Madrid has announced a number of new restrictions and measures to combat the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19), and which will come into effect from Monday.
It is the region of Spain worst hit in numbers of Coronavirus infections and deaths. Figures released on Thursday showed a further 1,200 confirmed infections there in 24 hours – and 31,146 cases in the past 14 days.
Overall, as of 3 September, there have been 133,656 confirmed cases in Madrid since the start of the pandemic, of which 45,338 people have required hospital treatment. There have been 8,692 Coronavirus-related deaths in the region.
The new measures were announced on Friday by Enrique Ruiz Escudero, the head of the region’s health department, and are as follows:
Maximum groups of 10 people
Social gatherings in private or public between people who do not live together will be limited to 10 people. Previously, it had only been a recommendation for groups of people in public spaces.
Group visits to monuments, museums, exhibitions and all other tour guide activity must also be reduced from 25 to 10 people.
Reduced attendance at weddings & funerals
Capacity to be reduced from 75% to 60% for all ceremonies at places of worship, including at cemeteries, crematoriums or funeral homes. The maximum number of attendees remains as before, that is, 50 people can attend the wakes if they are outdoors and 25 in closed spaces.
Capacity is also reduced from 75% to 60% for all wedding ceremonies and other religious or civil celebrations.
Celebrations that take place after these events are also limited to a capacity of 60% at the venue or establishment where they take place. In addition, they can only be held with the consumption of food and drink at tables, with guests seated. Dance floors will not be allowed, nor standing at bars.
Hotels, bars and restaurants
Regarding the hospitality sector, a safety distance between the tables or groups of tables of at least 1.5 metres must be observed, as well as the chairs assigned to the different tables or groups of tables (until now the distance was 1.5 metres only between the tables).
In Madrid’s bars and restaurants, capacity at counters will be limited to 50%, whilst overall capacity for dining inside will remain at 75%.
Activities – including bullfighting
Activities of ‘public or recreational shows’ in venues and spaces that are not regularly dedicated to such activities will not be authorised – and neither will bullfighting, until further notice.
In addition, the capacity of ‘multipurpose venues’ is to be reduced from 50% to 40%. With regards to betting shops, casinos and racetracks, the capacity is lowered from 75% to 60% – also to be applied to recreational centres, amusement parks, zoos and aquariums.
The measures will be reviewed every 15 days.
In addition to the above, Madrid is also preparing for the possibility of ‘enabling public and private spaces, such as hotels with medical equipment, to isolate people or family groups if they are close contacts of positive or suspected cases that need follow-up care’.
Madrid launched 13 ‘hospital-hotels’ during the pandemic to care for patients diagnosed with Coronavirus but who, for different social or family criteria, were unable to continue their recovery from the disease at home .
On Thursday, Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa – speaking on SER Catalunya radio – had said that, ‘A perimeter confinement in Madrid is not appropriate. Measures to contain the virus [in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona] must be very well thought out and the right job is being done everywhere.’
Illa was also responding to comments made by Emiliano García-Page, the regional president of Castilla-La Mancha region, who had said earlier this week that 80% of the infections in his region had come from the ‘radioactive viral bomb that went off in Madrid’.
The comments made by García-Page drew criticism from Madrid, and come amidst ‘finger-pointing’ between some regions as to the ability to control outbreaks in their areas.
Speaking on the radio on Friday morning, the president of the regional government in Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, said that the new measures announced were ‘very painful’ and ‘very difficult’ to adopt. She also said that the high number of infections in Madrid was the same ‘as was happening in all European capitals.’
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