THE announcement of the multi-phase de-escalation plan can be somewhat confusing, and many people have discovered various grey areas in the regulations.

One of the stipulations is that you must only travel within your own municipality to perform essential tasks such as shopping or visiting the pharmacy.

That seems reasonable except for the residents of a number of villages across Andalucia, whose areas cover two, sometimes three different provinces.

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STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH VIEWS: Ventorros de Balerma is spread over two provinces

One perfect example of this is Ventorros de Balerma.

With only 370 residents, this picturesque hamlet is divided between Loja in Granada, and Iznajar in Cordoba, meaning that moving just an inch the wrong direction could technically mean sanctioning by the police.

The residents of Balerma are taking the situation in good humour, joking that they could travel 200km to Pozoblanco to buy bread but they cannot visit their local panaderia which sits just over the provincial border.

Despite this there is always an underlying sense that they are breaching the rules, and they are relying on the good nature of authorities if they are ever questioned.

Mayor of Loja Julian Ruiz said according to Phase 0 of the de-escalation plan, locals are not permitted to cross borders until June 1, but residents ‘have no choice if they want to visit church, pharmacies or to buy bread.’

Being split between provinces also poses potential problems when it comes to de-escalation and the rate in which things start to return to normal.

Sanchez explained that rates of change will happen depending on individual provinces infection and recovery rates, therefore two areas of the village would technically need to operate to different rules.

“We don’t believe there will be a problem,” says Raul Martinez, local spokesman of the Cordoban side of Ventorros, “everything in the village is shared by both Loja and Iznajar, including the disinfecting, the taxes and municipal buildings.”

This peculiar situation is shared with a number of hamlets across the country.

Retired expat Bob Coleman and his partner Christine also have the same issue.

Living on the outskirts of the small farming village of Gonar, their house, along with three other homes along the Rambla de la Fraille sit between Huercal Overa in Almeria and Puerto Lumbreras in Murcia.

“It’s something we haven’t really paid much mind to, our house sits in Murcia but our driveway sits in Almeria, so we have no choice but to cross between provinces, there’s literally no other way out,” explained Bob.

“It would have to be a pretty unreasonable policeman to have a problem with it, what else can we do?”

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