What changes in Spain For Members

Key points: Everything that changes about life in Spain in February 2023

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 4 Feb, 2023 Updated Sat 4 Feb 2023 08:42 CEST
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What changes about life in Spain in Feb 2023. Photos: P.E.Barbaix / Pixabay, PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP and Gabriel Bouys / AFP

From the end of masks on public transport and health worker strikes to an increase in the minimum wage and carnival celebrations, here's what changes about life in Spain in February.


End of face masks on public transport 

Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias recently confirmed that face masks would no longer be compulsory on public transport, a measure which has been in place in Spain for almost three years. The move is due to be approved during a meeting with the Spanish cabinet on February 7th and is usually published the following day in the Official State Gazette (BOE). This means that the official end to the mask rule looks set to be on February 8th.

READ ALSO: Spain announces end of public transport face mask rule

Applications open for cost of living subsidy

At the end of last year, the Spanish government announced a new €200 handout as part of a package of measures to help alleviate the rising cost of living. It’s available to families or households that earn under €27,000 per year. Applications to apply for the grant are open during a specific period from February 15th until March 31st, 2023. To find out about the benefit and how to apply, read more here.


Increase in minimum wage

The Spanish government on January 31st, announced an 8 percent rise in the interprofessional minimum wage (SMI). Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez confirmed that the new minimum wage would be €1,080 gross across 14 payments. Union bosses have hailed the move, saying it will affect some 2.5 million people and have a greater impact on women, young people and those with temporary contracts or working in the agriculture or the service sectors. 

Health strikes in Catalonia and Navarra

The union Metges de Catalunya has called for strikes for doctors and medical staff across Catalonia. The first two days were January 25th and 26th and the next three are scheduled for February 1st, 2nd and 3rd. 25,000 health professionals from health centres and hospitals across the region have been called to join the walkout. They are demanding more resources and personnel for the Catalan public health system and between 25 to 28 patient appointments per work shift of 12 minutes each.

Health workers have also been called to strike in Navarra, which will take place on February 1st.

READ ALSO - Key dates: How planned health service strikes in Spain could affect you

Public transport in Madrid to get cheaper

Madrid regional President Isabel Díaz Ayuso confirmed that from February 2023 the price of transport tickets would be discounted further to 60 percent until June 2023. This means that travellers using the Metro in zone A, EMT, and Light Rail, will see their price reduced from €8.10 to €6.10, while those who use the EMT and have a combined ticket with the metro will pay €9.10 compared to the current price of €12.80. 

READ ALSO - GUIDE: Where in Spain will local transport be free or cheaper in 2023?

Air traffic controllers strike

It’s not just health workers that are striking in February, as air traffic controllers have also been called to stage walkouts by the unions USCA and CCOO. The strike began on January 30th and will continue every Monday until February 27th during “all work shifts that begin between 00:00 and 24:00," they stated. Specifically, the strike days will occur on February 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th.

The airports affected by the strike will be A Coruña, Alicante-Elche, Castellón, Cuatro Vientos, El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Ibiza, Jerez, Lanzarote, La Palma, Lleida, Murcia, Sabadell, Sevilla, Valencia and Vigo.

Details of Spain's digital nomad visa have been finalised

The details of Spain’s much-anticipated digital nomad visa were finally published at the end of January, meaning that they are now open for applications. February could see a rush of applications from all over the world as digital nomads make plans to move to Spain. You can apply if you're a freelancer or remote worker from a non-EU country, as long as no more than 20 percent of your income comes from a Spanish company. Find out more about how to apply here

READ ALSO: Your questions answered about Spain’s digital nomad visa


The carnival season in Spain falls between February 16th and 22nd this year and cities across Spain will be celebrating with parades, fancy dress, singing, dancing and comedy. Each city in the country has its own unique way of celebrating, so you’ll find wherever you go, it will be slightly different. Some of the best carnival celebrations are held in Cádiz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Sitges, while the big cities of Barcelona and Madrid also put on a good show.


Santa Eulàlia and Light Festival festivities in Barcelona 

The city of Barcelona celebrates its Llum BCN light festival in the district of Poblenou from February 3rd to 5th. During this time, various innovative light installations are set up around the neighbourhood in universities, old factories and even car parks.

Barcelona will also be honouring one of its two patron saints - Santa Eulàlia who was a young Roman Christian girl who was martyred in Barcelona during the persecution of the Christians. From February 10th to 12th, the city celebrates with traditional parades of giants, music, dancing and correfocs or fire runs, where people dressed as devils spray fire throughout the streets. 


Possibility of a UK driving licence deal

On January 16th, the British Embassy in Madrid updated Brits in Spain on the latest UK driving licence negotiations, urging them to get a medical certificate in advance of an agreement. It confirmed that the agreement was now ready and had been passed on to the Spanish Cabinet for final approval. “These [cabinet] meetings take place each week and, while we have no control over the scheduling, we hope it will be tabled very soon,” the embassy Facebook post stated. 

Although they still didn't give an exact date on when drivers might be able to get back on the roads, it’s looking likely it could be sometime in February because the embassy was already urging drivers to take their psicotécnico medical tests ahead of a final deal and the certificates you are issued with are only valid for three months.

READ ALSO: What is the ‘psicotécnico’ medical test drivers might need to take in Spain?



The Local 2023/02/04 08:42

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