9th May 2020 @ 9:09 am

The Canaries were yesterday granted permission to enter Phase 1 of the Spanish government’s four-phase plan from Monday.  Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and La Palma will now join La Graciosa , El Hierro and La Gomera in the initial stage of the lockdown exit strategy.

Fernando Simón, the director of the government’s emergency committee, described the evolution of the virus in most parts of the Canaries as “spectacular”. “Many of the islands have spent some time with a very small number of  cases,” he said.  The Canarian councillor for health, Julio Pérez, also announced that  he was “proud of the work of health workers and the exemplary behaviour of Canarian society”.

Around half of Spain’s population will move into Phase 1 on Monday, while areas of Catalonia and Castilla y León that did not request the transition will remain in the preparatory phase. The community of Madrid was refused permission to enter Phase 1, despite requesting it.

Phase 1 permits several activities that were hitherto prohibited.  They include:

  • Up to 10 family and friends may gather in private homes or the terraces of bars and restaurants. Gatherings should observe social distancing measures of 2 metres between people, and visits  to anyone with coronavirus or in quarantine is forbidden (this is unlikely on Lanzarote, where just two people are currently quarantined in their homes) .
  • Up to nine members of the same household can share the same vehicle, and a maximum of two people must sit in each row. For the average five-seat car this means four people who live together can travel, always wearing face masks.
  • Restaurants and bars may open outdoor terraces, which are limited to a maximum of 50% occupancy (one in two tables). Again, distancing measures should be observed.  
  • Shops and businesses  of under 400 square metres may open and serve customers without a prior appointment . They are limited to 30% of capacity.  Open air markets may also reopen with 25% of stalls.
  • New rules also apply to religious services (30% occupancy) and funerals. 
  • Hotels and tourist complexes may reopen , but communal zones will remain closed.

Nevertheless, many restrictions remain. The daily time-slots for exercise and walks will still apply for different age groups , although the Canarian government now has the power to change them if it feels this is necessary. 

The list of permitted journeys in cars will be extended to include trips to places of worship, funeral homes, restaurant terraces, markets and hotels. Nevertheless, this is an area that still requires further clarification.

Sixth victim on Lanzarote

A 75-year old woman from Tinajo became Lanzarote’s sixth COVID 19 victim yesterday after dying at her home under palliative care. On the same day, six more patients were declared to have recovered from the virus, leaving just seven active cases on Lanzarote.