I happened to be in Spain during the Semana Santa (Easter weekend). During this holy holiday, the government forces nearly all businesses to shutdown for 4-6 days. When I was in Malaga, all pharmacies and grocery stores were closed. You could not get anything of necessity if you wanted. You could only rely on your neighbors if you needed food. The only businesses I remembered being opened were restaurants including McDonalds and Burger King, souvenir shops, and shops selling sweets. In other words, businesses catered to tourists. I was caught completely offguard when I planned to do shopping during this time. Few people in Spain attend religious services anymore. Semana Santa is just a long holiday for many.
I had an acquaintance who broke his ankle while hiking. But because of the shutdown, he was unable to receive treatment. Only those in emergency could be treated. He would either have to wait until the holidays were over or fly back home to the UK. He chose to go back home.
Yeah, the whole "banning work on these days" thing is retarded. It's just another example of the free lunch beliefset that holds that government can create "free" holidays out of thin air without opportunity cost. This is one of the cases where I get really annoyed by the fact that we're running 21st century society on old paleolithic instincts.
Surely breaking your ankle is an emergency, isn't it? I know if I broke mine I would go straight to casualty.