1. Is the country currently in lock down?
- Spain is under state and a nationwide curfew (except for the Canary Island) of alert until early May 2021. The sate of alert enables the regions to adopt more specific restrictions within the general measures established by the Spanish Government.
2. Are lock down restrictions beginning to be eased or re-imposed?
Depending on the region, but in general, as COVID cases keep increasing the restrictions are getting tighter.
3. Have local franchise laws been amended?
4. Are non-food retailers permitted to be open?
Most regions of Spain have limited the capacity allowed to 60-75%.
Depending on the region some retailers face bigger restrictions than others. For example: Catalonia only allows a 30% of the capacity of retailer businesses (except pharmacies, orthopaedics, opticians and veterinary centres) while Madrid has no restrictions on them.
5. Are restaurants/cafes/bars permitted to be open for dining in?
Most regions of Spain have limited the capacity allowed in bars and restaurants to 60-75%, although terrace spaces can be filled to 100% capacity (providing people social distance by one and a half meters and there is a maximum of 6 people per table). Discotheques, dance halls and bars with live musical performances must be closed. Bar and restaurants establishments must close at 00:00 at the latest new customers cannot be admitted from 23:00.
Note that these restrictions depend on the measures that are being adopted by each region depending on the development of the Covid impact, for example: Castilla La Mancha, doesn’t allow dining in, but does allow dining in terraces, the Basque Country and Catalonia have decreed the closing of restaurants/cafes/bars.
6. Are restaurants/cafes/bars allowed to operate take-away and delivery?
Take-away is subject to the curfew (it depends on the region, but for all of them the curfew goes at least from 00.00 to 6.00).
Delivery services are also subject to time limitation: it depends on the measures adopted by each region that generally suspend these services at 00.00.
7. Is the government providing support to businesses?
Among other measures, the Spanish government is offering to guarantee the financial obligations of businesses vis-à-vis banks resulting from COVID-19 (note that this measure is limited and subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions).
8. Is the government providing support to employees / self-employed individuals?
- Asides from "social" those measures referred to in section 7 above, support is being provided to self-employed individuals, such as:
(i) moratoriums on Social Security contributions for six months, without interest, corresponding to the months of May, June and July 2020; and
(ii) deferment of payment of debts to Social Security whose regulatory period of payments takes place in the months of April, May and June 2020, being of application an interest of 0.5%.
- For employees:
(i) employees who have been dismissed or temporarily suspended will receive unemployment benefits (although they do not need to comply with all the requirements, and the unemployment benefits received during the state of alarm will not be counted when determining the maximum number of months during which such individual can receive benefits).
9. Is there relief for commercial tenants?
- In the absence of an ad-hoc agreement, commercial tenants who are SMEs or self-employed individuals who have "large landlords" (i.e. any individual or entity that owns more than 10 properties or more than 1,500 square meters of real estate) will not be obliged to pay rent during the state of alarm and 2 months thereafter, provided that tenant's activity has been highly affected/suspended by COVID-19 (certain thresholds are to be met). The payment of such rent will be deferred during the remaining term of the agreement and for up to 2 years.
Lourdes Ayala - Bird & Bird LLP