage or ITV station to check the car again in less than two months.

Failure to do so or driving without an ITV can result in four different fines, which can cost up to €500.

If your vehicle is found to have serious defects, it is allowed to be driven to the garage, but the fine for driving outside of this parameter can reach up to €200.

According to AECA-ITV, there are a total of 2.5 million drivers who, in addition to not having their ITV up to date, are not covered by the corresponding insurance policy either.

To find out more about Spain’s roadworthiness test, click here

Changes to electricity rates

As of June 1st 2021, 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. 

This means that the costs of transporting and distributing electricity to homes were previously a fixed price, but now  the prices will be established by Spain’s National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC).

It will 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. 

The cheapest times will be in the early mornings on weekdays and all day on Saturday, Sunday, as well as national holidays.

READ MORE: How to save up to €300 a year with Spain’s new electricity rates

ERTE furlough scheme extension kicks off

The fifth extension of the ERTE scheme, which will run from June 1st until September 30th 2021, was agreed to in a last-minute deal between the Spanish government and the unions/business associations. 

 It currently supports 600,000 workers who are on temporary redundancy, allowing them to receive around 70 percent of their original salaries while the companies they work for remain closed due to the coronavirus crisis. 

However, the rules surrounding ERTE employers and employees’ exemption from having to pay social security contributions during this period have slightly changed; this was in fact the main stumbling block that prevented Spain’s government from announcing an extension before.

You can read more about the ERTE scheme and these changes here

(Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)

Summer sales start 

Even though Spain’s summer sales traditionally start on July 1st, many Spanish stores brought this date forward in 2020, eager to get business going again after the initial coronavirus lockdown.

The same is expected this year. The Inditex group brands (Zara, Stradivarius, Bershka, Uterqüe, Lefties, Pull & Bear, Oysho, Massimo Dutti and Zara Home) kicked off their sales season on June 25th in 2020 and it’s highly likely that this year they will repeat the strategy (June 23rd in online stores and June 24th in physical stores). 

The same applies to Spain’s flagship department store El Corte Inglés, which last year also started its sales on June 25th, and this year they’re expected to start on June 24th.

The heat is coming 

June 21st may be the official start of the summer season, but people in Spain may start to feel the heat before that, as meteorologically speaking the mercury often hits summer temperatures over 30 C in early June. 

2020 was the hottest year on record in Spain, and Spanish meteorology website eltiempo.es has forecast June will be a hot month, even though storms and a drop in temperatures are expected for the first days of the month. 

It’s expected to be particularly hot in Spain’s interior and temperatures will be higher than average across the mainland and the Balearic islands.

Since 1975, there have been 10 heat waves in June in Spain, and five in the last decade. Let’s hope that this June it doesn’t happen again.


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