Covid-19 October 2020 New State of Alarm announcement

On Saturday 25 October, the Spanish Government announced the measures to be taken in response to the increase in the infection and death rate of Covid-19.

A new State of Alarm (SoA) has been declared but, thankfully, more relaxed and less restrictive than the previous one which, for most of us, made us feel as though we were living in a Police State.

The Spanish Government had been called upon by 11 of the 17 Autonomous Regions (AR) to make this declaration. The reason being that the Courts had been rejecting all the attempts of ARs to restrict movement for Constitutional reasons. Central Governent declaring a SoA gets around this.

Again, this differs from the previous by giving each AR the autonomy to estabish it’s own specific take on how to implement this new SoA.

There is now a nationwide curfew in place, the curfew ranges from 22:00 to 24:00 through to 05:00 to 07:00 depending on the particular AR. This means that no one can be out of their place of residence during these times, as you might expect there are some exceptions to this, namely:

  • Leaving home to purchase medicines or sanitary products, bet their sales go through the roof…..
  • Visiting hospitals and healthcare centres, again not wanting to be too cynical but how many residents/patients are going to receive unexpected visitors, just saying…
  • Go to work.
  • Looking after the elderly, minors, dependants or the vulnerable, ditto above.
  • For reasons of Force Majeure.
  • Filling up the car to be able to carry out the above exceptions.
  • Any other activity similar to the above, yes that is what is writ, as long as the activity can be validated.
  • Returning to your place of residence having carried out any of the above.

Travel between regions is still permitted, however, the ARs have been given the power to impose restrictions between regions, again with certain exceptions, more or less the same as those above but with a few additions:

  • Attending your child’s place of education, this covers kindergarten through to university.
  • Going to the bank or an insurance office, notaries, court, tax inspections (of course) and similar.

Again, each AR can alter the above exceptions as they wish.

It will remain possible to transit accross regions if you are undertaking a specific trip, ie you live in Andalucia and need to drive to Barcelona, you can drive through each region to achieve this.

There will be a general nationwide ruling that social meetings are restricted to a maximum of 6 people, whether in a public place, say restaurant or bar or in your private residence. Each AR has the autonomy to reduce this number, depending on how the pandemic escalates in its region. The politicians are already having fun with this with Galicia having announced the maximum will be 5….

Do note that the travel restrictions and gathering limitations will be implemented by the each AR at their own discretion, again this will depend on how the pandemic evolves.

This new SoA will be reviewed each 15 days. The Spanish President mentioned in his speech that these new rules will be in place for 6 months from 9 November 2020, but the politicians are arguing and doing deals and it may well be 4 months by the time matters are finalised. That takes a minute to sink in doesn’t it.

Thank you for reading and I hope you stay safe and healthy.

Spence Clarke & Co specialises in the provision of Spanish tax, legal, audit and accountancy services, mainly to foreigners with interests in Spain. Our cross-border knowledge helps clients adapt to the Spanish system with the minimum of doubt and disruption. If you have any questions about this article or any other matter contact us, with no obligation, to see how we can help you.