Spain’s Ministry of Health has revised its initial guidelines for stores re-openings in Phase 1 regions. By the estimate of the Spanish daily El País, about 70 percent of Spain is currently in Phase 1 of the country’s “de-escalation” of the Covid-19 lockdown. Madrid, Barcelona, certain other populous cities and their surrounding areas remain in the preparatory Phase 0.

The initial draft of the ministry’s Phase 1 guidelines – issued on May 9 and entering into force two days later – limited re-openings to stores of up to 400 square meters, as long as they could meet hygiene criteria. This measure, which resembles what originally happened in Austria and Germany last month, was criticized by Spain’s National Association of Large Distributors (Anged), which saw it as discriminating against bigger stores – the very ones, it argued, best suited for social distancing. In response, the ministry has extended the relaxation to larger stores as of May 18.