The General Directorate of Legal Security and Public Trust, in coordination with the General Council of Spanish Notaries, issued an Instruction dated 15th of March 2020 regarding the adoption of measures that guarantee the adequate provision of the public notary service during the state of emergency that has been decreed in Spain as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. These guidelines will be followed by the 17 notary schools (one per autonomous community) so that notaries gradually return to normality, given their nature as a public service of general interest.
Nevertheless, the instruction indicates that, given the restrictions in place due to the state of emergency, it will only be compulsory to attend urgent cases in person, as well as those determined by the Government. Therefore, notaries shall refrain from summoning interested parties
The boards of directors of notary schools must agree to lift the restrictions according to the phases in which their autonomous community is, given the different incidence at the local level of the pandemic and its evolution, linked to the size of the different populations.
In the preparatory phase (0) the actions will continue by appointment and the obligation to avoid crowds. The notaries will attend to urgent cases and can be expanded to others that are not, although giving preference to the former. Actions outside the notary office will continue to be limited to urgent cases in which the movement of citizens to the notary office is not possible. In attention to the specific case (hospitals, residences, sick people at home, etc.) the displacement will be conditioned to the existence of the precise protection mechanisms, which will be assessed by the notary.
In the initial phase (1) the actions will continue by appointment and the obligation to avoid crowds. The notarial action will not be limited, not even preferentially, to urgent cases. Exits for authorization of documents may be carried out in cases in which the movement of citizens to the notary office is not possible and will also be subject to the requirement by the notary of the sanitary guarantees indicated for the previous phase.
In the intermediate phase (2) the actions will continue by appointment and the obligation to avoid crowds. The notarial action will have no limitations. Exits from the notary office may be carried out without limitation, under the appreciation of the notary depending on the reservations and guarantees indicated.
Finally, in the advanced phase (3), only the obligation to avoid crowds will remain, so the previous appointment will go from being mandatory to recommended. In the exits of the notary public office, the notary public will be able to establish and assess, as in the previous cases in attention to the specific circumstances, the sanitary guarantees necessary to provide their function.
In all phases, the minimum safety distances of two meters will be guaranteed both in the workspaces and in the areas of access, waiting and attention to the public, to avoid the accumulation of people.