Latest update in Spain at 13.45h on Fri 16 Oct :
The High Court of Catalonia has now ratified all the new restrictions imposed by the Catalan government and which came into force on Friday.
The Catalan government has announced the closure of bars and restaurants for 15 days, permitting takeaway and delivery services only. Larger retail stores will have to reduce to a maximum 30% capacity, while professional conferences and trade fairs are also to be suspended. Cinemas and theatres must reduce to a maximum 50% capacity, down from the current 70%. Parks must now close at 8pm. Hair salons can remain open but beauty clinics are to also be closed. Casinos and gambling halls will also close.
Sports federations in Catalonia had already agreed to put on hold all non-professional competitions for at least the next two weeks, whilst gyms are allowed to remain open with 50% maximum capacity.
The new restrictions are part of new measures to combat the rise of Coronavirus (Covid-19) infections. The restrictions have come into effect on Friday.
Bars and restaurants in Catalonia had already been obliged to follow social distancing guidelines, and there were a number of towns and cities that had a 50% capacity limit imposed.
Announcing the new measures on Wednesday together with the Catalan government spokeswoman Meritxell Budó, vice-president Pere Aragonès said, ‘We have to make a move today in order to avoid a total lockdown.’ Urging people to ‘limit’ movement and social interaction, he also called for citizens to work from home, where possible.
Regional health minister, Alba Vergés, said on Monday that people should be ready to ‘sacrifice their social life’. Social gatherings in Catalonia are already restricted to a maximum of 6 people.
On Tuesday, the secretary general of the Catalan health department, Marc Ramentol, said in an interview on RAC1 radio that the restrictions will aim to ‘reduce mobility and social interaction’.
Universities in Catalonia will also be moving all lectures online from this Thursday, due to a sharp increase in Coronavirus transmissions in recent days.
The Catalan government has urged companies and universities to operate remotely for the next two weeks in an effort to curb the surge in infections, seen as ‘extremely worrying’. University activities where remote working is not possible, however, such as laboratory work, will continue as before.
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