25th July 2021
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Catalonia’s four phase plan to lift Covid-19 restrictions – full details

Latest: Coronavirus in Spain figures (9 Feb)

ALSO READ: Details of curfews & restrictions for all regions of Spain during ‘State of Alarm’

Report updated at 11.30h on Weds 20 Jan

#LATEST – Weds 20 Jan – The current restrictions below are now to be extended until 7 Feb. [We will publish further details in due course].

#LATEST UPDATE [14 Jan] – The municipality of residence confinements (announced below and initially set to end on 17 Jan) have now been extended for at least another 7 days, until 24 January – including weekdays and weekends.

#LATEST UPDATE [4 Jan] – The Catalan government is imposing municipality of residence confinements for citizens for 10 days, starting from this Thursday 7 January – including weekdays and weekends. The new measures also include:

  • Only shops of up to 400 sqm will be allowed to open on weekdays, but retail stores will have to remain closed at the weekend except for those providing essential goods.
  • Shopping malls will be forced to close again from 7 January, as will gyms.
  • Leisure activities will also be cancelled, along with extracurricular activities, except for those involving participants belonging to the same group at school.
  • The rules for bars, restaurants and cultural venues remain the same as now (see below). Bars and restaurants will continue to only be allowed to open from 7am to 9.30am and from 1pm to 3.30pm. In the evening, take away and delivery services are only permitted.

Please note that we will also update our full report below in due course.

#LATEST UPDATE [18 Dec] – The Catalan government has announced new measures that will take place from Monday 21 December.

  • All bars and restaurants must close during the evening hours. They are allowed to be open only to the public from 7.30-9.30am and from 1pm to 3.30pm, serving breakfast and lunch. Take away and delivery food will be available during evening hours (until 11pm), but dining areas must remain shut.
  • Bars and restaurants in shopping malls will be totally closed to reduce social interaction.
  • Mobility restrictions (as below), up until now in force only on weekends, are now extended to weekdays, too. Travelling outside the comarca (county) is banned for non-essential reasons, with exceptions for visits to relatives, moving to a second residence, or going to a hotel with the members of one’s social bubble.
  • The 10pm-6 am nighttime curfew will remain in place throughout the Christmas holiday, with extensions until 1 am on 24 and 31 December and until 11 pm on 5 January, the eve of the Three Kings holiday.
  • Social gatherings continue to be limited to 6 people, with exceptions during the national holidays (25, 26 December and 1, 6 January) for 10 people from no more than two different social bubbles
  • Sports centres can remain open with a 30% capacity limit, but the only activities allowed will be low-intensity ones, compatible with the use of face masks. More demanding sport activities have to be outdoors.

Previous update [14 Dec] – From Monday 14 December, shopping malls across Catalonia are now allowed to re-open, in an effort to stop overcrowding in city centres during the Christmas shopping period. Religious ceremonies and weddings now also have their capacity moved from 30%, with a cap at 500, to 30% with a cap at 1,000 people. The 1,000 person limit is also applied to cultural events, as long as the maximum capacity stays at 50%. Weekend mobility restrictions have also been changed. The weekend ban on travel outside the municipality of residence has been replaced with mobility restricted to within the larger comarcas (county areas). The nighttime curfew still remains in place.

Previous update [3 Dec] – Catalonia will not now be moving to its second phase of de-escalation on Monday 7 December, as originally hoped in the Catalan government’s plan detailed below*. Regional health minister Alba Vergés announced on Thursday that Catalonia will stay in the first phase for two more weeks, until 21 December. In the past few days, the Coronavirus figures have begun to rise again across Catalonia, just a week after bars, restaurants, cultural and sports venues were allowed to re-open having previously been closed since 16 October. Please note, we will publish further updates of Catalonia’s four-phase plan to lift restrictions, as and when announced. Please also support us with a donation. Also Read: Restrictions in Spain for Christmas and New Year period

Original Report:

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.

Catalan police
The Catalan police (the Mossos d’Esquadra) carrying out road checks on 3 April 2020 in Barcelona during the lockdown. (Photo Mossos / mosses.gencat.cat)

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, from 6am on Friday until 6am on Monday.
  • 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.

New ‘Phase 1.5’ – from 14 December

From Monday 14 December, shopping malls across Catalonia have now been allowed to re-open, in an effort to stop overcrowding in city centres during the Christmas shopping period. Religious ceremonies and weddings now also have their capacity moved from 30%, with a cap at 500, to 30% with a cap at 1,000 people. The 1,000 person limit is also applied to cultural events, as long as the maximum capacity stays at 50%. Weekend mobility restrictions have also been changed. The weekend ban on travel outside the municipality of residence has been replaced with mobility restricted to within the larger comarcas (county areas). The nighttime curfew still remains in place.

Santa Llúcia Christmas market in Barcelona
An image of the famous Santa Llúcia Christmas market in Barcelona this year. (Laura Guerrero)

Phase Two/Three – possibly 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.

Also read: Details of curfews & restrictions for all regions of Spain during ‘State of Alarm’

Click here for all previous reports on: Coronavirus in Spain

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ALSO READ: Spain resists home confinement measures, but will review in ‘2-3 weeks’

ALSO READ: Spanish Congress votes to extend ‘State of Alarm’ until 9 May 2021

ALSO READ: New ‘State of Alarm’ in Spain

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2 comments

E Baxter 11th January 2021 at 8:35 pm

This is a question. The information about what we can and cannot do regarding travel within Spain was incredibly confusing. (Not Spainenglish fault!). So my son who lives in Barcelona said that he couldn’t visit me in Andalucia because he couldn’t cross certain borders, even though he was visiting family at their home. Can you give me the definitive answer as to whether he could have come (too late now) to visit? I am heartbroken that I haven’t seen him for nearly a year, especially if it could have been possible!

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Spain in English 11th January 2021 at 9:21 pm

We are sorry that your son could not visit you. We published a separate report on the restrictions for Christmas and the New Year period across Spain (https://www.spainenglish.com/2020/12/22/christmas-new-year-restrictions-spain/). In theory, between 23 December and 6 January, the central government had proposed that movement from one region to another should have been allowed ONLY to visit the ‘places of habitual residence of relatives or close friends’. However, each region (Catalonia and Andalusia included) also made adjustments to these recommendations, and many regions closed their borders.

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