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Spain prohibits offices, bars and shops from setting the AC below 80 degrees

As the Europeans this summer struggle with excessive heat and rising energy costs, Spain issued a decree This week, when air conditioning is required in public spaces, it must be set to 27 degrees Celsius or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The measure will apply to offices, shops, bars and restaurants, as well as public transport and transport centres.

The guidelines also include keeping the heating at or below 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees Fahrenheit) in winter.

The decree was part of a bill passed by the Spanish government on Monday in an effort to cut the country’s natural gas consumption by 7 percent, in line with recent European Union energy deals to limitation of dependency on Russian gas.

Shops will also be required to keep their doors closed and heating systems must be checked more often to increase efficiency under the new measures, Spain’s Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera said.

The measures include switching off shop window lights after 10pm. Street lighting will not be affected.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced the new package last week, saying: “You only have to walk into a shopping center to realize that maybe the temperature has been set too low.”

Not all officials agreed with the changes. Isabel Diaz Ayuso, president of the Community of Madrid, wrote in a translated tweet on Monday, “Madrid does not go out. This creates insecurity and scares tourism and consumption.”

Spain is not the only European country trying to combat energy use and costs. According The guardian, France has told businesses using air conditioning to keep their doors closed or risk being fined. Germany banned the use of portable air conditioning and air heaters.

During a heat wave last month, Spain recorded record temperatures up to 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit). According to Spain’s Carlos III Institute, which records daily heat-related deaths, 360 deaths were attributed to high temperatures from July 10 to 15. This compared with 27 temperature-related deaths in the previous six days.

Spain is one of the hottest European countries in the summer months. The country has already experienced two heat waves this year with temperatures often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for several consecutive days. The temperature is expected to rise again in the first weeks of August.

Spain is one of several European nations that have faced major forest fires this summer, including France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Germany and the Czech Republic. The fires forced thousands of people to leave.

Spain’s decree will remain in place until at least November 2023.

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