Spain has begun to officially open up again, but some restrictions will remain in place for the coming weeks.
Challenges around transportation and quarantine still exist, but supply chains are moving.
Irish businesses should continue to communicate with their existing clients as the country is very much open for business.
Like the rest of Europe, Spain was badly impacted by the global pandemic but Alberto Cisterna from the Enterprise Ireland office in Madrid, says restrictions have begun to be lifted and businesses are easing towards a new normality.
“The Spanish healthcare system was overwhelmed by Covid-19 and Spain was one of the first countries to enact a total lockdown,” he says. “But we are very happy to see that the number of cases has fallen sharply, and this has enabled the government to start easing some of the measures which have been in place since March.
“This plan for a Transition Towards a New Normality was announced at the end of April and consists of four phases which are intended to relax the restrictions in a gradual, flexible and adaptive way. And although it started officially on the 4th of May and will last for eight weeks until the end of June, we are still in a state of alarm.”
Challenges and opportunities
Cisterna says while businesses in Spain are getting back to normal, some challenges do lie head.
“Firstly the challenge exists regarding transportation options and border restrictions as Spain’s air, land and sea borders have been closed for entry from May 15th and remain so – with limited exceptions,” he says. “And until the 30th of June, passengers arriving in Spain from other countries will be required to quarantine in their place of accommodation for the first 14 days immediately following their arrival.
“It is also important to highlight the fact that the supply chain in the country is fully operational as these measures do not apply to the transport of goods.” Alberto Cisterna, country manager Spain and Portugal
“And also teleworking, or video conferencing, is still the main priority for businesses across the country in response to the pandemic and this will continue to be the same for at least one more month.”
But despite the hurdles which need to be overcome, he is quick to point out that there are also some opportunities to be had, providing clients continue to engage with their counterparts in Spain.
“I would like to remind our client companies that Enterprise Ireland in Madrid is open for business and we are conducting as many engagements as possible,” he says. “In fact we are very happy to say that we have seen some deals confirmed even during the worst phase of the pandemic.
“One important recommendation for our client companies is to stay in touch or to reconnect with their agents, distributors or business partners and also to plan ahead for the Covid-19 post new normality – it really is very important to keep communicating.
“In addition, I would like to remind people that Spain is the fourth biggest economy in the Eurozone, and it represents a great opportunity because of its market size, particularly in sectors such as ICT or digital technologies.
“So my key message today is that we are looking forward to continue working with our Irish client companies as Spain is definitely open for business – and as sale cycles in this country have historically been very long, let’s use this time to plan for the future as Spain is a big economy with a lot more room for new opportunities.”