British holidaymakers could feel the heat more than usual in Spain after the country passed new law limiting air conditioning output.
Tourists may be used to heading to a cafe or shop to cool off in the intense Spanish summer heat, but that may no longer be the case as new air-conditioning regulations come into force across the country next week.
It comes after an intense heatwave across Europe put pressure on energy resources.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is the new air conditioning rule in Spain?
New rules mean some public buildings cannot adjust their air conditioning to temperatures below 27C.
These include cafes, pubs, bars, restaurants, supermarkets and airports.
Hotel lobbies and other common areas will be locked in, but hotel rooms will not fall under the restrictive rules as they are classified as private spaces.
Schools, hospitals, hairdressers and public transport are also excluded.
In addition, buildings and premises covered by the rule are not allowed to increase their heating to a temperature higher than 19 ° C in winter.
Although the rule is not set by law for Spanish households, residents have been advised to follow it as a general recommendation.
The rules come into effect the week of August 7th and will last through November 2023.
Why have new air conditioning regulations been introduced?
Spanish officials introduced the new law to conserve energy resources across the country.
Temperatures in the country have reached into the 40s, with weather experts saying July 2022 was the second warmest month since 1950.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, during a press conference, made the case for saving energy across the country and also announced that he had instructed ministers and heads of the public and private sectors to remove their ties while at work in order to cool down naturally.
The country is also struggling to reduce its dependence on Russian gas as the Ukraine war rages on.
Alongside air conditioning limits, shops and government buildings will be forced to turn lights off overnight, but streetlights will continue to be used.
What are the reactions to the new law?
Spanish business groups have criticized the plans. The Mirror reports that Antonio Luque, President of the Seville Hospitality Association, said: “We had a very complicated July with temperatures reaching 40ºC in the shade. Having to keep the premises at 27ºC means customers are uncomfortable.
“We hope that we can convince the government to make changes and let the regions with the highest temperatures set the cooling systems a little lower because Seville is not the same as Galicia, where the climate is very different.”
The Madrid Hotel Association has also raised concerns, fearing it will affect tourism in the country.
The new law was also criticized by local governments, with Madrid regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso tweeting: “Madrid will not switch off. This creates insecurity and discourages tourism and consumption.”