On Saturday 03.15.2020, Spain became the second country in Europe to impose sweeping restrictions on the public, telling everyone to stay indoors.
People could leave their homes to buy food, go to work if they cannot work remotely, seek health care, or to assist the elderly and others in need.
All schools, restaurants, bars and non-essential stores should be closed.
The authorities urged people to remain calm and maintain a one-meter distance in supermarket lines.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez described new measures as drastic and that Spain has the capacity to overcome adversity. Therefore, some important rights must be limited if the virus is to be beaten.
The government would take steps to oversee and maintain the nationwide supply of food, energy and other basic services during the 15-day lockdown, which is scheduled to begin on Monday.
Even as the Spanish government has been stepping up its efforts to fight the coronavirus, its fractious politics and territorial tensions threatened to complicate its response.
On Saturday the Madrid region was already feeling the effects of the restricted movement since its 3.5 million residents started to follow the advice of the authorities to stay at home.
Travel in Spain
The train stations and main avenues were almost deserted. Long-distance trains and buses across the country will have less frequent service. Only stores providing basic services were allowed to stay open. Museums and other public venues also closed.
Quim Torra, Catalonia’s leader, announced that its 7.5 million residents are in lockdown. Moreover, all restaurants, bars and stores were ordered to close. He asked the central government in Madrid to help suspend travel to and from the region by closing airports and train stations.
It was necessary to “restrict entrances and departures” from Catalonia, but such a demand could also fuel the debate over the territorial sharing of power in Spain.
The northern Basque region declared its own state of emergency taking full control over health care.
Seville canceled its Easter celebrations.
In the region of Murcia 400,000 residents were put under lockdown. Visitors were warned to stop heading for the seaside.
Some tourists rebooked their flights in order to leave Spain earlier, in fear of the airports closing.
Namely, Europeans were not psychologically prepared for the coronavirus because they had not faced such crisis in a while and don’t know how to react.