Our lives in Spain are changing, no matter how you view Brexit

Our lives in Spain are changing, no matter how you view Brexit

While Brexit divides still run deep the reality for those on both sides is that their lives in Spain are soon going to change as transition nears an end, writes Sue Wilson from Bremain in Spain.

On the last day of June, the deadline for the Brexit transition period extension passed, almost unnoticed.

The British government has always insisted it would not seek an extension, even though one was on the EU table. This position may have been justifiable before the coronavirus crisis, but not under current circumstances. 

The EU/UK negotiators have just a few months to agree a trade deal and cement a future relationship. Although the transition period expires at the end of 2020, an agreement will need to be reached by October to allow time for ratification. 

Should an agreement not be reached, the UK will be forced – perhaps willingly – to trade on World Trade Organisation terms. That would see tariffs on goods, customs inspections at borders, and additional costs and administration – none of which have been adequately prepared for in the UK.

For UK residents, that will probably mean a further significant economic downturn, food and medical shortages, job losses, and more. For those of us living in Spain, many of the EU citizenship rights we have enjoyed will finally cease, and we can expect the Pound/Euro exchange rate to decline further.

A no-trade-deal Brexit is not the same as the much-feared no-deal of 2019, when all our rights were at stake. We now have a deal that protects many of our rights, including ongoing healthcare and pension provisions.

Those are protected for our lifetimes by the Withdrawal Agreement – a legally-binding, international treaty. People who are not of retirement age on 1 January 2021 will qualify for their S1 pension/healthcare when they reach retirement, if they have the required UK National Insurance contributions.

Other citizens’ rights have not been agreed, and probably won’t be, even if the EU and UK reach a trade deal. The loss of our freedom of movement as EU citizens will have the greatest impact. This signifies more than our ability to travel freely, or to work/study anywhere in Europe – it’s also about where we live. 

You can read the article in full over at The Local.

Bremainers Ask ….. Joan Pons Laplana

Bremainers Ask ….. Joan Pons Laplana

Nurse/activist Joan Pons Laplana is originally from Barcelona and has lived in the UK since 2000. He has spearheaded a number of campaigns, including Kissing Goodbye to Sepsis, for which he won the BJN Nurse of the Year award in 2018. Since the Brexit referendum Joan has also campaigned to protect the rights of British citizens in the EU and EU citizens in UK.

Pat Kennedy

Do you think there will be any incentive, after Brexit, for Spanish nurses to go to the UK to work in the NHS?

No. Ending EU citizens’ freedom of movement will kill the NHS. Since 2010 the working conditions here in Great Britain have deteriorated, nurses’ salaries have been frozen while the cost of living has increased 20% during the same period. On the top of that, since the referendum in 2016, the pound is not as strong as it used to be, which means the salaries in other European countries are now more attractive.

Also, the Spanish nursing regulators have indicated that they will no longer recognise UK nursing experience for Spanish nationals post-Brexit. The WHO estimates that the world will need an additional nine million nurses and midwives by 2030. What Boris Johnson and his government don’t seem to realise is that nurses and doctors are highly valued and in high demand in other parts of the world. The lack of staffing is compromising the delivery of safe care and we have a ticking bomb in our hands. Freedom of movement is one of the main reasons why our beloved NHS is still standing on its feet. The end of free movement will probably be the last nail in the coffin. By creating barriers and making it more difficult for foreign nurses to come, it will have a huge impact on the number of nurses choosing to work in the UK. With the current situation, why would a European nurse come to the UK?

Would I have come to Great Britain 20 years ago without freedom of movement, and with the current hostile environment created by Brexit? The answer is no.

Joan 4

Juliet Smith

How do you feel about the governments u-turn on medical care for EU key workers? How did that impact on you personally and your colleagues, and the relationship with his patients?

The government have not done a u-turn yet. Foreign NHS workers and carers are still being charged for using the health service, despite the Prime Minister’s pledge to scrap these fees “as soon as possible”. The date when fees will be scrapped is still not known and guidance has not yet been released by the Department of Health and Social Care. Looking at Mr Johnson’s track record, I do not trust his word at all. If the tax is not scrapped, that will have a significant impact on recruitment and retention as nurses will choose other places to go, increasing staff shortages and making it even more difficult to provide safe care.

How has the clap for carers made EU key workers feel?

I have mixed feelings about the clapping. I would like recognition more than the clapping, I would like something better with laws, we need minimum safe staffing laws that we don’t have in this country and I think it’s dangerous, and we deserve a well-earned pay rise. Despite nurses being given a pay rise by Health Secretary Matt Hancock last year, inflation and austerity meant in real terms there has not been much of a change.

What advice would you give nursing staff and other key workers from EU countries about coming and living in the UK, post Brexit and Corona?

Unless the government change their rhetoric and make Britain more welcoming, I would not advise anyone from the EU to come and live in the UK. Simple as that.

Caroline Guerrero 

Have you experienced any animosity towards you at work and do you think people’s opinions of foreigners working in the NHS has changed since the Covid-19 crisis?

Brexit has turned our lives upside down. Things did not happen overnight; instead, little by little, I have seen attitudes towards migrants change. Tensions had been building up slowly, but Brexit was like the cork being pulled out of the champagne bottle. After nearly two decades, I no longer feel welcome or valued. That hostility has disappeared, now people are not bothered about my accent, they’re just happy to see me and happy that I’m a nurse.

Joan 3

In a way the Covid crisis have brought back the sense of belonging because in the past few years, as a non-British national, I felt a bit ‘not wanted’ from the Government and part of society. In a way, we’ve come back to when I came here years ago. It doesn’t matter where you come from. Even the government have changed their rhetoric. We’ve gone from being low-skilled workers to key workers.

I hope that this change of attitude will carry on after but somehow, I am a bit sceptical. I have no doubt that the current government will return to the hostile environment as soon as they need the votes from the far right.

Tony Isaac 

We are already seeing the UK disengaging from the EU in areas like equipment procurement, security cooperation and track and tracing programmes & medical research and EU-wide clinical trials are also likely to be casualties of Brexit. What impact do you think these issues will have for public health in the UK?

We are already seeing the UK disengaging from the EU in areas like equipment procurement, security cooperation and track and tracing programmes, and medical research and EU-wide clinical trials are also likely to be casualties of Brexit.

Britain has always been a world leader in medical research but now Brexit threatens that with EU funding being withdrawn. Warnings of medicines shortages and delays in the supply of vital equipment and medical isotopes used in cancer treatment, and concerns about the NHS workforce crisis being made even worse, are not scaremongering. It’s the grim reality facing our precious NHS.

The Covid crisis has put a big emphasis on the importance of collaboration between countries. Despite that Britain seems to continue driving itself towards self-destruction. The contract-tracing charade is a clear example.

Joan 2

John Bentley 

To what extent are you concerned that the UK will adopt a more “free market”, privatised approach to healthcare as a result of the increased trading with the USA post-Brexit & how would any such changes affect NHS workers, patients, and the healthcare system in general?

As Mr Trump said, when you’re dealing in trade everything is on the table including the NHS. The UK is desperate to have a trade deal with the USA and that will come at a price. The US wants prices to be “market-derived” or “competitive” which would likely mean significantly higher than current guidelines.
Drug prices in America have soared since protections were removed in the 1990s. Studies have found that popular medicines are three times more expensive in the US than the UK. For individual drugs the differences can be vast. A trade deal with the US would be the death knell of the NHS and would open the door for an insurance-based healthcare system. As the costs will rise exponentially, it will be impossible for the government to fund the NHS. An estimated 530,000 American families turn to bankruptcy each year because of medical issues and bills.

Access to free healthcare should be a human right. I do not want to live in a society that the first priority when someone becomes ill is to ask for their wallet. At that point I will resign from being a Nurse.

Joan has recently been featured in La Vanguardia, for his involvement in Oxford University’s clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine. You can read the full story here.

Next month’s Bremainers Ask feature will be something a little different. It is your opportunity to put questions to our Chair, Sue Wilson. Please email your questions to enquiries@bremaininspain.com or add them to the ‘announcement’ post in the Facebook group. Thanks!

If Brits visit Spain let’s hope they follow the guidelines

If Brits visit Spain let’s hope they follow the guidelines

The news that Brits can now visit Spain has been greeted with mixed emotions, writes Sue Wilson from Bremain in Spain group.

After 14 weeks of lockdown measures, including several extensions requested by Pedro Sanchez, the ‘state of alert’ in Spain is finally over.
The local, national and international world we inhabit has changed, along with our behaviour and attitudes.
With appropriate caution, Spain and its residents are opening for business again.
Despite considerable economic damage and future economic threats, the Spanish government is taking things slowly.
Demands from business and industry, especially the tourism sector, must be weighed against the serious health risks of a second Covid spike.
The “new normality” is a far cry from the old normality, but the air of caution is welcomed by many people. While various restrictions have been removed – especially concerning our mobility – many health and safety measures still apply, such as the wearing of face masks.

The New Normality

The end of mobility restrictions will see the biggest change to our lockdown habits, as visitors travel across regional and national borders for the first time in months.
The biggest grey area is travel arrangements between Britain and Spain. After the Spanish government announced that its borders would open to visitors from EU countries, people wondered if the UK – currently half-in and half-out of the EU – would be included.
An announcement from the Embassy in Madrid to British residents in Spain confirmed that this was the case.

To read the article in full, head over to The Local. 

Lockdown in Spain

Lockdown in Spain

On 14 March 2020, Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez announced the lockdown to the nation, effectively banning people from leaving their homes except to go to work or buy essential supplies.

The ‘state of alert’, initially scheduled to last for 15 days, is reviewed on a fortnightly basis, and has and will be extended as appropriate. The Spanish government will continue to monitor the effectiveness of their lockdown measures, and further extensions will be considered, as and when necessary, to keep the public safe.

The lifting of restrictions will be phased in as appropriate, with the timing of each new phase being considered on a regional basis.

Read the STOP PRESS section for the latest updates as they happen. You can also find USEFUL LINKS at the bottom of the page. 


June 20: ‘State of alert’ ends at midnight June 21

After 14 weeks of lockdown measures, ‘the ‘state of alert’ is finally coming to an end. Mobility restrictions will be removed, but hygiene & safety measures, to protect against a resurgence of the coronavirus, will remain in place. These measures include the compulsory use of face masks when it is not possible to maintain a safe distance of 1.5 metres.

The “new normality” measures will remain in place until the pandemic is considered to be over.

Please note that any further updates, relating to future coronavirus measures, will appear on our new webpage: The “New Normality”

JUNE 14: Spain prepares for the final phase of lockdown measures from Monday 15 June

Most regions of Spain will enter the final de-escalation phase on 15 June, leading up to the end of the ‘state of alert’ on 21 June.

Phase 3 changes to lockdown measures

Exercise: all time bands completely removed

Meetings: Maximum number now 20 people but still observing social distancing & safety measures

Play areas: Public swings and playgrounds will open

Shops: All can now open, maximum capacity of 50%

Shopping centres: Common areas open at 40% capacity & observing social distancing measures; shops within shopping centres open at 50% capacity

Markets: 50% of the usual stalls can open

Hotels: Opening of common areas, including swimming pools & spas, at 50% capacity

Bars & Restaurants: Terraces open at 75% capacity, with a maximum occupancy of 20 people per table, indoor areas at 50% capacity

Pubs & clubs: 1/3 of its capacity, excluding dance floors

Funerals: Maximum 50 people in open spaces or 25 in closed spaces

Weddings & religious sites: Maximum of 150 people outdoors, 75 indoors, but not more than 75% maximum capacity

Cinemas, theatres: Pre-assigned seats with 50% of the capacity

Outdoor shows: maximum 800 people, seated & respecting social distancing

Museums, exhibition halls, cultural shows & libraries: maximum capacity of 50% & groups of up to 20

Casinos, gaming & recreational rooms: 50% capacity

Active & nature tourism: Allowed with groups of up to 30 people, or 20 people with a guide

Recreational centres, zoos & aquariums: 50% capacity, limited to 1/3 of capacity in closed spaces

Beach: Bathing is allowed on the beaches respecting social distancing & safety measures

Sports: Competitive sport can return, sports centres at 30% capacity


The use of a mask is mandatory on public roads, outdoor spaces & in closed spaces, when it is not possible to maintain a safe distance of at least 2 metres

JUNE 11: Compulsory 14-day quarantine will end July 1

The government are taking a series of steps to re-activate the tourist industry and have given a green light to a pilot scheme in the Balearic Islands.

From June 15, German visitors will be allowed to visit the Balearics – a similar scheme proposed for the Canaries was rejected by the regional authorities. This option will not be available for tourists from Britain, though talks are underway with the British authorities. Other regions are being invited by the government to launch their own pilot schemes.

Tourists arriving in the Balearics will have to complete a health form, have their temperature taken, provide contact details & confirm where they will be staying.

A similar process will be applied at all airports once Spain enters the ‘new normality’.

JUNE 10: Cabinet approve Royal Decree for the ‘New Normality’

Health Minister, Salvador Illa, announced yesterday measures that will be put in place until the government declares “that the crisis is over”. These safety measures will take effect once the ‘state of alert’ comes to an end on June 21.

The decree, which will be published in due course, includes the mandatory use of face masks in closed spaces, where a distance of 1.5 meters cannot be observed. The application of restrictions will fall to regional authorities. The legislation will also set out safety measures to be observed in schools, workplaces, hotels and shops.

JUNE 10: Cabinet approve Royal Decree for the ‘New Normality’

Health Minister, Salvador Illa, announced yesterday measures that will be put in place until the government declares “that the crisis is over”. These safety measures will take effect once the ‘state of alert’ comes to an end on June 21.

The decree, which will be published in due course, includes the mandatory use of face masks in closed spaces, where a distance of 1.5 meters cannot be observed. The application of restrictions will fall to regional authorities. The legislation will also set out safety measures to be observed in schools, workplaces, hotels and shops.

JUNE 5: New phase changes from 8 June

Health Minister, Salvador Illa, has announced the areas that will change phases on June 8. 52% of the Spanish population will now be in Phase 3 of the de-escalation process.

Central government will allow regional authorities to take control of the de-escalation process and decide how long this last phase should last.

Phase 1 to Phase 2

  • Castilla y León
  • Cataluña: Barcelona, Metropolitana Norte, Metropolitana Sur & Lleida
  • Madridnidad Valenciana will stay in phase 2.

Phase 2 to Phase 3

  • Andalucía
  • Aragón
  • Asturias
  • Islas Baleares
  • Canarias
  • Cantabria
  • Castilla-La Mancha: Guadalajara & Cuenca
  • Cataluña: Alt Pirineu i Aran, Terres de l’Ebre & Camp de Tarragona
  • Extremadura
  • Galicia
  • La Rioja
  • Navarra
  • Melilla
  • Murcia
  • País Vasco

Areas not mentioned will stay in their current phase. The Comunidad Valenciana will stay in phase 2.


For more Covid-related news (in English), go to the government website: https://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/covid-19/Paginas/index.aspx

For more news on this story, read El Pais here: https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-06-05/more-than-half-of-spain-moving-to-phase-3-of-coronavirus-deescalation-plan-on-monday.html

JUNE 3: Final extension to ‘state of alert’ agreed by parliament

Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, secured a sixth and final extension today for the ‘state of alert’. The emergency powers were put in place on March 14, with the aim of halting the spread of the coronavirus. The measures will now stay in place until June 21 – a total of 14 weeks.

Next week, the Cabinet will approve a Royal Decree regarding health regulations and measures that will be in place as Spain exits the crisis.

These measures and regulations will be implemented jointly with regional governments, until such time as a vaccine is available.

MAY 31: Further relaxation of lockdown measures from June 1

Health Minister, Salvador Illa, has announced the latest relaxation of lockdown measures, effective from June 1. These measures are expected to last for 14 days, though some regional authorities have requested permission to speed up the process. Over 32 million Spanish residents – 70% of the population – will now be in phase 2 of lockdown measures.

Moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2:

  • Andalucia – Granada & Málaga
  • Valencian Community – Castellón, Valencia, Alicante
  • Castilla-La Mancha – Ciudad Real, Albacete, Toledo
  • Murcia – Totana
  • Catalonia – Girona, Cataluña Central, Alt Penedès, El Garraf
  • Castilla y León – area of El Bierzo

Moving from Phase 2 to Phase 3:

  • Balearic Islands – Formentera
  • Canary Islands – La Gomera, El Hierro & La Graciosa

For further details on what’s allowed during lockdown phase 2, scroll down this webpage.


MAY 26: Quarantine for overseas visitors will be lifted on 1 July

At an inter-ministerial meeting yesterday, conducted by video call, government ministers agreed to lift the coronavirus quarantine for visitors from overseas.

Foreign Minister, Arancha González said that “the most difficult part is behind us. From July we will gradually reactivate international tourism, we will lift the quarantine and ensure safe health conditions.”

MAY 23: Foreign tourists can return to Spain from July

Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez today announced the latest government measures during the coronavirus crisis and confirmed that the virus reproduction rate is now at 0.20.

The tourist sector can now start preparing for the summer season with Spain being open to foreign tourist from July. Sánchez encouraged Spaniards to start planning their vacations and said tourism would return “in safe conditions”.

In addition, Sánchez confirmed that the Spanish football championship will recommence w/c 8 June.

Read more in El Pais here: https://english.elpais.com/politics/2020-05-23/spanish-pm-foreign-tourists-will-be-able-to-return-to-spain-from-july.html


MAY 23: Lockdown restrictions loosened in municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants

New measures will take effect, regardless of which phase municipalities are currently in, as long as social distancing measures are observed:



  • bars and restaurants can open – capacity restricted to 40%
  • restrictions on exercising during scheduled timeslots will be lifted
  • outdoor markets can open – with restrictions on occupancy
  • churches can open – capacity restricted to 50%
  • funerals can be attended by 15 people indoors, 25 outdoors

For those municipalities already in Phase 1

  • meetings with friends can increase from 10 to 15 people
  • outdoor sports facilities can be used – maximum 30% capacity

Further details can be found, in Spanish, in Boletín Oficial del Estado No. 144, on the government website: https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2020/05/22/


MAY 22: New changes to lockdown phases effective from Monday 25 May

Health Minister, Salvador Illa, has announced further areas of Spain that will change phases on 25 May.


  • Castilla y León: Ávila, Segovia, Soria, Burgos, Palencia, León, Zamora, Salamanca y Valladolid.
  • Cataluña: zonas sanitarias de ciudad de Barcelona, Metropolitana Sud y Metropolitana Nord.
  • Madrid


  • Andalucía: Almería, Córdoba, Cádiz, Huelva, Jaén y Sevilla.
  • Aragón: Huesca, Zaragoza y Teruel.
  • Asturias
  • Islas Baleares: Ibiza, Menorca y Mallorca.
  • Canarias: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura y La Palma.
  • Cantabria
  • Castilla-La Mancha: Guadalajara y Cuenca.
  • Cataluña: zonas sanitarias de Campo de Tarragona, Alto Pirineo y Arán y Las Tierras del Ebro.
  • Extremadura: Cáceres y Badajoz.
  • Galicia: Lugo, La Coruña, Orense y Pontevedra.
  • Murcia
  • Navarra
  • País Vasco: Guipúzcoa, Vizcaya y Álava
  • La Rioja
  • Ceuta
  • Melilla

The whole of the Valencian Community remains in Phase 1.

Source: https://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/Paginas/index.aspx

What’s allowed in Phase 2

  • Restaurants (those without terraces), theatres and cinemas can open but ‘with limitations’ – 1/3 capacity and with table service
  • Outdoor cultural events can be held with a maximum of 400 people – but only if seated and with social distancing measures in place.
  • Cultural gatherings indoors can be held with a maximum of 50
  • Historic visitor attractions (not theme parks) and monuments can open with 1/3 capacity, and for pre-arranged group or guided visits only.

For further information, read Spain in English here: https://www.spainenglish.com/2020/05/22/lifting-lockdown-spain-full-details-phases/

MAY 21: ‘State of alert’ extended until 7 June

Congress has narrowly voted in favour of a further 2-week extension to the ‘state of alert’, to 7 June.

It is expected that Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez will ask for one further and final extension after this one. The timing would then coincide with the national coronavirus de-escalation plan, which will be coming to an end, late June, across most of the country. 

On 20 May, the number of deaths recorded rose slightly to 110, after 3 consecutive days of less than 100 deaths. The number of new cases daily also continues to fall.

The Prime Minister told Congress, “The state of alarm will not last one day longer than necessary. Nobody has the right to throw away what we have all achieved together”.

For more on this story, read El Pais here: https://english.elpais.com/spanish_news/2020-05-20/spanish-pm-finds-support-in-congress-for-fifth-extension-to-state-of-alarm.html

MAY 20: The wearing of face masks is made mandatory from 21 May

The new rules regarding the compulsory wearing of face masks will come into effect on Thursday 21 May, except in certain circumstances.

See graphic from N332 (Road Safety Association) for further details or read the Boletín Oficial del Estado no. 142, from the Agencia Estatal here: https://boe.es/boe/dias/2020/05/20/

MAY 18: The wearing of face masks to become mandatory in public spaces

On Sunday May 17, Health Minister, Salvador Illa announced that the Ministry of Health will shortly make the wearing of face masks compulsory in public spaces. Until now, it has only been required to wear masks on public transport. Work is currently under way to draft a ministerial order, which will be published “in the coming days”.

It is likely that the wearing of masks will become obligatory in businesses and closed public spaces, but it is unclear as to whether they will be required on the street.

MAY 18: Relaxation of exercise restrictions in some areas

The current measures allocating exercise timetables to specific groups of people are likely to be relaxed in some areas. At present, municipalities with less than 5,000 inhabitants are exempt from these restrictions, and all residents are free to exercise at any time of day. They must, however, abide by other regulations, i.e. once a day only, maximum of 1 hour, within 1 km radius of their residence and with only one other family member.

These timetable restrictions will soon also be removed for municipalities with up to 10,000 inhabitants.

Further details will be announced shortly, but read here more in El Pais:

MAY 17: Prime Minister Sánchez to ask Congress for one last extension to ´state of alert´

The Spanish PM made a televised address yesterday afternoon, announcing his intention to request one last extension, this time for one month. He said the de-escalation process would be completed in half of the country by the beginning of summer.

He stated that the lockdown was working and that “the path we are taking is the only one possible”.

For the full story, read the article in El Pais here: https://english.elpais.com/politics/2020-05-16/spanish-pm-will-request-one-last-extension-of-the-state-of-alarm-this-time-for-a-month.html

MAY 16: Lockdown restriction changes – areas moving to new phases effective from 18 May

Health Minister, Salvador Illa, announced changes this weekend to the lockdown levels in certain areas. Further information will be available soon.

Phase 0 to Phase 1

  • Malaga
  • Granada
  • All of Valencian Community
  • Some areas of Castilla & León
  • All of Cataluña, except for Metropolitan Barcelona
  • Cuidad Real
  • Toledo
  • Cuenca

Phase 1 to Phase 2

  • Islands of Formentera, La Gomera, El Hierro & La Graciosa

Source: N332 – Road Safety Association

MAY 16: Non-essential travel restrictions extended for international travellers

Effective immediately, restrictions for non-essential travel have been extended until 15 June.

The order stipulates that the authorities may turn away EU citizens and their relatives for public health reasons, if they are not “registered as residents of Spain, or headed directly to their place of residence in another members state, Schengen-associated state or Andorra”.

The travel restrictions will therefore extend beyond the current termination date of the ´state of alert´.

Source: Boletín Oficial del Estado – No. 136, 15 May.

For further information (in Spanish), go to the official government website here: https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2020/05/15/

Or read more on this subject in El Pais here: https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-05-15/spain-to-extend-restrictions-on-international-travelers-until-june-15.html

May 12: Two-week quarantine for all overseas travellers from 15 May

The Spanish government has ordered a two-week quarantine for all overseas travellers entering the country in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Incoming travellers will have to remain indoors except to shop for essentials such as food and medicine.

The quarantine will remain in force throughout the duration of the “state of alert”, which is currently due to end on 24 May.

The measures apply to all travellers, including Spanish citizens returning to the country. Only lorry drivers, airplane and ship crews, cross-border workers and health staff who are entering Spain to work will be exempt.

Read more on this story from El Pais here: https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-05-12/spain-to-introduce-14-day-quarantine-for-international-travelers.html

MAY 11: British Embassy provides updates re Phase 1 de-escalation measures

As of today, many parts of Spain are moving into Phase 1, while others remain in Phase 0. The timetables & existing rules for walks & exercise remain in place during both phases, but regional governments may introduce some changes.

One important rule change is regarding travelling in private vehicles. Those who live in the same residence will now be able to travel in the same car, occupying all of the seats, & without the need to wear masks.

Please see the infographics for further details but note that these do not include all measures. Full details can be found on the Spanish government website here: https://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/covid-19/Paginas/index.aspx

For further details direct from the British Embassy, go to their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/BritsInSpain/

MAY 9: Spanish government announce areas of Spain that will implement Phase 1 next week

From Monday 11 May, selected areas will implement Phase 1 of de-escalation measures, expected to last for two weeks. In some regions, the designated areas have been selected based on “health zones” rather than provinces. Travel outside of your province will not be permitted.

Those areas not selected will remain in Phase 0 for the time being. Further announcements will be made in due course.

For further details, in Spanish, read the Agencia Estatal ‘Boletín Oficial del Estado´ here: 

Or read the article – “As half of Spain moves to Phase 1 of coronavirus deescalation, what will change?” – in El País here: 

MAY 6: State of Alert extended until May 24

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has today secured a fourth extension to the state of alert. He warned that a further extension of ‘several more weeks’ would be needed to see Spain through the four-stage de-escalation process. Sánchez stressed the need to limit freedom of movement in order to defeat the virus, saying that it would be a ‘grave irresponsibility, an absolute and unforgivable error’ to end the state of alert too soon.


MAY 2: Prime Minister announces the lifting of some lockdown restrictions, effective May 4

  • Small businesses, such as bookstores, garages, hardware stores, clothing or shoe repair workshops, hairdressers, will be able to open with the following conditions:

⇒ Only by prior appointment
⇒ One customer per employee only
⇒ Special timetable for seniors (to coincide with their allotted exercise time slots)

  • Restaurant and bars may open for takeaway food only, with orders being placed over the phone/on the internet
  • Face masks will be obligatory on public transport -14.5 million masks will be distributed via transport hubs, municipalities & social institutions
  • Given the low level of infections, the Spanish islands of Formentera, El Hierro, La Graciosa & La Gomera will see further relaxation of lockdown measures

The prime minister also announced his intention to request a further two-week extension to the ‘state of alert’.

For further information, read El Pais in English here: https://english.elpais.com/politics/2020-05-02/spanish-pm-face-masks-will-be-obligatory-on-public-transport-from-monday.html

Or read El Mundo in Spanish here: https://www.elmundo.es/espana/2020/05/02/5ead5b22fdddff28048b45ce.html


MAY 1: Full conditions of relaxation of lockdown restrictions regarding exercise – effective from May 2 2020

Translated from BOE – https://www.boe.es/eli/es/o/2020/04/30/snd380

Article 2. Movements allowed for the practice of physical activity.

  1. People aged 14 and older may circulate on roads or spaces for public use for the practice of physical activities permitted by this order, in accordance with article 7.1(e), (g) and (h) of Royal Decree 463/2020 of 14 March declaring the state of alarm for the management of the health crisis situation caused by COVID-19.
  2. For the purposes of this order, the non-professional practice of any individual sport that does not require contact with third parties, as well as walks, is permitted.
    Such activities may be carried out once a day and during the time slots provided for in Article 5.
  3. During walks you can go out accompanied by one person with whom you live. However, those persons who have to be accompanied may also go with a person employed by a care home or regular caregiver.

Non-professional individual sports that do not require contact can only be performed individually. However, persons who have to be accompanied may go out with a person with whom they live, a person employed by a care home or a regular caregiver.

  1. Walks shall be taken no more than one kilometre from the home. This limitation shall not apply to the non-professional practice of any individual sport, this being permitted within the municipality where you reside.
  2. Persons who have symptoms or are in home isolation due to a diagnosis for COVID-19 or who are in a period of home quarantine because they have had contact with any person with symptoms or diagnosed with COVID-19 may not make use of the permissions contained in paragraph 1. In addition, residents of senior social health centres may not make use of such permission.
  3. The movements referred to in this Article do not affect those generally permitted in Article 7 of Royal Decree 463/2020, March 14, as well as under Order SND/370/2020, of April 25, on the conditions under which outings by children must take place during the health crisis caused by COVID-19.

Article 3. Requirements for avoiding contagion

  1. During the practice of the physical activities authorised under this order, individuals must maintain a distance of at least two metres from others.
  2. Avoid busy areas and spaces where people may gather.
  3. As far as possible, the physical activity permitted under this order must be carried out continuously, without stopping unnecessarily in streets or public spaces. When it is necessary to stop in the street or a public space, due to the physical condition of the individual, this pause should only be for the time strictly necessary.
  4. All the prevention and hygiene measures related to COVID-19 recommended by the health authorities must be observed.
  5. To enable persons to maintain safe distances, local authorities may redistribute the use of public spaces to favour pedestrians and cyclists, in that order.

Article 4. Permitted spaces.

  1. Persons may circulate on any road or public space, including authorised natural spaces and green areas, provided these respect the limits established in this order.
  2. It is not permitted to enter closed sports facilities to practice the activities allowed under this order.
  3. It is not permitted to use a motorised vehicle or public transport to travel to streets or public spaces in order to practice the activities allowed under this order.

Article 5. Time slots.

  1. The following time slots are established for the practice of the activities allowed under article 2.2:
  2. a) Individual sports and walks may only take place between 6 am and 10 am and 8 pm and 11 pm.
  3. b) Persons who need to be accompanied and persons over 70 may practice individual sport and walk between 10 am and 12 pm and between 7 pm and 8 pm. Persons over 70 may be accompanied by a person between the ages of 14 and 70 who lives with them.
  4. The time slots indicated in this order will not apply to municipalities, or smaller, separate populated areas within a municipality forming an administrative area, which have a population of 5,000 or less, where the activities allowed under this order may take place between 6 am and 11 pm.
  5. Exceptionally, these time slots do not apply when, for duly accredited medical reasons, physical activity is recommended in another period, or because the persons accompanying older people, minors or the disabled cannot do so within the allotted time slot.

El Pais Interactive map: How far can adults go for a walk under Spain’s relaxed confinement measures? https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-05-01/interactive-map-how-far-can-adults-go-for-a-walk-under-spains-relaxed-confinement-measures.html


APRIL 30: Relaxation of lockdown restrictions regarding exercise, effective from 2/5/20

The Spanish health authorities today announced new rules for outdoor activity. Health Minister, Salvador Illa, said that individuals can go out once a day, within their own municipality of residence, without making contact with third parties. Sports are also allowed as long as practiced individually.

Adults will be able to walk alone, or with one other family member, for up to an hour, and within one kilometre radius of their residence.

  • Walks and sport for healthy adults: 6.00-10.00 and 20.00-23.00
  • Walks for dependent persons (with a caregiver) and over-70s: 10.00-12.00 and 19.00-20.00
  • Exercise with children (under current conditions): 12.00-19.00

In municipalities with less than 5000 inhabitants, time restrictions will not apply, though all activities must take place between 6.00 and 23.00.


APRIL 28: Prime Minister announces de-escalation plan

In a press conference today, Pedro Sánchez announced that the Council of Ministers have approved a de-escalation plan for lockdown.

There will be no fixed dates for certain phases of de-escalation, but the situation will be reviewed every 2 weeks, & each new phase will last for a minimum of 2 weeks.

The phases will be the same in every region/area/territory of Spain but will be implemented at different speeds, dependent on the evolution of the virus. If all goes to plan, the “new normality” could happen by the end of June.

For further details, read here: https://english.elpais.com/spanish_news/2020-04-28/spanish-government-will-avoid-setting-dates-for-deescalation-measures.html


APRIL 26: Spain may allow confined citizens out for walks on May 2, says Prime Minister Sánchez

From today, rules are being relaxed allowing children under 14 to accompany a parent on a short walk.

At an evening news conference on April 25, the prime minister stated that if contagion figures continue to go down, lockdown rules would be relaxed even further. 

👩‍👧‍👧👨‍👧‍👧Las niñas y niños menores de 14 años ya pueden salir a pasear. La norma es fácil de aplicar con la fórmula de los 4 1⃣:1⃣adulto1⃣ vez 1⃣ hora1⃣ kmHazlo con responsabilidad y cumpliendo con las medidas de higiene y distancia de seguridad.#EsteVirusLoParamosUnidos

Posted by Ministerio de Sanidad on Sunday, 26 April 2020

Sánchez said, “If the evolution of the pandemic keeps moving in a positive manner, starting on May 2 outings will be allowed for individual activity and for walks with the people that we live with.”

For the full story in El Pais, click here: https://english.elpais.com/spanish_news/2020-04-25/spain-may-allow-confined-citizens-out-for-walks-on-may-2-says-pm.html


APRIL 22: Congress authorises a third extension to the “state of alert”

As expected, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez gained approval for a further extension to the lockdown period, in a bid to combat the spread of COVID-19. The special measures will remain in place until May 9. Sánchez warned that the de-escalation of coronavirus confinement measures would be “slow and gradual”, and that the “general confinement will not be lifted until we are ready.”

Read the full story in El Pais here: https://english.elpais.com/politics/2020-04-23/spanish-pm-secures-support-to-extend-state-of-alarm-after-fierce-opposition-criticism-in-congress.html

From Sunday 26, rules will be relaxed regarding children under 14, who will now be allowed to go shopping with their parents, and for short walks.

For further information about the rule change regarding minors, read The Local article here: https://www.thelocal.es/20200421/what-we-know-about-spains-rules-on-children-leaving-the-house-during-lockdown


APRIL 15: Congress reserves April 22 for a possible further extension of the state of alert

The Council of Ministers will discuss the possibility of a further extension of the lockdown period when they meet next week. Any proposal put forward for a further 2 weeks would then need approval by parliament and would extend the lockdown until May 10.

For the full story (in Spanish) from La Vanguardia, click here: https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20200414/48510213795/coronavuros-prorroga-estado-alarma-11-mayo.html


APRIL 13: Some lockdown restrictions lifted

Spain’s non-essential workers, in sectors such as construction and industry, return to work, restoring the level of lockdown to the earlier level of the first 2 weeks. Strict measures are still in place for the vast majority.


APRIL 10: Congress backs PM’s request to extend state of alarm in Spain until April 26, with a further 15 days likely

“Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez secured approval from the Congress of Deputies on Thursday for his decision to extend the state of alarm in Spain and current confinement measures until April 26. The move, which will keep residents of Spain mostly locked down in their homes for an additional two weeks from the previous deadline of April 12, is aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

For the full story from El Pais, click here: https://english.elpais.com/politics/2020-04-10/congress-backs-pms-request-to-extend-confinement-measures-in-spain-until-april-26-with-a-further-15-days-likely.html

We will endeavour to keep everyone updated with the latest information regarding the rules of lockdown. Please check back regularly for further information & advice.

We have also provided advice and suggestions on how to stay safe, healthy, physically and mentally, and how to keep yourself busy and entertain the family during this time of crisis. For more information and useful links, click right

Stay home…

stay safe…

& look out for

each other!


Worldometers monitor the number of cases & death tolls, by country: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation (IHME) COVID-19 death toll projections for Spain: https://covid19.healthdata.org/spain

For updates about the lockdown rules – Boletín Oficial del Estado: https://www.boe.es/index.php?lang=en

The Spanish government website has all the latest news from Spain, in English: https://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/lang/en/Paginas/index.aspx

N322 Road Safety Association has a wealth of information about lockdown measures on their Facebook page:

European Commission coronavirus home page: https://ec.europa.eu/health/coronavirus_en

WHO specific information on Spain: http://www.euro.who.int/en/countries/spain

WHO specific information on UK: http://www.euro.who.int/en/countries/united-kingdom-of-great-britain-and-northern-ireland

Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs & Social Welfare: https://www.mscbs.gob.es/en/home.htm

Spanish Ministry of the Environment: https://www.miteco.gob.es/es/ministerio/medidas-covid19/

UK Foreign Office travel advice for Spain: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain

Brits in Spain (British Embassy in Madrid) Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BritsInSpain/

Brits in Spain website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-spain#coronavirus

Check back frequently for updates on the latest lockdown measures, as new material will be added regularly. Thanks!

When will Brits in Spain feel brave enough to risk a trip ‘back home’?

When will Brits in Spain feel brave enough to risk a trip ‘back home’?

After months of lockdown we are all keen to visit our loved ones ‘back home’. This week, Sue Wilson examines the dilemma facing those considering a trip back to the UK.
A few weeks ago, when the end of lockdown was a distant dream, I wrote about having mixed feelings. The excitement of seeing friends and family was tinged with nervousness about our safety and wellbeing.

With lockdown coming to an end soon, coronavirus deaths almost non-existent and infections at a low level, are we feeling braver now?

The introduction of quarantine measures in the UK last week has focused many of us on when we might risk a long-awaited visit. The prospect of having to self-isolate for two weeks on arrival has pretty much guaranteed that even the keenest of us will delay imminent plans.

The question is “when will it be safe”? Desperate as we are to see our parents, children, grandparents or grandchildren, would we be putting ourselves, or even worse, our family members at risk?

Apart from family visits, many people have been forced to cancel pre-booked holidays and are debating whether holidays are totally off the menu this year. Rather by necessity than choice, the option of foreign travel has largely lost its appeal. This year could turn out to be that of the staycation, or at least sticking much closer to home.

As we become acclimatised to life outdoors again, there are many adjustments to be made.  Most people are keeping a safe distance, wearing masks and foregoing physical contact outside of their own families.

However, it’s not all bad news. Living in a tourist village, I’m enjoying having the place to ourselves, free of the usual summer crowds and traffic – a pleasure normally reserved for the winter months.

I feel bad for local businesses struggling to survive – we locals must do what we can to safely support them. However, should the restaurant and café tables stay two metres apart on a permanent basis, that’s fine with me!

passport, bremain, british, rights, EU

In another week’s time, we will be enjoying the ‘new normality’ here in Spain – the closest thing we’ll have to our old normality for some time.

With constant changes to what’s allowed, as we’ve moved through the de-escalation phase system, it hasn’t always been easy to keep track. However, compared to the complicated UK measures, it’s been a doddle. The devolved nations aren’t even following the same ‘plan’ as the government.

To read the article in full, pop over to The Local.

“No significant areas of progress” in latest Brexit talks.

“No significant areas of progress” in latest Brexit talks.

The UK government remains firmly set against any extension to the transition period, regardless of the Covid crisis and Michel Barnier’s comments that “our door is open” to a one or two-year delay, writes Sue Wilson of Bremain in Spain.
Before the EU/UK trade negotiations started last week, the political grandstanding had already begun. 

Throughout the trade negotiations, EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has told the UK some home truths. These include no membership benefits for non-members, no cherry-picking and no bending EU rules. Ahead of the latest talks, Barnier also reminded prime minister, Boris Johnson, of the commitments he made when signing the Withdrawal Agreement in 2019.

Specifically, Barnier told Johnson he must keep the promises of the Political Declaration (PD). The document, while not legally binding, clearly defined agreed goals for the future relationship between the UK and EU. Those commitments include maintaining a level playing field with the EU on standards, and an agreement about accessing British fishing waters.

Barnier stated: “We remember very clearly the text which we negotiated with Boris Johnson. And we just want to see that complied with, to the letter.” He went on to say: “If that does not happen, there will be no agreement.”

Before the talks had begun, the UK responded, without a hint of irony, that progress had not been made “because of the inflexible attitude shown by Mr Barnier”. A source close to lead negotiator, David Frost (below), said: “The EU needs to inject some political reality into its approach and appreciate that they cannot use their usual tactic of delay to drag the talks into the autumn. October is too late.”

UK negotiator David Frost

On Tuesday 2 June, the talks began using video conferencing links. While enabling discussion, social-distanced negotiations are no substitute for face-to-face meetings. There’s little opportunity to observe body language and no informal chats over a coffee or something stronger. It is frequently during these informal discussions that progress occurs.

To read the complete article, please head over to The Local.