De-escalation of Lockdown in Spain, May 2020
As of today, 11 May 2020, Vejer and the province of Cadiz along with 51% of the population of Spain can now experience the greatest freedom of movement since 14th March 2020. We move into Phase 1 of the de-escalation of lockdown in Spain.
What do we now have to do;
We still must stick to our single bit of daily exercise in specifically appointed time slots (see below). But we can now travel by car within our province. Also, we can meet up with each other provided the social distancing rule of 2m apart is active. Bars & restaurants can re-open with 50% occupancy of an outside terrace, however, most establishments can’t afford to open at 50% occupancy. Hotels can open but not their communal areas. This is going to be a long, slow process.
Now we can travel freely within our province of Cadiz I have shopping to do! I’m immediately heading to Jerez for supplies of you know what. As Sir Alexander Flemings famous quote goes, “If penicillin can cure the ill, Sherry can raise the dead.” I can’t tell you how my copa of Manzanilla ( maybe two) each evening can really raise my spirits!
But by no means is there a sense of confidence attached to these new freedoms because the virus is still with us. However, health services now have the capacity to cope with more cases. Hopefully, by obeying all restrictions this will not be the happen and in two weeks time, we can move further into Phase 2.
What has Lockdown in Spain been like?
Spain’s lockdown has been one of the toughest in Europe – almost a police state with fines being dished out to anyone breaking the rules. A few weeks ago, a friend took his neighbour’s dog for a walk in Vejer, for no reason other than he wanted to just get out and walk. The police stopped him and said, “that’s not your dog”. He was fined 80€.
Spain’s lockdown started on Saturday 14 March when all schools, bars, restaurants, hotels and non-essential shops & businesses closed for 2 weeks. We were only permitted to leave our homes for essential food shopping, medicines and to walk a dog. After only one week, on Sunday 22nd, a further 2-week extension was applied to the initial 2 weeks. This was a particularly low point for many as the intense gravity sunk in. And so it continued. It has been tough, especially the lack of freedom to walk and exercise outdoors. This was lifted for children up to 14 years old on Saturday 25 April. After 6 long weeks of indoor confinement, they were permitted outside for 1 hour each day. 1 week later the adults were also allowed outside in set time slots.
In Vejer, we have been blessed with an amazing Mayor and town council. Every move he makes and every piece of national news has been updated on his Facebook page. El Alcalde (mayor) drove to Almeria to collect 16,00 masks, one for each citizen of Vejer. They were then distributed door to door. We are prepared.
Spain’s 4 phase plan to ease lockdown is national. But moving into different phases will be regional e.g. in Andalucia there are 8 regions. Each one will move at its own pace.
Hope for the Future
Today, Monday 11th May 6 regions in Andalucia, including Cadiz region, move onto phase 1. Malaga & Granada regions remain in Phase 0 for a further 2 weeks, until their number of confirmed cases drop. Madrid & Barcelona also remain in Phase 0. Should the number of cases in Cadiz rise beyond health service capacity, we will not move forward to the next phase.
It will definitely be a long time before we can travel inter-province or that even national tourism can kick off in Spain.
In Vejer, we are blessed by remaining virus-free. We hope and pray that we can maintain a lower level of Covid-19 cases in our beloved province of Cadiz.