Spain’s President Pedro Sánchez has succeeded in extending the state of alarm for a further two weeks until the 24th May. Sánchez managed to win 178 votes in Spain’s congress of deputies – two more than were required to pass the measure.
The main PP opposition party abstained, while the far-right Vox party and a handful of far-left nationalist parties opposed the motion. Key to winning the vote were the support of the centrist Basque nationalists PNV, and Ciudadanos.
The vote means that the government’s four-phase plan for leaving the lockdown will remain in operation until the 24th May, and the state of alarm will remain in place until then, and longer if Sánchez succeeds in winning a fifth extension.
Among Canarian representatives, five Socialist and two Podemos Unidas deputies voted in favour; the two PP representatives abstained and two Vox deputies opposed the motion – all in line with national party policy. The Nueva Canarias party backed Sánchez’s plan from the outset, saying “Unlike other parties, we will not bargain with public health at stake”. Ana Oramas, the single representative of the Coalición Canaria, initially said she would abstain but voted in favour after claiming to have received an undertaking that the government would extend ERTE (furlough ) schemes on the Canaries until the re-establishment of international flights.
Entering Phase 1
Meanwhile, every single Spanish region apart from two has requested to fully enter Phase 1 of the government’s plan next Monday. As one of the regions least-affected by the virus, and with three islands already in Phase 1, it is almost certain that the Canaries will get the green light.
However, there were surprises elsewhere. While Catalonia has opted for caution, and intends to keep Barcelona, Girona and parts of Lleida under lockdown, Madrid has requested permission to enter Phase 1 despite being one of the worst affected areas of Spain. Currently, Madrid still has over 16,000 active cases of COVID 19 (the Canaries, in contrast, has 833 and Lanzarote just 13).
Phase 1 will permit meetings of up to 10 friends and family, the opening of bar and restaurant terraces up to 50% capacity (one in two tables), open air markets will be permitted at 30 % capacity and religious services can take place at 30% occupancy.
Summer fiestas cancelled
Following meetings to discuss the proposal, the island’s seven Ayuntamientos have agreed to cancel all fiestas until 1st October, and will divert the money saved towards social assistance.
The decision was announced by Teguise’s Mayor Oswaldo Betancort earlier today and effectively cancels Lanzarote’s summer fiesta season, including events such as the Romeria de los Dolores, Arrecife’s fiestas de San Ginés and the fiestas de Carmen in Puerto del Carmen.