The Catalan government will take rapid regulatory steps to move Catalonia into a "new stage" from Thursday, if the entry of all of Catalan territory into de-escalation Phase 3 is confirmed on that day, according to Catalan presidency minister, Meritxell Budó, who asserted that this change will be made "immediately, within a few hours or a few days."
"We will not remain for any longer than strictly necessary before entering this new stage which will allow us to address the health emergency using all our governmental competences," Budó declared.
The Catalan executive has the option, as the minister explained, of applying the regulations for Phase 3 to Catalan territory and waiting until Sunday 21st when the state of alarm ends, or immediately from Phase 3 entering into what she described as the “New Stage”, which will also remain under the umbrella of the coronavirus emergency situation.
Under this new status, the Catalan government may regulate provisions on specific aspects such as mobility, protection of the most vulnerable groups, the use of masks, and obligations for isolation of those who show Covid-19 symptoms, among other aspects.
Budó recalled that the first change in mobility under this new situation will be that travel between health regions will be allowed immediately, in addition to other measures that may be adopted through the Procicat civil protection committee. The minister asserted that making this change of situation before the weekend will make it possible to ensure that Sant Joan holiday traffic surges at the exit routes from Barcelona and the metropolitan area are "more gradual".
According to the minister, in this "new stage" the Catalan executive will adopt "generic" measures that will be accompanied by sector plans led by the different Catalan government ministries.
Although the transition to Phase 3 will mean a recovery of powers for the Catalan authorities, Budó stressed that the government's decision to favour a phase change is based on the epidemiological data available to it and has not been accelerated for political reasons. "We have always worked with expert advice," said the minister.
Extra payment for health and care home workers
Meanwhile, the Catalan government has also approved the decree which sets the extra salary payment to be made to health personnel who have worked during the Covid crisis. According to this decree, health workers will receive between 1,350 and 350 euros depending on their category and exposure to Covid-19.
Other measures are also included, such as compensation for care home staff, including those working with the elderly and the disabled, who have been on the "front line". Their remuneration will be 900 euros, a sum which will be the same across all job descriptions in residences, from doctors to nurses, to assistants and coordinators. Those who have worked in these centres but not giving direct care to the residents will receive a payment of 500 euros.
The Catalan executive is studying measures to compensate other groups of public workers who have also played a direct role in response to the health crisis.
Likewise, the government today approved special administrative and tax measures to encourage the signing of employment contracts with care home and domestic workers who have been in an irregular situation.
▶ #Portaveu @meritxellbudo. “S’obrirà una línia d’ajuts per valor d’1,4 milions d’euros per fomentar la contractació de treballadores de les cures i la llar en situació d’irregularitat” pic.twitter.com/yMiLNqe5f5— Govern. Generalitat (@govern) June 16, 2020
"Funding worth 1.4 million euros will be made available to encourage the signing of contracts with care home and domestic workers who are in an irregular employment situation"
In relation to the calling of Catalan elections, Budó said that the government remains "focused and centred" on the management of the health crisis. "When the time comes to talk about elections, it will be up to president Torra to talk about that and how he wants to approach the calendar," she said.