Costa del Sol moves to Phase One of lockdown easing on Monday

A Malaga bar prepares to open its terrace.
A Malaga bar prepares to open its terrace. / ÑITO SALAS
  • The measure will bring new freedom of movement and allow many businesses to reopen

The provinces of Malaga and Granada will move into Phase One of the Spanish government's plan to gradually scale down its coronavirus restrictions on Monday 18 May.

The two areas, which include the Costa del Sol and the Costa Tropical now join the other six Andalusian provinces which took a step closer to the post-coronavirus 'new normal' at the beginning of this week.

The move means that many of the current coronavirus lockdown restrictions will be relaxed. Social contact will be permitted in groups of up to ten people, respecting distances, and bars and restaurants will be able to open their pavement terraces, but with more space between tables.

The decision was announced on Friday afternoon after a new report submitted by the regional government concerning the two provinces' eligibility to move into the new phase was studied by the ministry of Health.

Phase 1 means that finally people will be able to see their friends and families, have a drink outside a bar or visit the local shops without an appointment.

Places of worship will also be able to reopen, but with only a third of their total capacity.

Movement around the entire province will also be permitted.

Groups of up to ten relatives and friends will be allowed to get together in a private home or on an outdoor terrace of a restaurant, bar or cafeteria or in another public space.

An exception is that people should not visit elderly people or others who belong to a high-risk group.

When people get together they will have to keep a distance of two metres between them, comply with hygiene rules, washing hands frequently.

Bars, restaurants and cafeterias will only be able to serve half as many tables as before in their usual terrace area and tables must be disinfected between customers.

Hotels and self-catering tourist accommodation may open but not their communal areas and facilities.

Shops and small businesses covering less than 400 square metres may now open to the public without appointment, but up to 30 per cent of total capacity. Shops will have to be disinfected twice a day and a two-metre distance respected between customers.

Stores with more than 400 square metres may also open in Phase One, the Health ministry said on Friday, but only using an area of 400 square metres marked out within the store. This will allow clothes stores and car showrooms, for example, to resume trading, but in a controlled area with limited numbers of people.

Cultural events may be held in the open air with up to 200 people providing sufficient spaces can be left between seats. Cultural events indoors are limited to 30 people, and no more than 30 per cent of the premises' normal capacity.

Museums will be able to open, selling tickets in advance and keeping visitors down to a third of normal capacity.

Street markets will also be able to resume, respecting social distancing.