Madrid, Barcelona, and Castilla y León authorised to enter Phase 1 of Spain’s de-escalation plan

Madrid, Barcelona, and Castilla y León authorised to enter Phase 1 of Spain's de-escalation plan
Madrid, Barcelona, and Castilla y León authorised to enter Phase 1 of Spain's de-escalation plan

Madrid, Barcelona, and Castilla y León have been granted permission by Spain’s central government to enter phase 1 of the de-escalation plan.

The rest of Spain is already in phase 1 and most parts of the country are preparing to transition to phase 2 early next week. Phase 1 allows social gatherings of up to 10 people as well as the opening of bars and restaurants where patrons may use the external terraces.

There has been some friction between heads of regions and the central government in recent days. Last week, Madrid were denied permission to transition to phase 1 which was met with some criticism from the head of the region, Isabel Díaz Ayuso of the Partido Popular (PP), who tweeted, “No technical explanation. We are not the region with the largest percentage of contagions. We are prepared. Our businesses are being ruined and every week we are losing around 18.000 jobs. Madrid has complied.”

Related: Madrid and Barcelona will remain in Phase 0 but some lockdown restrictions will be eased

Madrid requested permission to move to phase 1 on two previous occasions but was permission was denied both times. On both occasions the community was told that it had not met the health requirements defined by the experts.

Earlier this week, Ayuso tweeted that Madrid had one of the best health systems in the world and that she would be meeting with specialists to agree on a way forward for the coming months. “Madrid is prepared to pass [to phase 1] and is ready to fight against #COVID19”.

This morning Spain’s Minister for Health, Salvador Illa, notified regional health chief, Enrique Ruiz-Escudero, that Madrid was now permitted to move to the next phase. Illa also confirmed that all the provinces of Castilla y León and the city of Barcelona would move to Phase 1.

Confirming the announcement to the community of Madrid, Ayuso said, “What good news is the pass to Phase 1! Freedom always takes responsibility: we have to learn to live with COVID, taking extreme precautions not to go back. A success for the people of Madrid and their health”.

All of Spain is now in phase 1 and almost 50% of the population will be in phase 2 of the de-escalation plan shortly.

Related: 47% of Spain goes to phase 2 on Monday while Madrid, Barcelona and Castilla y León go to phase 1

The following regions will transition to the second stage withing the next few days:

  • Andalucia (not including Málaga and Granada)
  • Castilla-La Mancha (not including Toledo, Albacete and Ciudad Real)
  • Galicia
  • the Balearic Islands (Formentera moved to phase 2 last week)
  • the Canary Islands (La Gomera, La Graciosa and El Hierro are already in phase 2)
  • Basque Country
  • Asturias
  • Cantabria
  • Navarre
  • La Rioja
  • Aragón
  • Extremadura
  • Murcia
  • Ceuta
  • Mellila

With the exception of the Valencian Community all regional authorities have now asked to progress either in part or completely to phase 2 of Spain’s de-escalation plan. On Tuesday, Minister of Health for the Valencian Community, Ana Barceló, announced that the Valencian Government would not submit a request for autonomy to go to Phase 2 and that it would wait out of the sense of prudence (“por el sentido de prudencia”).

Related: Valencian Community to continue in Phase 1 until May 31