On Tuesday (April 28), Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez presented a four-phase lockdown exit strategy for the country. Spain has the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases after the US, at more than 210,000. The country has recorded more than 20,000 deaths as well, and has been under lockdown since March 14.
During an address, Sánchez said the lockdown will be relaxed in a phased manner, and that the country should enter into a “new normal” by the end of June.
As other countries in Europe that have recorded a slowdown in infections contemplate exit strategies, their way out of the lockdown will have lessons for the rest of the world.
Other than Spain, France is also planning a gradual exit from the lockdown starting May 11, with stringent restrictions remaining in the country’s “red” regions with more cases.
Spain’s exit strategy
The opening up of the lockdown will begin with phase 0, starting May 4 throughout Spain, except for a few islands that will already be in phase 1 by then. A week later, from May 11, provinces will enter phase 1, which will last for two weeks and the remaining phases will also last for two weeks each. In total, the de-escalation will take at least six weeks to be complete.
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Phase 0, preparation phase: De-escalations in this phase include opening up of takeaway facilities at restaurants and opening up of some other establishments such as hair salons. From May 2, individuals will be able to go out for a walk or to exercise alone or with people they stay with. In this phase, professional athletes will be able to access individual training sessions. Children aged 14 years or younger have been allowed to go out for walks from April 26.
Phase 1, initial phase: Begins on May 11. Small businesses will be allowed to open under strict security measures. For instance, gyms can open for people who want to train individually and by appointment. Further, hotels and tourist accommodations will be allowed to open, excluding the common areas and with certain restrictions in place. Places of worship will also be allowed to open, limiting their capacity to one-third. Owners of terrace bars can open their establishments but with 30 per cent capacity. In this phase, some degree of social contact with a limited number of people may also be allowed, subject to what the conditions are then.
Phase 2, intermediate phase: Begins on May 25.Will include the resumption of hunting and sport fishing, and the opening of cinemas and auditorium theatres at one-third of their capacity. Visits to monuments and cultural facilities, such as exhibition halls and conference rooms, will resume with one-third occupancy. Cultural shows will be allowed with less than 50 people in closed spaces. In the outdoors, shows and events can be held with less than 400 people provided they are seated. All places of worship will have to limit their capacity to 50 per cent.
Phase 3, advanced phase: Begins on June 8 and provided the situation is under control, general mobility will be made more flexible. Wearing masks will be recommended when people venture outside, especially on public transport. In commercial settings, capacities will be restricted to 50 per cent. Beaches may also open in this phase.
The movement of people into other provinces or islands is restricted until the de-escalation process is complete.
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