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Ins and outs of 'certificate of self-responsibility' for trips out of the house

Answers to some of the main queries about government document aimed to help policing of  official coronavirus restrictions

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23 March 2020 12:33 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Monday saw a so-called "certificate of self-responsibility" introduced by the Catalan authorities that can be downloaded and filled out online on the government's website.

The document is similar to one already in use in France and intends to facilitate the job of police officers who must enforce lockdown orders due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic.

The state of alarm declared in Spain introduced restrictions on the public's freedom of movement, as part of the measures to help halt the spread of the coronavirus.

With people only allowed to leave home for work, to buy food, or seek medical assistance, going out without a good reason can lead to fines of between 100 and 600,000 euros.

Naturally, a measure such as the new certificate brings with it plenty of questions. Below is a summary of some of the queries in the government's online FAQ about the document.

1- What is it for?

To have a certificate that responsibly declares that the activity being carried out in public is one of those authorized under the state of alarm. As it's a standard format, its use will help local police and the Mossos d’Esquadra Catalan police to carry out checks. 

2 - Is it only for trips in vehicles, or also those on foot?

For both, especially if you have to go some distance from home.

3 - Is carrying it mandatory?

No. It's a document to aid the declaration to police, but it's not obligatory. However, it is advisable to carry it.

4- Who can ask me to show it?

Only police officers.

5- What happens if I'm not carrying it and I'm stopped by the police? Can they give me a fine for not having it with me?

No, they can't fine you for not carrying it. If you don't have it with you and the police stop you, you must certify that what you are doing at that time is in line with what's authorized under the state of alarm.

6- Does it replace the work certificate that my company gave me?

No. The self-responsibility certificate is complementary to the work certificate given to you by your company to help you get to and from your workplace. Carry both of them with you.

7- Where can I get it?

You can download it from the website of the Catalan government (Generalitat de Catalunya) or the home office (Departament d'Interior). The patrols of the Mossos d’Esquadra and the local police will also have printed copies of the certificate available should you need one at a checkpoint. Do not go to a police station to get a copy.

Places of work and establishments that are authorized to open may also have printed copies, although they are not obliged to have them. Do not go there expressly to get one.

8- Can I print one out and fill it in by hand?

Yes.

9- Do I need a paper copy or can I carry a digital copy?

You can carry a paper copy, or a digital copy on your mobile phone or other electronic devices, such as a tablet.

10- Do I need to sign it digitally?

It's not necessary. You can if you want, but there is no requirement to do it.

11- Will the police keep hold of my printed copy after I show it to them?

No.

12- Why are these the only activities included?

Because these are the activities laid down by the official state of alarm for COVID19.

13- If there is an activity that does not appear on the certificate, can I add it?

Yes, under the section "situation of force majeure or situation of need” you can specify other activities, as long as they are due to justified exceptional circumstances.

14- Do I need it for a short trip to take out the trash, to take my pet for a walk, or do a quick shop close to my home?

No, as those activities are only for a brief time and near your home.

15- Do I need one for each trip?

Yes, one for each trip. If you have to do more than one activity during the same trip, you should make a note of all of them, specifying which is the farthest away (for example, going to work and to shop for food: tick both activities and note down the address of the destination that is farthest from your point of departure).

16- Can I change or modify the text?

No.

17- What happens if I declare something that not true?

That is a fineable offense, as is verbally declaring a trip that it is not true.

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  • Self-responsibility certificate required for journeys starting on Monday

  • Self-responsibility certificate required for journeys starting on Monday

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