Spain Explained

Coronavirus in Spain: Requirements, travelling and government measures

Last updated on April 17th, 2020 at 03:01 pm.

At the time of writing, we are almost at two weeks of lockdown in Spain because of coronavirus. The expected date when restrictions might possible be relaxed is now April 11th.  The current situation means that we are only allowed out of our houses for some essential reasons and when we do venture out this must be as individuals rather than a couple or a family. 

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These are tough measures to implement both for the individual and the institutions. There are changes daily and there is confusion about what exactly is permissible and what isn’t. In this article we aim to summarise:

There is no doubt that services are stretched and individuals and their families have been struggling to interpret what it all means for them. As Spain is host to many tourists and visitors there have been particular issues with travel and families have feared being stranded in one country or another. This at least seems less of a conundrum as air space is gradually shutting down and the option of travel is removed. 

Current requirements 

As things stand at the time of writing the requirements are that:

Allowed to open

  • Supermarkets
  • Chemists 
  • Takeaway establishments 
  • Financial services – banks, insurance brokers, notaries 
  • IT services 
  • Some wholesale shops providing material for professionals and businesses 
  • Tobacconists 

If you are allowed to open people should not come within one metre of another person.  Supermarkets are only allowed to sell items that are not in competition with stores that have had to close. So, for example, Carrefour must not sell toys or clothing items but can sell food and IT products. Most shops and outlets that are able to trade are requesting that payment is made by card rather than cash. 

Bars and restaurants are closed but they can deliver takeaways although there are restrictions on the number of people involved in the preparation of these and customers must have their food delivered and not collect themselves. 

Mechanics can still continue to work to enable people who need to use a vehicle to be able to do so. As a result those supplying them with parts can continue but there are no supplies to the general public. This applies to many other materials including those supplied by hardware stores. 


  • MOT (ITV) centres
  • Hair salons
  • Street markets 
  • Bars and restaurants, with the exception of takeaways 
  • Retail shops
  • Schools 
  • Sports centres and gyms 

You cannot go out for a walk or a run purely for leisure purposes. All movement outside your house must be for a specific and allowed purpose. 

You can

  • Walk your dog but for a minimum amount of time and within a specified distance of your home
  • Go individually to a supermarket 
  • Receive a take away by home delivery
  • Receive a delivery you have ordered over the internet
  • Take a young child or disabled person to the supermarket with you if you have no alternative 

Only one person should be in a car unless the driver is taking an incapacitated person or someone who does not have a driving licence. A taxi can take one passenger. The rule of thumb is unless the person cannot carry out essential business without your help as a driver then you should be travelling alone. Family outings are not allowed. However, you can travel in a car together if you live together and are going to the same place of work. 

There is no restriction on the transporting of goods, so at the moment goods can be transferred between places and online purchase of items is possible. 

The direction of travel

There is no indication at the moment that the spread of the virus is slowing down. The government recently announced the extension of the original quarantine date to April 11th. It will only be reviewed at this point.  

On a positive note there are signs that the original source of the outbreak is seeing some respite with no new cases being announced. Wuhan is now beginning to get back to normal. We know that this will happen here too. The issue is the damage that will have been done to small businesses in the meantime and consequently their employees and their families. 

The government’s support measures related to coronavirus in Spain

The government is well aware of the impact its measures are likely to have on the self-employed and small businesses. Many of these do not have large reserves and loss of income over a month will see bills left unpaid and mortgage payments outstanding. 

The government has made announcements to deal with this. As we come towards the end of this quarterly tax period there will be opportunity for businesses to defer their tax payments. Special arrangements are being put into force to allow businesses to suspend contracts for employees. Instead, the employees can apply for social security payments until it is business as usual. 

Utility providers have been told to hold on disconnections and the autonomo (self employed) monthly payments may also be deferred or suspended. Some of the exact detail of what help businesses can expect is still unclear and those who have had to shut their premises are waiting anxiously for greater clarity. 

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The international context

As mentioned at the beginning, the situation changes daily but we will try to keep you posted on any significant alterations that you should be aware of. In the meantime remember that however uncomfortable the lockdown might be it is intended to be in all our best interests. Please comply with the requirements and hopefully we can look forward to a return to normality some time soon.

More information 

Good sources of advice and information include:

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