More than 50,000 Costa construction workers back on site as ban ends

A worker wears a protective mask at a reopened construction site in Malaga.
A worker wears a protective mask at a reopened construction site in Malaga. / SALVADOR SALAS
  • Gardening is another big local employment sector that had been shut down for two weeks as part of the ban on non-essential industries

Last Sunday marked the end of the government's two week ban on non-essential work, although the state of alarm which started on 15 March still continues until at least 26 April.

Monday was the first working day back for employees who are not in any of the fully shutdown sectors of the economy (such as restaurants, gyms or bars) and those who are unable to work from home.

In Malaga province this included the return of over 50,000 workers in the construction sector to outdoor sites and public works. Builders visiting homes where people are living have been banned however.

Building sites weren't expected to be working at full speed, with fears over a lack of availability of some construction supplies.

Bosses had worked with unions and authorities to introduce safety guidelines such as working at least two metres apart or using masks where that isn't possible.

Another big non-essential sector to go back to work was gardening, which provides a lot of employment in the developments and public gardens of the Costa del Sol. Food and healthcare manufacturing had not been paused but other non-essential industry was allowed back. Firms were expecting a slow start because of a decrease in demand for their products.

While call centre workers and other similar activities were officially allowed back after this two-week extra measure, there was little change in those leaving home as the majority have been working remotely since the general state of alarm on 15 March.

Among the local large construction sites being opened up again were the widened access motorway to the PTA high-tech business park near Malaga and work on several key new hotels in the city.

Marbella council was also among those saying that it was carrying on previously halted works, including building on the town's language school, planned repairs to sports facilities and street resurfacing work that was already under way.