The first phase of the plan allows citizens to leave their homes, but only during scheduled hours.

By Cailey Rizzo
May 06, 2020
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After seven weeks of lockdown, Spain is beginning “Phase Zero” of returning to normal life.

This week, the Spanish government began easing restrictions and allowing citizens to go outside in Phase Zero of what is being called “The Plan to Transition to a New Normal,” according to The Local Spain. Each phase of the four-step plan will last at least two weeks, before determining if the country can proceed in easing restrictions. If the phases remain on track, the “new normal” will be in place by the end of June.

Two women shop at the La Mallorquina bakery during the second day of reopening to the public after 51 days of closure due to the coronavirus on May 05, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.
Carlos Alvarez/Stringer via Getty

“The de-escalation will be gradual, asymmetric and co-ordinated,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday. “We are going to do it in phases and by the province or the island and there will be no movement allowed between provinces or islands.”

The first phase of the plan allows citizens to leave their homes, but only during scheduled hours, depending on their age. Adults are allowed outside between 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and again 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Elderly or ill citizens are allowed outside between 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and again 7. pm to 8 p.m. Children are allowed outside between the time slots, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., but only for one hour and they must be accompanied by only one adult from their household.

About 300,000 “nonessential” workers were permitted to return to their jobs in “Phase Zero.”

Small businesses have begun reopening, by appointment only. Restaurants are open for takeout and construction and renovation crews can return to their buildings. Professional athletes are also allowed to resume their training, although public games are still off the table. Bars, sit-down restaurants, and most businesses are still barred from reopening, according to CNN.

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Spain’s Phase One is scheduled to begin May 11. Once that phase begins, Spaniards will be able to visit family in groups of up to 10 people.

Spain reported more than 219,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 25,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. It has the second-highest number of cases after the U.S. and one of the highest death rates in the world.

Italy also began easing lockdown restrictions this week. Italians are now allowed to visit family members and public parks, in its first phase of lifting restrictions.