What essential activities are exceptions to tighter lockdown rules?

Health, food, banks, insurance and media fall outside prohibition on traveling to work until April 9

A worker unloads a delivery truck outside a supermarket (by Blanca Blay)
A worker unloads a delivery truck outside a supermarket (by Blanca Blay) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 30, 2020 12:23 PM

The Spanish cabinet meeting ratified on Sunday the enhancement of a lockdown to fight covid-19, seeing all workers of non-essential activities obliged to stay home from March 30 to April 9, inclusive – although there is a one-day moratorium so that all activities can come to a halt "progressively." 

Those affected by the tighter lockdown will have to make up for the time by December 31 and, in exchange, they will get paid as usual.

The new decree specifies that those people who can go on with their job working from home are not affected by the regulation, as well as those included in temporary redundancy schemes and those off sick or suspended from work for any legal reason. 

Apart from these cases, some activities are not affected by the lockdown, as its publication in Spain's official gazette shows and the Catalan civil protection service summarized: 

1. Shops selling food and drinks; medical, optical and orthopedic products (including pharmacies and doctors); hygiene products; hairdressers (if they work in the client's home); newspapers and stationery; gas stations, tobacconists, technological and telecommunications equipment, pet food; business by internet, telephone or correspondence; dry cleaners and laundries

2. Those taking part in any step of the supply chain of basic products, including food, drinks, animal food, hygiene products, medicines, healthcare products, health technology, protection equipment and hospital material

3. Restaurants and hotel businesses, only food delivery

4. Supply of electricity, products derived from oil and natural gas

5. Essential infrastructures and companies and suppliers of basic services

6. Judges, prosecutors, justice public servants, who have to continue judicial cases not suspended

7. Services of basic public administrations to ensure public services work, including road works, services, supplies and security and maintenance of public buildings

8. People and cargo transport and those activities linked to guaranteeing this transport for journeys allowed under the state of alarm

9. Law enforcement, penitentiary institutions, maritime rescue, civil protection services, fire extinguishing services, security of mines, road traffic and traffic safety

10. Armed forces

11. Private security

12. Health centers, services and shops, those dedicated to elderly people, minors, dependent people and disabled people's care

13. People in research centers of projects related to covid-19

14. Funerary services

15. Animal health centers, services and shops

16. Sales of press

17. Public and private media outlets, including printing and distribution 

18. Financial, banking services and insurance

19. Telecommunications and audiovisual companies, and IT basic services, including those needed for the development of public services (also for servants working from home)

20. Essential services of protection and care of sexist violence victims

21. Lawyers, barrister, social graduates, translators, interprets and psychologists taking part in non-suspended judicial cases

22. Legal advisories, administrative consultancies, those of social graduates and prevention of occupational hazards in urgent matters

23. Workers of notaries and registers for the established basic services

24. Cleaning, maintenance services, urgent reparations and surveillance

25. Handling and picking of dangerous waste, urban waste, treatment of waste water, decontamination and removal of dead animals

26. Welcoming refugees and migrant centers

27. Supply of drinking water

28. Meteorological services

29. Universal posting service of the Spanish public operator

30. Import and supply of health material, including logistics companies, transport, storage, customs officers, and health corridors in general

Catalonia welcomes decision

The details of the new decree were announced one day after Spain's leader, Pedro Sánchez, first explained the measures affecting the work system. 

The Catalan president, Quim Torra, welcomed the measure soon afterwards in an official statement, reminding that this is what he had been demanding since March 13.

"I want to thank the Spanish president for having finally accepted Catalonia's demands."


With 812 new deaths and 6,398 more people testing positive for covid-19 in the previous 24 hours, on Monday, Spain overtook China - where the pandemic began - in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

With the number of confirmed cases in China standing at just over 81,000, the number of people testing positive in Spain rose to 85,195, with 7,340 people dying due to covid-19. In Catalonia, the number of infected rose to 16,157 people, and 1,410 deaths.

Catalonia is the territory in Spain with the highest number of cases after the Madrid region, where 24,090 cases have been confirmed and 3,392 people have died. After Catalonia comes the Basque Country, with 6,057 cases and 297 deaths due to covid-19.