Children under the age of 14 will be able to go out into the street starting next Monday, 27 April, but they can only do so if they are accompanying an adult with whom they live in one of the activities allowed by the State of Alarm, going to the supermarket, the pharmacy or the bank.
There is no time limit but the youngster may only go with the adult or person with whom they usually live. There are still no parks or games allowed.
This was announced by the Minister of Finance and the government spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, on Tuesday, during the press conference after the Council of Ministers, the move being the first major relaxation of Spain’s strict coronavirus confinement measures.
The measure had already been leaked by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, who said that it is “a partial relief” from the confinement adding that the “priority” of the Government now is “to avoid a setback in the fight against the virus.”
However he pointed out that, since minors have been confined for five weeks, the probability that they have the coronavirus and will spread it is “really low.”
“The decision to relax the confinement of minors has been taken following the recommendations of experts and making a risk-benefit balance. Most of the children, with some exceptions, have remained at home for five weeks. , the probability that they are infected or can transmit COVID-19 is really low, “said the government spokeswoman.
In order to go outside children must be accompanied by an adult and all hygiene and distancing recommendations must be “scrupulously” followed.
Montero warned that people “must act with extreme caution,” and said “we must not lower our guard”
This means that minors will not, for now, be able to leave the house with adults to go for a walk in the open air.
Montero added that youngsters aged between 14 and 18 will be able to make similar trips to stores unaccompanied, and said that the restrictions may be relaxed further according to the progress of the coronavirus epidemic.
The ongoing confinement of minors has prompted criticism among the political opposition and experts alike, who have been warning of the possible adverse effects the situation is having on the health – both physical and mental – of youngsters.
However this relaxation seems to make little sense as a mother is still unable to take her child out for a breath of fresh air although she can now take them to a supermarket full of, quite possibly, unhealthy people.
Opposition politicians say that the measures are completely unsatisfactory with the leader of the Partido Pupular, Pablo Casado, who has young children of his own, saying that he has been asking for 10 days that children be allowed to go outside after being confined indoors for 5 weeks, but expected that they be allowed to take short walks in open areas. “To find that they are only being allowed to go with their parents to crowded establishments at risk of contagion is unbelievable.”
Many heads of regional Governments have echoed Casado’s words. Juan Manuel Moreno, President of Andalucia said, “As a father I feel a defrauded. It seems much more reasonable to allow children to enjoy the open air and open spaces.”
Spain has the strictest coronavirus confinement measures in Europe, and children have been shut away in their homes for more than five weeks now, with very few exceptions to the confinement rules that allow them to get out onto the streets.