The Catalan government has announced that restrictions will start to be relaxed over a period of four phases during the next two months, yet always subject to whether the number of infections of Coronavirus (Covid-19) can be kept under control.
Based on latest figures released by the Spanish Health Ministry on Thursday, the incidence rate for Coronavirus in Catalonia is currently 420.56 per 100,000 inhabitants for the past 14 days. There have been 290,182 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Catalonia since the start of the pandemic, and 7,450 deaths. Just over 40% of intensive care beds are currently occupied by Covid-19 patients.
Catalan interim president Pere Aragonès and the government spokeswoman Meritxell Budó announced the measures at a press conference on Thursday. Aragonès stressed, ‘This is not a plan to go back to normal, to recover our day to day activities. Not yet.’ The current nighttime curfew of 10pm to 6am will remain in place throughout the four phases that have been outlined.
Phase One – from 23 November
From Monday 23 November, all bars and restaurants across Catalonia (and which have been closed since 16 October), will be allowed to re-open. Closing time, however, must be by 9.30pm. Other restrictions are also being relaxed. Here are all the key points:
- Re-opening of bars and restaurants from 6am to 9.30pm. Inside bars and restaurants there should be a maximum customer capacity of 30% and with greater ventilation. There is no maximum capacity for outside terraces, but there should be a safety distance of two metres between tables and a maximum of four people per table (except for bubble groups).
- Re-opening of cinemas, theatres, auditoriums and concert halls at 50% of capacity, up to a maximum of 500 people.
- Museums, libraries and exhibition halls will remain open, at 50% of visitor capacity.
- Re-opening of sports installations and facilities at 50% capacity for outdoors, and at 30% capacity in enclosed spaces.
- Re-opening of commercial establishments of over 800m2 at 30% of customer capacity.
- Non-regulated, special regime out-of-school activities: music and performing arts activities can resume, with a maximum of six students.
- Working mobility still needs to be limited as much as possible. Remote working has to be enabled and flexible working hours encouraged.
Restrictions remaining in force:
- A maximum of six people at social gatherings.
- A perimeter lockdown of Catalonia.
- At weekends, citizens must still remain in their municipalities of residence.
- Nighttime curfew remains from 10pm to 6am.
- Shops at 30% customer capacity for establishments of less than 800m2.
- Virtual classes at universities.
- Religious ceremonies at 30% of congregation capacity.
Phase Two – from 7 December
From Monday 7 December, and only if epidemiological data allows it, further restrictions will be relaxed. The 30% capacity restrictions are expected to become 50%.
The weekend ban on travel outside the municipality of residence is likely to be replaced with a broader limit based on larger comarcas (counties). The nighttime curfew will still remain in place.
Phase Three – from 21 December
The third phase is expected to commence from Monday 21 December, when weekend travel could be allowed throughout Catalonia and social gatherings expected to be allowed up to 10 people. The nighttime curfew will still remain in place.
Phase Four – from 4 January
The last phase is planned from Monday 4 January. We will update with further details of what restrictions will remain in place during this phase in due course.
On Thursday, Pere Aragonès also urged ‘maximum responsibility’ ahead of the Christmas holidays and to reduce social contact, ensure good ventilation, and wear face masks when meeting people outside their social bubble. ‘We can’t send a police officer to each home,’ he said.
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