A woman wearing a protective face mask smokes a cigarette on June 6, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.

  • Spain was one of the first countries to go into a nationwide lockdown in March 2020.
  • It also had one of the strictest stay-at-home measures, and issued millions of fines for violations.
  • Now the country is reimbursing residents who were fined for violating the initial lockdown.
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Spanish citizens who were fined for violating a nearly three-month Covid-19 lockdown last spring will be reimbursed, the Associated Press reported.

In the announcement Friday, the Ministry of Territorial Affairs said the measure would apply to the 1.1 million fines that were issued to hundreds of thousands of people for violating stay-at-home orders that began in March 2020, The New York Times reported.

Not every fine that was issued has been paid, AP reported. Spain said it collected around 115 million euros, or $134 million, in fines as of July, The Times reported.

In March 2020, Spain ordered its 47 million residents to stay home as the novel coronavirus spread across the country, The Washington Post reported. It was the second European country, after Italy, to order a nationwide lockdown.

The measure, initially a 15-day state-of-emergency, was extended as the virus continued to spread.

Spain's lockdown was one of the strictest in the world, prohibiting even children from going outside to play, The Times reported.

"I've forgotten what it's like to be on a street," 9-year-old Lia Aparicio Cenador told The Times in April 2020.

The decision to reimburse the fines that were paid came after a July ruling by Spain's Constitutional Court that said the government had overstepped its powers and violated freedom of movement rights, The Times reported.

Spain has recorded close to 5 million Covid-19 cases and at least 87,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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