Back to work

Conten Table

Back to work

The Moncloa, displaying its communication skills, has labelled what is coming as “transition to a new normality“. It is our turn today to address what the new normality and the return to work mean in terms of fundamental rights and freedoms.

What’s new in the BOE

It is now time to talk about the five ministerial orders that have just been published in the Official State Gazette. They are:

  • Order TMA/384/2020 of 3 May, issuing instructions on the use of masks in different means of transport and setting requirements to ensure safe mobility in accordance with the plan for the transition to a new normality.
  • Order SND/385/2020, of 2 May, amending Order SND/340/2020, of 12 April, suspending certain activities related to intervention works in existing buildings where there is a risk of contagion by COVID-19 for persons not related to this activity.
  • Order SND/386/2020, of 3 May, which relaxes certain social restrictions and determines the conditions for the development of retail trade and the provision of services, as well as hotel and catering activities in the territories least affected by the health crisis caused by COVID-19.
  • Order SND/387/2020, of 3 May, regulating the process of co-governance with the autonomous communities and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla for the transition to a new normality.
  • Order SND/388/2020, of 3 May, establishing the conditions for the opening to the public of certain businesses and services, and the opening of archives, as well as for the practice of professional and federated sport.

To follow these orders, we suggest that you review our previous note entitled: “Can we go back to work?

The orders cover several matters, we will focus on the most common and/or relevant ones, we remind you that our lawyers are on call, so if you have any doubts please do not hesitate to call us.

All hydroalcoholic gels shall be: with virucidal activity authorised and registered by the Ministry of Health.

In terms of transport for the return to work

  • Use of face masks is mandatory on public transport. It must cover the nose and mouth.
  • In private vehicles there may be two occupants per row of seats, leaving the maximum distance between them. Masks must be worn by all passengers. If there is no mask, only the driver may be in the vehicle.

Back to work and business reopening

Regarding the reopening of businesses whose activities were suspended due to the declaration of the state of alarm:

A distinction must first be made between:

  1. Activities that have not been suspended with the declaration of the state of emergency.
  2. Activities/premises with a surface area larger than 400 square metres or located in shopping centres or similar without independent access to the street. These remain suspended.
  3. All other activities suspended by the decree declaring the state of alarm.

For the third group, you shall

  • We highlight the most important, read carefully articles 1 and 4 of the order SND 388/2020.
  • Establish an appointment system, only those who have an appointment can be inside and there can be no waiting areas. If you arrive early or cannot be served, you will have to wait in the street.
  • Attention should be individualised and distances should be maintained. A maximum of one person/client per worker present. If distances cannot be maintained, counters and/or partitions should be used.
  • A preferential timetable for the over 65s must be set up. This must coincide with the walking timetable for this group (bear in mind that the walking timetable may be different for the 65 to 70 and 70+ age groups according to order SND/380/2020, of 30 April, article 5).
  • The time spent in the establishments and premises shall be the time strictly necessary for customers to make their purchases or receive the service.
  • In establishments where it is possible to serve more than one customer at the same time, the two-metre interpersonal safety distance between customers shall be clearly marked with floor markings, or by the use of beacons, signage and signposting.
  • Customer service shall not be carried out simultaneously by the same worker.
  • Hydro-alcoholic gel dispensers shall be made available to the public at the entrance to the premises and shall be in a serviceable condition at all times.
  • In establishments and commercial premises with self-service areas, the service shall be provided by an employee of the establishment, in order to avoid direct handling of products by customers.
  • Trial products may not be made available to customers.
  • In commercial textile, garment and similar establishments, fitting rooms shall be used by one person only and shall be cleaned and disinfected after use.
  • In the event that a customer tries on a garment that is not subsequently purchased, the operator shall implement measures to ensure that the garment is sanitised before it is made available to other customers.

Both the first and the second group:

  • They may set up systems for the collection of purchased products from the premises.
  • Only premises and shops in the municipality of residence may be used, unless the product or service is not available there.

Hygiene measures to consider for the return to work

These return to work measures do not affect those who have already been authorised to return to work.

  • We highlight the most important, read carefully article 2 of the order SND 388/2020.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of the facilities shall be carried out at least twice a day. Particular attention shall be paid to the most frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, counters, furniture, handrails, vending machines, floors, telephones, hangers, trolleys and baskets, taps, and other similar items, according to the following guidelines

Cleaning guidelines

    • One of the cleanings shall be carried out at the end of the day;
    • The workstations shall be cleaned and disinfected at each change of shift, paying special attention to counters, screens, keyboards, payment terminals, touch screens, work tools and other elements susceptible to manipulation, paying special attention to those used by more than one worker.
  • Daily washing and disinfection of uniforms and work clothes, where appropriate, which shall be mechanically washed in washing cycles between 60 and 90 degrees Celsius.
  • Ensuring adequate ventilation of all establishments and business premises.
  • Toilets in commercial establishments shall not be used by customers, except when strictly necessary. In the latter case, toilets, taps and door handles shall be cleaned immediately.
  • All establishments and premises shall be provided with litter bins, preferably with a lid and pedal. Such litter bins shall be cleaned frequently and at least once a day.

Risk prevention measures

Measures for personnel providing services in establishments and premises open to the public. It affects those who have already been authorised to open.

  • We highlight the most important, read carefully article 3 of the order SND 388/2020.
  • At-risk” workers will not be allowed to return to their jobs in commercial establishments.
  • Ensure that all workers are provided with personal protective equipment appropriate to the level of risk and that hydroalcoholic gels with virucidal activity authorised and registered by the Ministry of Health for hand cleaning, or where this is not possible, soap and water, are permanently available at the workplace.
  • The use of face masks is mandatory when the interpersonal safety distance of approximately two metres between the worker and the client or between the workers themselves cannot be guaranteed.

The above shall also apply to all employees of third parties who provide services on the premises or establishment, whether on a regular or ad hoc basis.

Further measures

  • Fingerprint clocking shall be replaced by any other timekeeping system which ensures appropriate hygienic measures for the protection of the health and safety of workers, or the clocking device shall be disinfected before and after each use, and workers shall be warned of this measure.
  • The layout of workstations, the organisation of shifts and other working conditions on the site shall be modified as necessary to ensure that the minimum interpersonal safety distance of two metres between workers can be maintained.
  • The distance between the seller or service provider and the customer during the entire customer service process shall be at least one metre when protective elements or barriers are in place, or approximately two metres without such elements.

Other services

In the case of services that do not allow the maintenance of the interpersonal safety distance, such as hairdressing salons, beauty or physiotherapy centres, the appropriate personal protective equipment must be used to ensure the protection of both the worker and the client, ensuring in all cases the maintenance of a distance of two metres between one client and another.

  • If a worker starts to show symptoms compatible with the disease, the telephone number provided by the corresponding autonomous community or health centre shall be contacted immediately. The worker must leave their work post until their medical situation has been assessed by a health professional.

Back to work in the hotel and catering industry

Hotel and catering activities (which fall into the third group above and are covered by the above) have other specificities:

  • We highlight the most important, read carefully chapter II of the order SND 388/2020.
  • Hotel and restaurant activities.
  • Home delivery and collection of orders by customers from the establishments concerned may be made. Consumption inside the establishments is prohibited.
  • In home delivery services, a preferential delivery system may be established for people over 65 years of age, dependent persons or other groups more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.
  • For pick-up services at the establishment, the customer must place the order by telephone or online. The establishment will set a pick-up timetable, avoiding crowds in the vicinity of the establishment.

Enabled space

There shall be a designated and signposted area for the collection of orders where exchange and payment shall take place. Adequate physical separation shall be ensured or, where this is not possible, counters or partitions shall be provided.

  • In establishments that have order and collection points for vehicles, customers may place orders from their vehicle in the establishment itself and proceed to subsequent collection.
  • Shops may only be open to the public during order collection hours.

Security measures (hotel and catering)

  • The following shall be made available to customers on leaving the establishment: litter bins with non-manually operated lids, equipped with a waste bag.
  • The time spent in the establishments where the collection of orders is carried out will be the time strictly necessary.
  • In the event that more than one customer cannot be served individually at the same time under the conditions set out in the previous section. Access to the establishment shall be on an individual basis, with no more than one customer being allowed to remain in the establishment, except in the case of an adult accompanied by a disabled person, minor or elderly person.

The order includes specific issues relating to other groups that are not detailed here for the sake of brevity:

  • Professional sporting activity (Chapter III)
  • Archiving services (Chapter IV)

All of the above shall apply from the early hours of Monday 4 May 2020 until the next amendment.


The newspaper Cinco días has published a summary infographic which is reproduced below, but please note that everything it says can be modified at any time by the government:



We have tried to keep this note as brief as possible. The published order is extensive and will require a titanic effort on the part of many companies to comply with the conditions imposed. We strongly recommend that you read the articles cited (they are quite schematic) in order to have a clear understanding of the security measures to be adopted.

We do not rule out, as it has become customary, that tomorrow Monday, at 7 a.m., “something” will come out with immediate effects if this is the case, and if the “something” is worth it, we will inform you promptly. We recommend that you follow us on social media as it is a more immediate means:

As always, we remain at your disposal, we hope this note on the regulations allowing the return to work will be useful.

Image credits: PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay

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