On Saturday evening, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a stopping of all non-essential work activities as from Monday (30 March) until Thursday, 9 April.
Workers, he said, will continue to be paid through "recoverable paid leave"; in the future, they will gradually recover these hours. He gave the example of a construction worker. From Monday, this worker can have this paid leave. A nurse, on the other hand, will not; as nurses are essential workers. While, for example, construction and manufacturing work which is non-essential will cease, the media will continue to operate. The prime minister made a point of stating that he considers this essential.
"We shall be approving recoverable paid leave at an extraordinary cabinet meeting. These measures affect those services that are classified as non-essential in the royal decree. Essential services will continue as they have until now."
This is a necessary measure and an alternative to total confinement, the prime minister said. "It is what the experts are advising us". The measure will be approved at Sunday's cabinet meeting.
The prime minister said: "This pandemic has reminded us of the fragility of human life. More than a third of humans are confined to home in order to fight the virus. Spain is living through its hardest, most bitter times. As we get closer to the crest of the wave, the virus will hit us very hard. It is time to intensify the fight.
"These are very tough days. They are sad, they are bitter. But they are decisive because they are the ones by which we have to measures ourselves and with which to have a lifetime remembering resisting and being united in difficult times. Spain is up to the task."
Sánchez also spoke about the role of the European Union. "It is at the moment of greatest difficulty since its inception; the European Union must rise to the challenge and not disappoint its citizens. Spain is calling for courageous decisions, specifically measures such as guaranteeing the availability of health resources at a time when the global market is so aggressive. Also coordination to ensure repatriation and common cybersecurity. This is the time for the EU. Europe is at stake. Let's make the European flag take root in our hearts."