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*Updated: 14 March 2020 at 22:47


Today was the first official day under an Estado de Alarma (“State of Alarm”) in Spain, after President Pedro Sánchez made the declaration yesterday at about 3:30pm; later that evening, Catalan President Quim Torra called for the confinement of the whole Catalonia region as a means to prevent the collapse of its health system. After today’s 7-hour cabinet meeting in Madrid, the final decisions on defining exactly what the “State of Alarm” measures will be were made, and the only measures that aren’t effective immediately are those involving restrictions on public transportation, which will take effect on Monday, March 16th, at 8:00.  What does all of this mean for us in Barcelona?

Well, if you haven’t received the Protecció Civil’s information regarding the COVID-19 FAQs and complementary measures yet, here is the information:


1. Can I enter or leave the municipalities?

In Catalonia, citizens are urged not to move around. In addition, in Igualada, Òdena, Santa Margarida de Montbui and Vilanova del Camí there are controls to prohibit both entering or leaving. Only essential services are permitted: safety and emergency, electricity, drinking water, fuels, gas, telecommunications, prison permits, urban and industrial waste, health waste, health and pharmacy supplies, food distribution for people and for farms and animal centers, living/dead animal services, slaughterhouses.

2. Can people go out on the streets and do their shopping?

Yes, but only if it is absolutely essential.

3. Will grocery stores, supermarkets and the like be open?


4. Are supplies to supermarkets and restaurants ensured?

Yes, food distribution is considered an essential service and the arrival of basic commodities and goods is being coordinated by distribution platforms.

5. Can I meet with people on the street?

Yes, if it is brief and reduced to encounters in open spaces, and always maintaining distance and protective measures.

6. Can I take children to the park?

No, that is not recommended.

7. Can I go to see my relative / friend / neighbor at his/her home?

Yes, although it is not recommended. If you do so, you must always follow the protective measures.

8. Can I visit my dependent relatives?

Yes, to guarantee the care they need.

9. I am a dependent person. Can the person who assists me come over to visit?

Yes, this is part of the essential services that are permitted.

10. Can I take my pet for a walk?

Yes, keeping distance and following protective measures.

11. Can I go to bars and restaurants?

No. They are closed as of March 14 and will remain so for 15 days.

12. Can I go to the cinema or theater?

No. They are closed as of March 14 and will remain so for 15 days.

13. Are the libraries / museums / civic centers open? Can I go there?

No. They are closed as of March 14 and will remain so for 15 days.

14. Will the malls be open?

No. Only those dedicated exclusively to food, hygiene or cleaning products, or shopping center spaces dedicated to these products, will be open.

15. Can shops in general open for business?

Yes, with the same limitations re: malls.

16. I have a medical appointment. Can I go?

If it is not urgent, it is better to postpone it.

17. I have an appointment for rehabilitation. Can I go?

If it’s not essential, it is better to postpone it.

18. Is public transportation circulating?

Yes, but at one third of its capacity. Its use is not recommended.

19. Can I go to the town hall (to pay fines, taxes, etc.)?

Before going there, consult with the city council to see if you can perform the procedure electronically or postpone it.

20. Is there a telephone number for centralized information?

Yes. For information, call 012. For symptomatology, call 061.

21. Are emergency services available?


22. What is considered an essential service?

Safety and emergency services, electricity, drinking water, fuels, gas, telecommunications, prison permits, urban and industrial waste, health waste, health and pharmacy supplies, food distribution for people and for farms and animal centers, living/dead animal services, and slaughterhouses.


President Pedro Sánchez at “State of Alarm” press conference | Photo credit: La Vanguardia


Starting at 00:00 on March 14, 2020.

Minimum validity: 15 days.

  • Public transport: a third of its capacity and an increase of disinfection
  • Closures and suspensions in the field of leisure:
    • – Sports: ski and mountain resorts, gyms and other public and private sports facilities
    • – Cultural: theaters, cinemas and all public shows
    • – Holiday: Party and concert halls, pubs and clubs, karaoke bars, game rooms (casinos, bingo centers and recreational facilities)
    • Amusement and theme parks and any other leisure or recreation entities.
  • ∙ Restaurant closures: bars, cafes, restaurants and other catering establishments; Except in a hotel establishment, health center or residential home.
  • ∙ Closing of shopping centers: including large stores and galleries, except for establishments exclusively for the sale of food, cleaning and hygiene.
  • Hunting and fishing
    • Prohibition of hunting raids and collective hunting (two or more hunters)
    • The counties of Alt and Baix Empordà, La Garrotxa, Pla de l’Estany, Gironès, La Selva i Osona to the east of the Vic meridian are excluded, as are the actions in application of exceptional authorizations for damages to agriculture
    • No contest or competition of continental fishing or hunting will be authorized.
  • Social services
    • Closing of the centers and services of the public social network (children, disability, dependency and pre-work)
    • Suspension of activities in occupational centers, except for those that require continuity of care
    • Suspension of face-to-face visits of Technical Services Meeting Points.
    • Public and private social services will be able to meet the needs of the users with the diligence that the nature of the service requires.
  • Suspension of vigils for COVID-19 victims

Quim Torra at press conference asking for Catalonia’s confinement | Photo credit: El Diario


The general measures for individual protection against COVID-19 are the same as those for flu, and include:

  • Frequent hand cleaning (washing with soap and water or alcohol-based solutions), particularly after contact with respiratory droplets.
  • Keeping a minimum distance of two meters from people showing symptoms of an acute respiratory infection.
  • When coughing or sneezing, you should cover your nose and mouth with the inside of your elbow or with a disposable tissue that should be thrown away immediately afterwards.
  • Avoiding sharing food or utensils (such as cutlery, glasses, napkins and handkerchiefs) or other items that have not been properly cleaned.
  • Avoiding touching your nose, eyes and mouth.

#YoMeQuedoEnCasa (“#ImStayingAtHome”) is a trending topic in Spain

The most important thing you can do right now is to stay home and remain calm. It’s easier for some but, despite the difficulties these safety measures might have created for us, we must do everything we can to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We really are in this together, so use this as an opportunity to connect with your loved ones, either at home or over video calls, and keep each other safe and healthy. It’s the perfect time to recharge your batteries and maybe even catch up on housework, hobbies or even try to learn a new craft or skill. The point is, this is not the end of the world. Ordinary life has been put on pause, but there’s so much we can do from home, thanks to technology.

A lot of initiatives and services being provided online to help entertain us while we are in confinement. Here is a list of a few options from Spain that might serve you well:

  • The editorial Hearst España is offering all of its magazines online for free: 10 minutos, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Que Me Dices, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Mi Casa, Nuevo Estilo, Men’s/Women’s Health, Fotogramas, etc.
  • Yo Me Quedo En Casa Fest” Online Music Festival: Many artists, from their Instagram profiles, will put on live video concerts for at least 30 minutes each, treating it as a private, acoustic show. For the full line-up and schedule click here.
  • You can also watch theater online! Here are the available shows.
  • Some authors, such as the illustrator of the El Torres comics or the authors of El Bosque, have uploaded some of there books/comics online.
  • Movistar Lite will be free for one month due to the coronavirus pandemic
  • If you’re a member of the library system, you have the possibility of accessing a catalog of efilms. All you need is your library card!
  • For those who telework from home, PcComponentes is offering free remote assistance if you send them a company certificate that you are teleworking so as not to saturate the services.
  • The following museums are offering free audiovisual content online: El Prado, El Reina Sofia and El Thyssen
  • The editorial Perrolokogames has released its Dirty Fridge board game in PDF format for those who want to print it out and play it.

If you search for other offers due to COVID-19, you’ll be able to find a lot of other great ideas from around the world. It seems that most are on board with encouraging people as much as possible to stay home.

In the coming days, we will be taking up the torch and posting more content to help give you ideas on how to get creative and enjoy the time at home.

Spread the word and stay safe!

#WeAreInThisTogether #StayHome




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