Spain allowed some employees to return to work in factories, offices and on construction sites on Monday, as restrictions were eased in non-essential industries amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Sectors deemed “non-essential” were put into temporary “hibernation” on March 30 as confinement measures were tightened.
It comes as Spain reports more encouraging casualty figures and amid cautious optimism that the pandemic may be reaching its peak.
The move to lift constraints applies to companies and factories whose employees are largely unable to carry out their work from home. For those firms observing the Easter holiday, the return to work will take place on Tuesday.
Some ten million masks were being made available by the authorities, handed out in metro and train stations to people using public transport.
Otherwise, Spain’s month-long lockdown remains in place and retail stores, bars and restaurants all remain closed, other than those offering home delivery.
On Monday Spain reported its best coronavirus figures for three weeks. The daily number of deaths fell back again on Monday to 517, the daily number of fatalities having jumped by nearly 100 to 619 on Sunday.
That news had tempered hopes that the pandemic may have peaked. However, the underlying trend gave grounds for optimism as the country announced its lowest daily growth in infections since late March.
Spain also reported 3,477 new cases on Monday compared to the previous day — the best figures since the end of March. The national health authority also announced that 2,336 patients had recovered in the last 24 hour period.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Sunday the nation should balance its response to the coronavirus crisis which “threatens to destroy lives and at the same time destroy the economic and social fabric of our country”.