► UPDATE: Gov’t to let children under 14 accompany parents on errands
► Criteria change OKs minors in supermarkets, banks, on walks with parent
Spain’s government will begin gradually de-escalating the restrictions on personal mobility under the country’s “state of alarm” lockdown, allowing children accompanied by parents on walks outside the home as of 27th April, with non-essential businesses in some parts of the country opening and their employees returning to work as early as the 10th of May.
Spanish President Pedro Sánchez announced Saturday that this week he will request an additional two-week extension of the state-of-alarm lockdown through 10th May, but that the extension will not be the last and that Spaniards should expect “successive stages” of the lockdown during which the restrictions on businesses and individuals will be gradually lifted.
The first restriction to be lifted, he said, would be the current bar against children leaving the home, under the supervision of one parent or other adult member of a family who will be allowed to accompany children for walking exercise outside the home as of 27th April.
Early Tuesday, the government had changed the criteria for allowing children out of the home, saying walks would not be permissible but that children under the age of 14 will be able to accompany a parent or guardian on “essential errands”, such as supermarket shopping or visits to the bank.
Health officials speaking on Sunday and Monday made clear that the de-escalation of the lockdown would be determined by Spain’s central government, guided by expert scientific and medical advice on which restrictions can be lifted as Spain continues to battle the spread of the coronavirus. The officials left open the possibility that the lifting of restrictions may occur on a differential basis, allowing some regions of Spain less impacted by the COVID-19 crisis to open areas of their economies and allow citizen movement earlier than others.
Health Minister Salvador Illa made clear on Sunday that the central government will retain complete control of the process, knocking back a suggestion from Catalan regional government authorities that they be allowed to set their own rules and timetables for lifting of confinement in Catalonia.
Speaking on Monday, the director of the Center for Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, made it clear that the lifting of restrictions on children leaving home does not mean they will be let out to play without adult supervision.
“They’re not going to go out freely to start playing with all the neighbour children like they used to,” Simón said during the regular daily press conference detailing the government’s efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Spain.
“The doors aren’t going to be opened to say, ‘Kids, go and play’,” he said. “They’re going to be let out under control in a way that does not lead to increased risk.”
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