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Quarantine tightens: What's open, who's still trading and what can you buy?
30 March 2020 @ 19:23

SPAIN'S government has apologised to the public for its 'delay' in shutting down all bar 'essential services', increasing the national confinement further – but says it was up again 'technical issues'.

Minister for work Yolanda Díaz says: “I'm conscious that many businesses and industries were worried and wanted to know how far the measures would affect them, and for that, I apologise.

“There's been no improvisation, and the move has not caused debate or conflict within Parliament, but the delay was due to technical, not legal, issues.

“The technical description of many sectors needed a bit of time spent on it,” she says, explaining that defining exactly what could be considered 'essential' and which businesses could feasibly be ordered to close was not a cut-and-dried exercise.

“I'm sorry about that, because I know perfectly well how much very legitimate concern was felt in many industries.

“This measure is necessary, however, so we can all get better and get out of this crisis as soon as possible – in the financial and social sense.

“We have no more tools at our disposal than that of simply staying in lockdown – although we're very conscious that this is extremely hard on us all.”

The announcement about the tightening of quarantine measures has inevitably led to speculation among the public as to what is open.

According to the State Official Bulletin (BOE), businesses and other public services considered 'essential' and which will continue – albeit subject to reduced hours in some cases – are medical, healthcare, care and pharmaceutical activities; transport of food and some goods and passengers; gas, water and electricity supply; establishments selling food, drink and other products of primary necessity; establishments selling pharmaceutical, hygiene, orthopaedic and optical products; newsagencies and other press outlets, including stationers'; tobacconists; laundrettes and dry-cleaners'; establishments selling food and other essentials for animals – and, of course, vets; petrol, oil and diesel refineries, service stations and other fuel distributors; telecommunications operators and physical shops, and establishments selling or repairing technological and telecommunications equipment; ports and airports; communications media – press, websites, radio and television – and State security forces and law enforcement agencies.

Those which will not be permitted to continue working include anything leisure- and entertainment-related – although this does not stop home deliveries from Amazon or retailers selling similar items; fashion and accessories retailers; hairdressers'; all factories and logistics plants which are not involved in any of the services and supplies listed above – although those considered 'non-essential' are permitted to stay open if they adapt their facilities to manufacturing healthcare material, such as masks, gloves and hospital equipment; and all building and construction work, except emergency plumbing, electricity and building repair, meaning any work on building new houses, schools, hospitals or other infrastructure will stop.



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