Spanish parents breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday night following a decision by the government to allow children out for short walks, the first time since the lockdown came into force.
It follows the government’s decision to extend the current State of Alarm until May 9 in order to prevent a further spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
The deputy prime minister Pablo Iglesias and Health Minister Salvador Illa announced details of the new guidelines at a press conference on Thursday morning which came following recommendations from expert paediatricians.
During the press conference, Iglesias started by apologising to Spanish children over the confusion about the conditions under which they would be allowed out.
He said, “We have not been completely clear about how you will be able to leave as of Sunday. I know the confinement has not been easy for you and I want to thank you.
“You have played an important role in the fight against the coronavirus so that we can return as a society and all of society owes you a very big round of applause.”
They then confirmed that as of Sunday, April 26, the lockdown measures would be eased for children under the age of 14.
From Sunday, children under 14 will be permitted to go outside once a day between 9 am and 9 pm in order to get some exercise.
Children will need to be accompanied by an adult and must stay within a one-kilometre radius of their homes.
The adult will need to be from the same household and will have the responsibility of making sure that the children behave responsibly at all times. Each adult will also be able to accompany up to three children under 14 from the same household.
On Tuesday, the government announced that children up to 14 years of age would only be able to leave their homes with a parent to visit the supermarket, bank or pharmacy and would not be permitted to ‘go for walks’.
However, the announcement was met with fury by both the general public and politicians which forced Health Minister Salvador Illa to make a U-turn and announced that children would in fact be allowed to go for walks.
Deputy Prime Minister Iglesias clarified things when he said that children “will be able to run, jump and play sport” as long as they maintained social distancing measures staying at least two metres away from other children.
Under the new guidelines, children will be allowed to use a scooter or play with a ball but will not be allowed to go to the park or beach and interact with other children.
Parks and playgrounds will be off-limits and will remain closed during the lockdown.
Health Minister Illa stressed that along with social distancing measures, frequent handwashing would also need to be strictly adhered to when leaving the home and return from public places.
The government also recommends that children wear face masks, however, this is not compulsory due to the difficulty in sourcing smaller masks for younger children.
Children over 14 will be allowed to leave their homes alone in order to perform essential tasks such as visiting the supermarket or pharmacy to pick up medicine.
Unfortunately, adults will still be required to adhere to the current restrictions and can only leave home to shop for essential items, seek medical assistance, help vulnerable relatives or in some cases go to work.
Pedro Sanchez has suggested that further lifting of some restrictions for adults may come after April 27, however, this has yet to be confirmed.