New Alarm Status and Restrictions

The Government approved yesterday in an extraordinary Council of Ministers the Royal Decree 926/2020 of 25 October, declaring the state of alarm to contain the spread of infections caused by COVID-19.

The application of this new alarm state is due to the upward trend in the number of people affected by the virus. Just over a week ago, on October 22nd, Spain recorded 349 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. A figure well above the 60 cases per 100,000 inhabitants that marks the threshold of high risk stipulated by the criteria of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

These indicators place the Spanish territory in a very high level of risk, for that reason, the Government has decided to take the measures foreseen in the regulation in order to protect the health and safety of the citizens and to contain the progression of the virus.

Although this new state of alarm is expected to end on November 2 at 00:00, the Government intends to extend it and, therefore, the Executive will take to Congress an extension for more than 6 months, until May 9, to try to stop contagion in the territory.

The Royal Decree establishes that, during this period:

Circulation limit

The movement of people on the streets or public spaces is limited between 11:00 pm and 6:00 am. The autonomies can advance or delay the beginning of this limitation, as it is the case of Catalonia, which has determined that this limit is effective from 22:00h.

The rule establishes the following exceptions:

  • Acquiring medicines, medical devices and other essential goods.
  • Attendance at health centers, services and establishments or veterinary care centers for emergency reasons.
  • To comply with labor, professional, business, institutional or legal obligations.
  • To return to the place of habitual residence after carrying out some of these activities.
  • Assist and care for the elderly, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or especially vulnerable people.
  • Due to force majeure or situation of need or any other activity of an analogous accredited nature.
  • To refuel at gas stations or service stations, when necessary to carry out the planned activities.

These mobility restrictions affect the entire territory, with the exception of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands, provided that the maintenance of the control measures in force is guaranteed.

Limitation of entry and exit in the Autonomous Regions and cities with a Statute of Autonomy.

The rule provides for the following exceptions:

  • Assistance to health centers, services and establishments.
  • Compliance with labor, professional, business, institutional or legal obligations.
  • Assistance to university, teaching and educational centers, including nursery schools.
  • Return to the place of habitual residence or family.
  • Assistance and care for the elderly, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or especially vulnerable people.
  • Travel to financial and insurance entities or refueling stations in neighboring territories.
  • Required or urgent actions before public, judicial or notarial bodies.
  • Renewal of permits and official documentation, as well as other administrative procedures that cannot be postponed.
  • Carrying out of exams or official tests that cannot be postponed.
  • Due to force majeure or situation of necessity.
  • Any other activity of a similar nature, duly accredited.

The competent authorities may, in addition, limit the entry and exit of persons in territorial areas of a geographically inferior nature to the Autonomous Community and city with a Statute of Autonomy, taking into account the above exceptions.

Limiting the stay of groups of people in public and private spaces

The maximum of 6 persons may not be exceeded in meetings in public or private spaces, both outdoors and indoors, except in the case of cohabitants and in cases where dependent relationships are established. In the case of groups that include both live-in and non-live-in persons, the maximum number of persons shall continue to be 6.

The competent authorities may, within their territorial scope, make exceptions for minors or dependents. Likewise, meetings in public places and demonstrations may be limited, conditioned or prohibited when the personal distance necessary to prevent contagion is not guaranteed. For the same reason, the permanence of persons in places of worship is limited, the corresponding competent authority will set capacity for meetings, celebrations and religious gatherings, taking into account the risk of transmission that could result. Such limitation may not affect the private and individual exercise of religious freedom.

The competent authority in each Autonomous Community or city with a Statute of Autonomy may, after communication, modulate, relax and suspend the application of some of the measures provided for in Royal Decree 926/2020.

On the other hand, the DOGC also specifies that the hours of opening to the public of the activities of service and retail trade and catering, as well as cultural activities may not exceed 21:00h (22:00h in the case of home delivery service) with the exception of activities of an essential nature.