Like may aspects of our lives, we have tended to take driving for granted, but this activity is also restricted by the coronavirus lockdown. So, when can we drive? Here is a summary of information provided over the past few weeks by the Spanish government and press plus the English language press
Basically, we can do so to go to work if our work is in the “essential” category; to go to a medical centre or pharmacy, to shop, to attend a bank or to drive to an incapable person to provide assistance
As always, the devil is in the detail, so let’s have a closer look so that if stopped, we can give a reason whey we should not be fined. Workers in the essential category should carry a document from their employer supporting this. Shopping? Well here is a can of worms. We all have to eat, so it follows that going to the supermarket for the groceries is fine and dandy, but popping out for a 6-pack and a bag of crisps whilst perfectly understandable may not be deemed essential. There have been many reported cases of police fining people for only purchasing what are deemed to be non-essential items, however, the Minister of the Spanish Interior has just issued a statement that the police should not be policing what folks are buying, so hopefully this will reduce such fines in the future
Why only hopefully? In my business I have long understood that it is not what the law says, but how it is interpreted by the enforcer. Telling a police officer that he is wrong is a sure- fire way to wind him up. So, act with good grace and accept what is happening; appeals processes exist to deal with cases where you believe that you have been wronged. So, to minimise potential problems, keep shopping trips to the minimum, shop only in your own town, keep receipts and go alone
Passengers are not allowed in a car, so you must go to work or anywhere else alone. If you have to have a passenger, they must sit as far away from the driver as possible. Passengers are only allowed if there is a justifiable reason for them being in a car, such as taking a child or infirm person to a medical centre
You can travel to the home of an elderly or otherwise vulnerable person who requires your help. Going to a bank or other financial institution is acceptable so long as there is a compelling reason to do so. That’s about it
Incidentally, whilst most non-food shops are not allowed to open, newsagents are, otherwise we could not read this paper, as are tobacconists which as an avid puffer suits me. Home deliveries are possible and I recently placed, and promptly received, a telephone order with Leroy Merlin who will deliver anything in their range, so if you have some pending DIY projects this may be your lifeline
If your ITV has expired, this is no problem as the stations are not open and amnesty is granted; the same applies to your driving licence, irrespective of where it was issued. Mind you, you have to feel sorry for those whose car failed the ITV without the opportunity to take it for a re-test, as these cars cannot be used until they have passed the inspection
So, whether driving, walking or merely staring at the box, take care