Phase Zero of the Spanish government's plan to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions, is fully under way today, Monday 4 May.
For the first time in more than seven weeks small businesses have been able to open their doors to customers, albeit by appointment only and observing strict health and safety precautions.
Many of the businesses that took advantage of the easing of restrictions were hairdressing salons, whose services are in great demand after weeks of confinement.
"We're fully booked for this week and next," said Daniel Monge of La Barbería de Málaga, located in the city's Soho district.
Despite the demand, hairdressers and barbers told SUR that they had made sure they complied with the new regulations to protect staff and clients from Covid-19.
These measures include wearing masks, gloves and even face shields, providing hand sanitiser and ensuring a distance of two metres between customers. Facilities for disinfecting the soles of shoes can now be found in salon doorways.
"I have made different signs telling [people] what to do," said Lenette Stockholm of Danish Hair Design, Torre del Mar, going on to describe the extra cleaning of capes, chairs and tools involved from now on.
"I wear a visor and I am really hot. I have done everything I can to keep everybody safe, including myself," she said, admitting that some clients were still wary of going and were confused by the rules.
These regulations include wearing personal protective equipment, providing hand sanitiser and ensuring a distance of two metres between customers as well as disinfecting measures.
Other professionals who have been able to start offering their services by appointment are physiotherapists, dentists, opticians and beauticians.
Among businesses that opened their doors on Monday were vehicle repair garages, which could only receive clients by prior appointment. Many of the problems reported by individual vehicle owners were expected to be related to cars being parked unused for several weeks, such as flat batteries.
One Malaga garage owner, Jorge Gutiérrez, who runs A. Gutiérrez Servicio Eurotaller in Miraflores de los Ángeles, told SUR that he would give priority to customers who need their vehicles to continue with their authorised activity according to lockdown conditions.
"We've bought an ozone machine to disinfect vehicles before repairing them," he said.
Not all businesses authorised to open in this Phase Zero have done so, however. Premises smaller than 400 square metres, from bookshops to hardware stores, were able to open but owners said they had little time to adapt to the health and safety regulations published in the official state gazette (BOE) last weekend.
They were also limited to serving customers by appointment only, a condition that caused many to delay reopening.
When the current Phase Zero turns into Phase One, in most areas this coming Monday 11 May, shops will be able to open to customers without an appointment. New rules in force from then on will include limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time to ensure social distancing.
Few clothes shops were open on Monday, although more are expected next week when the appointment rule no longer applies. Some regulations will take a while to get used to, however. Only one customer can use the fitting rooms at a time and these must be cleaned after every use.
Garments that have been tried on and not purchased must also be sanitised before they can be put back on the shelves.
Large stores and shopping centres will have to wait for Phase 2 (25 May, conditions permitting) to open to the public with restrictions, with full use of malls' facilities not planned until Phase 3 (8 June).
Garments that have been tried on and not purchased must also be sanitised before they can be put back on the shelves, although the regulations do not specify how this is to be done.
Activity has also resumed in some restaurants and bars this week. Phase Zero allows them to prepare meals to take away, if customers have ordered in advance by phone or internet.