“HALLELUJAH!”

That will be the reaction across Malaga, Granada and Valencia tonight after it was revealed the two Andalucian provinces and eastern region can enter Phase 1 of the COVID-19 de-escalation plan on Monday.

It came after they were left out of advancing to the next level in a shock move by Madrid seven days ago.

But what does Phase 1 entail and what new freedoms have been awarded?

Personal life: Non-vulnerable people and those without pre-existing conditions that would put them at risk, can meet up with family and friends in groups of 10 – either outdoors or at home. A distance of two metres must be kept between one another while hygiene measures such as washing hands must remain a priority.

Travelling: People can travel to any town as long as they remain within their province, while people who live together can travel in the same vehicle. They are also allowed to sit on the same row of seats.

Shops and services: Shops and establishments will be allowed to open as long as they are not large centres or department stores. Capacity in these businesses will be limited to 30% while a minimum distance of two metres between clients must be guaranteed. If keeping such a distance is impossible then only one client at a time will be permitted to enter.  Preferential hours will be set for people aged over 65.

Street markets: Town halls or city councils will be allowed to restart street markets on public roads, with restrictions on distance between stalls and capacity limits to be controlled by security forces. The markets will initially be reduced to 25% of their usual surface area.

Bars and restaurants: Terraces will be permitted to open to a 50% capacity. They may be permitted to extend their terrace space if their local government allows it.

Hotels: Hotels can open but common areas will be off bounds while strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols must be in place.

Professional sport: High-performance centres can open for professional and federation-level athletes, with updated hygiene and protection measures in place. Normal training in professional leagues can also resume.

Recreational sport: Outdoor sports facilities can reopen for activities in which there is no contact, such as athletics and tennis. Padel tennis will be permitted but only two people will be allowed on court, making only one-on-one training possible (unless you wanted to try and play singles). Sport events which attract crowds will not be allowed. Individual sports activities can be made by appointment as long as there is no physical contact or use of changing rooms. The established times for walking and outdoor exercise from Phase 0 will remain in place for Phase 1.

Culture: Libraries can re-open and lend books but with reduced capacity. Indoor cultural events with less than 30 people will be permitted, but venues cannot exceed a third of their capacity. Outdoor events can have no more than 200 people as long as they are seated and kept at a safe distance from one another. Museums will reopen to a third of capacity with crowd control to be implemented in each room. Small groups will be allowed to engage in nature tours and production companies will be allowed to restart filming movies and series.

Churches and wakes: Wakes will be allowed for up to 15 family members with distancing measures and security protocols in place. Places of worship will open to a third of capacity.

Agriculture: The agricultural and fishing sectors can restart but with restrictions.

Social services: Social services will begin again with priority paid to the most disadvantaged groups, such as those with disabilities and the elderly.

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