SPAIN’S Interior Ministry has warned that the adaptation period of the nationwide lockdown is officially over.
Authorities have said the first few days have made clear to residents what the restrictions and exceptions are, and that police will now move straight to sanctions for those who defy the royal decree signed at the weekend.
They will also not hesitate to arrest repeat offenders.
The deputy leader of the Policia Nacional said yesterday: “The first two or three days of the royal decree were a period of adjustment, of warnings and informing people, but we believe that period has come to an end.
“The time has come to implement fully the state of alarm.”
The deputy of the Guardia Civil, Lieutenant General Laurentino Ceña, also warned that the armed police force would be extra vigilant on roads, particularly this weekend, in a bid to stop people retreating to their second homes.
There have already been dozens of arrests across Spain for violations of the movement restrictions as well as thousands of fines, most of them less than €600.
However police expect these numbers to rise in the next few days.
The Interior Ministry, headed by Fernando Grande Marlaska, has instructed the state security forces, regional and local police to redouble efforts on the biggest rule-breakers.
These have been non-essential workers continuing to turn up for face-to-face roles, more than one person travelling by car (with no justifiable reason for doing so), gatherings in shared communal spaces, trips to second homes on weekends or holidays and people attempting to meet up and hang out in areas along rural roads thinking they want be caught.
The Citizen Security Law aka Gag Law and the Penal Code are both being used to enforce the restrictions laid out in the royal decree.
The Interior Ministry now has full command of the enforcing of the new rules, with 264,000 police officers and 132,000 military personnel at its disposal.
The latter can at any time become acting authorities and issue sanctions or carry out arrests.