Normality is something we all crave and desire, but many argue the “normal” as we used to know it is extinct and will not be back even after the immediate crisis has ended.
Many countries have since started implementing measures to loosen their restrictions and lockdowns. China’s way is unique and not directly applicable to EU countries. France and Italy have announced a timeline for the reopening of shops and businesses. However, it is Spain that is leading the de-escalation with measures that offer more freedom in order to help nurture the economy, and bring back a sense of normality.
Spain has created a 4-phase plan. It is estimated that the de-escalation in phases will take a minimum of eight weeks, implying that by the end of June, Spain will have entered into the “new normal”. The realisation of this timeline will only be possible if the epidemic remains under control. The world watches as Spain leads the path towards a “new normal” post covid-19.
“If we must choose between prudence and risk, we will choose prudence. This plan is flexible.” said President Sánchez, not without warning that if the new freedom is handled badly, we might take one step forward and two steps back.
The Spanish de-escalation plan is complicated and many of us are left alone to navigate and wonder what the new paradigms of the de-escalation truly mean and imply for each one of us. We want to share our knowledge on what we know about Spain’s de-escalation in 4 phases.
Phase Zero: Preparatory stage
Government offices will be opened to those with appointments and restaurants will be able to prepare take-out orders.
Professional sportsmen will be able to resume individual training, and all public locations will be cleaned and readied for phase one.
During this stage, Spain will see the start of economic activity on a very small scale, with premises open “by appointment” and restaurants able to open for takeaway purposes only.
In some parts of Spain, something that some called a phase 0.5 has been implemented. For example in the province of Barcelona, where you are allowed to visit shops of up to 400 m2 without an appointment.
Phase 1: Partial reopening of small businesses following strict safety restrictions
During phase 1, the use of masks is highly recommended (if not mandatory) in public spaces and transportation. Small shops may open, and all commercial activity must respect capacity restrictions. Hotels and tourist accommodation will open while keeping communal areas shut. Bars and restaurants will be able to reopen their terraces while restricting occupancy to a third of their normal capacity. Places of worship and velatoriums can open but with only a third of normal capacity. Furthermore, it is allowed to travel in a car with people from the same household.
Phase 2: Re-opening of more public spaces and increase in capacity
Cultural events will resume limited to 50 people and 30 percent occupancy, or 400 people if it takes place outdoors and people are seated. Cinemas and theaters can open during this phase but with a third of their capacity. Restaurants can open their interior spaces as long as social distancing can be observed which means reduced occupancy to a third of normal capacity. Places of worship will be able to expand their occupancy to 50 percent of their normal capacity.
Phase 3: final transition to a “new normal”
This phase is expected to come in June, in the best case-scenario, if the epidemic continues to be under control in all territories. All shops open, while respecting a 50 percent capacity with customers observing social distancing norms. Restaurant capacities will be further extended while ensuring a strict spacing between customers.
It is important to understand that although restrictions on movement will be further eased, no movement will be permitted between regions until both have completed phase three, while the use of face masks outside of the home will be indispensable.