The central government has confirmed the region of Madrid and the city of Barcelona will be able to ease some confinement measures, but will not move to Phase 1 of the coronavirus deescalation plan.
The entire region of Valencia has been approved for Phase 1 according to media reports here in Spain.
A few areas within the region moved up from Phase 0 on May 11, but most of the region was held back.
Madrid reapplied to move into Phase 1 of Spain’s deescalation plan this week, but the Health Ministry government sources confirmed the expection was to turn down the request for a second time.
Instead, the region will be allowed to transition to a so-called Phase 0.5, which was proposed by the Catalan regional government for Barcelona and the metropolitan area.
This involves allowing some businesses to resume activity without the need for appointments, but with limits on capacity still in place.
Sources from the central government clarified that Phase 0.5 is the same as Phase 0, but with certain confinement measures eased in a bid to reactivate the economy.
This means that social gatherings with people outside one’s own household will not be permitted and sidewalks cafes will not be allowed to reopen.
Unlike Madrid, the Catalan regional government did not request for Barcelona and the surrounding areas to move to Phase 1.
It proposed that these areas remain in Phase 0, but with some of the lockdown measures relaxed.
Under the plan, residents will be able to visit cultural centers and museum, at 30% capacity, and borrow and return books from municipal libraries, but they will not be able to leave their municipality.
The decision in Madrid represents a compromise between the demands of the regional government and the Spanish Health Ministry, which believes there is still a high risk of coronavirus contagion in the region.
According to sources from the central government, the situation in Barcelona was more straightforward, each phase of the deescalation plan lasts two weeks, but the Health Ministry has agreed to review requests on a weekly basis.