Compulsory Use Of Masks In Spain
The use of a mask will be mandatory for all people over the age of 6 in the public highway, which basically means anywhere outside and in any closed space for public use or that is open to the public, when it is NOT POSSIBLE to maintain a safe distance of at least two metres.
Any type of mask can be used, but it is preferable to use a hygienic or surgical mask covering the nose and mouth.
a) People with some type of respiratory problem that can be aggravated by the use of a mask.
b) Those whom, the use of a mask is contraindicated for reasons of duly justified health, or that due to their disability or dependency present behavioural changes that make their use unfeasible.
c) Development of activities in which, by their very nature, the use of the mask is incompatible.
The above is in force from until end of State of Alarm and any possible extensions.
National Health authorities will not give out masks free of charge, but has left it up to regional governments to decide whether they wish to do so.
Some health authorities have been giving them out free to pensioners and those with pre-existing medical conditions. In a few cases, every single resident has been given free masks, often thanks to the support of local businesses which have manufactured them for the purpose.
This is another crucial reason for residents to ensure they are registered on the padrón, or municipal census. If they do not appear on the roll, they will not get their free masks delivered if their local council plans to do so.
Prices for masks have been capped at 96 cents each and most pharmacies now have them in stock, as do some supermarkets.
One of the main reasons masks were not compulsory earlier on was their lack of availability – pharmacies had sold out nationwide and speculation among online sellers meant even disposable ones were retailing at over €40 each. Due to the shortage, Spain followed WHO’s recommendations that only those in direct contact with Covid-19 patients or in the high-risk bracket need wear them, believing it better, in the event of difficulties in obtaining masks, to leave those few available to the people who most needed them.
Beach and Pool Reopening
Parts of Spain may be able to enter into ‘Phase 2’ of recovery if the current warm weather holds out and at last people will be able to go to the beach and use municipal pools.
Although some beaches opened exclusively for water sports they remained off limits for walking, swimming or sunbathing and for anyone who has to travel more than a kilometre to reach them.
Whether they are public ones or communal facilities on urbanisations, pools will be limited to a maximum of 30% of the usually permitted number of bathers at any one time and all swimmers must keep two metres away from each other, except in the case of people who live in the same household. It is likely that bathers will have to reserve a slot, or be given a maximum time in the water. Where it is not possible to stay two metres apart when a pool’s maximum capacity is at 30%, this percentage will be reduced further until physical distancing can be adhered to.
Disinfecting and thorough cleaning will be required at the beginning and end of every day and throughout the day for enclosed spaces such as toilets or changing rooms. All other equipment and materials, such as lane-dividers, ticket booths and equipment used for swimming classes must be disinfected before and after use. Health authorities will expect pool staff to pay particular attention to parts which are regularly touched by members of the public – door handles and hand-rails, for example – which must be disinfected three times a day at least.
The main requirement on beaches is that bathers keep two metres apart and regularly wash their hands. Groups of any size will be allowed if they all live in the same household, but otherwise are limited to 15.
Sports on beaches will have to involve physical distancing and must be individual in nature – meaning tennis or informal bat-and-ball games will probably be permitted, but volleyball, for example, may not.
Toilets on beaches, or at swimming pools, must guarantee constant levels of cleanliness and hygiene and always have soap and/or hand-sanitiser and toilet paper available. Only one person is allowed in a cubicle at a time, unless the user needs physical assistance, when a carer or assistant is also permitted entry.
Showers in changing rooms or outside versions on urbanisations or beaches cannot be used. It is likely this will also include foot-showers on beaches, so bathers are advised to fill a bottle with water before leaving so they can rinse the sand off their feet. Personal items, such as towels, must remain within the two-metre limit and must not come into contact with other bathers.
Information boards or posters must be clearly displayed so everyone knows what to do and where possible, spaces set out on floors or on the ground. It is likely police or coastguard authorities will be on duty to ensure everyone sticks to the rules and no confusion arises.
Faster ‘Unlocking’ For Villages With Fewer Than 3,000 Inhabitants
Greater flexibility in leaving lockdown behind could be agreed for villages, especially in areas with limited numbers of Covid-19 cases. Smaller towns, even those without much of a rural lifestyle, have a lack of public transport meaning there is less likelihood of people being crammed together and generally fewer people outside or in public areas all at once.
Demographics, environment and energy minister, Teresa Ribera said “It does not make sense for small, rural communities, or residential hubs out in the provinces, to be restricted in the same way as large cities.”
Towns with fewer than 3,000 inhabitants may be able to speed up their ‘unlocking’ and pass through the four phases of recovery faster than the rest of the country. Small towns or remote rural locations have little or no risk to their health, while Madrid, in particular, had been battered by the pandemic and forced to erect pop-up hospitals and morgues in order to cope.
Brown Bear Spotted In Galicia
Exceptionally-clear and very close-up footage of a Brown Bear has been taken in Galicia; the first time the species has been sighted there in 150 years. Producer Felipe Lage from Zeitun Films had set up cameras in the Ourensán Central Massif to get location shots for the forthcoming movie Montaña ou Morte (‘Mountain or Death’), directed by Pela del Álamo, to limit his physical presence on scene during lockdown. The cameras caught numerous shots of the same brown bear in various parts of the Os Montes do Invernadeiro National Park in the province of Ourense. It was hoped they would pick up footage of wildlife for the film, which is now at the development stage thanks to a grant from the Galicia culture industries agency AGADIC and, in fact, Zeitun Films had sought guidance from regional government environmental experts to make sure they did.
Everyone involved was stunned to see the bear which is said to be a male, aged between three and five and likely to have originated from the western part of Ourense in the O Courel area. It will probably settle down in the O Invernadeiro Mountains where he is based now for the whole of the winter.
Brown Bears have been a protected species in Spain since 1973 and, in Galicia, their presence is documented throughout history, although they were rare and sightings were intermittent.