What is the legal status of the Spanish quarantine for COVID-19?
How does this affect Spanish immigration procedures?
What are the ongoing Legal and Administrative Procedures,
further to Spain’s State of Alarm (Royal Decree 463/2020):
The decree approved by the government on Saturday 14/02/2020 has immediately quarantined the country, limiting the movement of citizens across the entire territory. Besides the mandatory measures below, implemented by the Government, the standstill in the country will have effects and impact on some proceedings, Court deadlines, Tax applications, Administrative matters, Residency applications etc.
Below are the most important legal implications:
- Courts: Court deadlines are delayed and specific terms have been provided for procedural laws. All jurisdictional orders are suspended and interrupted. Time periods will resume as and when the royal decree ceases to be in effect or, as the case may be, any extension thereto.
- Statute of Limitations: Any time limitations to bring a case against within the criminal or civil courts will be stayed, as above.
- Government Taxes or any Administrative Matter of any nature: If you have a tax deadline or need to submit a writ or allegation in any administrative procedure, do not worry: all deadlines or terms are interrupted until this royal decree ceases to be in effect. Notwithstanding the immediate suspension, it will be possible to submit applications on any aspect of administrative law, provided the procedures can be done online even if all deadlines are, by operation of law, are extended.
- Immigration matters: As above, all deadlines will be interrupted. This includes applying for residency renewals, finger print appointments, collection of residency cards, tourist visa deadlines (if someone is in Spain and needs to leave within a specific period, they will not be in violation of Spanish immigration laws) etc.
- Private contracts: Ongoing private contracts or agreements are not dealt with by the Royal Decree; however, the principle of “force majeure” or superior force can and must be applied by parties to a private contract when, in the event of an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties (plague), it prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract. In practice, most force majeure clauses do not excuse a party’s non-performance entirely, but only suspend it for the duration of the force majeur. Our advice here is for parties to renegotiate terms and conditions of the agreement, adapting to the exceptional Coronavirus situation where they are working together and not against each other, with a view to find constructive solutions that suit both parties.
Mandatory Measures Below:
The decree approved by the government on Saturday 14/02/2020 has immediately locked down the country, limiting the movement of citizens across the entire territory.
To deal with the health situation caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. According to Article 116.2 of the Spanish Constitution, the state of alarm can be declared “in all or part of the national territory, when there are health crises that involve serious alterations to normality.”
The declaration of the state of alarm went into action on Saturday night 15/02/2020, and affects the whole of Spain for a period of 15 days.
Under the state of alarm, the central government in Madrid has all powers. All security forces, including local and regional police forces, are under direct orders of Interior.
Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska. The government will reserve the right to fine people who do not respect the restrictions, as is allowed under the 1981 law setting out the conditions of the state of alert.
Public roads and streets for the following activities:
The purchase of foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and essential items.
To attend health centers.
To go to work or to provide employment services.
To return to your usual residence.
To assist and care for seniors, minors, dependants, the disabled, or people who are particularly vulnerable.
In cases of force majeure or of necessity.
Any other activity that is, by its nature, justified.
Vehicles may take to the roads for any of the aforementioned activities, as well as to refuel at gas stations.
All premises and establishments that carry out public-facing activity are closed, apart from those distributing foodstuffs and essential items.
Cafés and restaurants are shut, but they will be able to deliver food to people’s homes.
Public shows such as cinemas and theaters are closed, as well as sporting events, museums, etc.
All local fiestas and marches are suspended.
Civil and religious ceremonies, and services in places of worship, including funerals, can go ahead provided that there are no large crowds and that attendees maintain a distance of one meter from one another.
Military personnel and health installations will be used to strengthen the national health system across Spain. The Health Ministry will ensure that production centers for health supplies continue to operate, including the temporary intervention of companies, private health establishments and pharmaceutical sector centers.
Rail and bus services can be reduced by 50% by operating companies. The authorities will guarantee the circulation of goods across all of Spain. The supply of tickets for travel available for reservation will be reduced by a third. The government will guarantee the supply of electricity, gas and oil, and the protection of infrastructure that is critical to services.
The authorities guarantee the production, storage, transport and distribution of foodstuffs to the consumer. When necessary, the transport of produce will be under escort, and routes will be established to allow for the circulation of personnel, raw materials and finished products. To guarantee these supplies, the government has powers to mobilize the state security forces and the army.
At this point, we feel it appropriate to share with our clients the measures we have taken in response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak which will ensure our service continuity.
Our two priorities right now are providing continued and uninterrupted service to our customers and maintaining the safety and well-being of our employees. To ensure that our team remains healthy and fully functional we have done the following:
100% home office for all
This week, after the decree, we switched to remote work entirely and for now, we all work from the safety of our own homes. To make things easier, all SpainResidency employees are given full online support, so that they can work efficiently and safely.
100% ready infrastructure
Our infrastructure has been completely ready for the massive work-from-home situation long before the Coronavirus outbreak. We have always provided remote work options and many of our employees have taken advantage of this over the years. To this end, the system has been used, tested and is ready for this situation.
Keeping the human touch
We continue to run our operations and are doing our best to ensure the usual availability, quality and speed of our services. However, we would like to thank you for your understanding in case of occasional delays in our support answers. After all, this is an extraordinary situation.
We wish you health and safety during these difficult times.