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Catalonia's coronavirus measures are to be further eased for the next two weeks. The pandemic data continues to show a downward trend and the acting Catalan government has decided this Thursday to allow some sectors to have a little more breathing space. Perhaps the biggest change is the lifting of county-based perimeter confinement: up till now, movement across the lines of your county (comarca) have been highly limited, but as of Monday 15th, travel throughout Catalonia will be possible - in bubble groups. Other significant changes: the re-opening of non-essential shops at weekends and the resumption of sporting competitions for the under-16s.

However, special restrictions on mobility and gatherings, standardized thoughout Spain, will apply during the approaching Easter holiday period (Friday March 26th - Friday April 9th). In Catalonia this means reduced gathering sizes: only 4 people in indoor gatherings, unless they're all the same bubble; and only your own bubble group in your home. So for example, you can't have guests round for dinner over that Easter fortnight! Damn! 

So here are the measures. All those listed below come into force thoughout Catalonia from Monday 15th March and will last, initially, for two weeks, until Sunday 28th March. The exception are those EASTER MEASURES on mobility and gatherings, listed in full at the end of the article, which are two weeks away - in force from March 26th to April 9th.

MOBILITY AND GATHERINGS

  • NEW! Lifting of perimeter closure seven days a week - up till now limited to county (comarca) lines. But travel outside your counties can only be in your bubble group.
  • All entries and departures from Catalonia are prohibited without justifiable reasons.
  • Social gatherings are limited to 6 people, with no bubble group maximum - but this is subject to changes over Easter (see below).

BARS AND RESTAURANTS

  • No changes. As at present, bars and restaurants are able to open right through the day from 7:30am until 5pm.
  • Up to six people can sit together at a table. The earlier limit of two bubble groups involved in any gathering has been dropped.
  • The capacity is 100% on the terraces with space between tables and 30% inside.
  • The maximum capacity of bars and restaurants remains at: 100% of usual maximum on terraces with space between tables, and 30% inside.
  • Takeaway food can be prepared and sold throughout the day.

SHOPPING

  • NEW! Weekend opening will now be possible: for both small retail and shopping centres.
  • Large establishments will be able to open up to a maximum floor area of 800 square metres.
  • In shops, the maximum occupancy of 30% of normal capacity is maintained ".

SPORT

  • NEW! Sports competitions are also resumed for those aged under 16. This is in addition to the resumption of federated sports competitions for over-16s announced last week.
  • The public are now allowed to attend all those sports competitions with a pre-assigned seat, except for national and international ones that have prohibitions from other bodies.
  • In sports competitions, the maximum occupancy of space is 50% in outdoor spaces and 30% in indoor spaces.
  • Federated sports and sports councils can continue to train with more than 6 people.

For sporting facilities:

  • Changing rooms are now in use again.
  • Pools can operate at 50% of normal maximum capacity.
  • Open air facilities can operate at 50% of capacity and access control.

EDUCATION

  • At universities, in-person attendance for first and second year courses continues with a classroom occupancy of 30% of capacity. 
  • School extracurricular activities are open for all ages.
  • The previous recommendation that in-person activities be reduced at secondary schools continues.
  • Overnight stays are allowed on school outings as long as they involve the classroom bubble group.

ENTERTAINMENT, CULTURE AND RELIGION

  • Cinemas, theatres, auditoriums and concert halls can continue to open for regular programming.
  • NEW! Special cultural events can be held again: the prohibition on festivals, galas and awards ceremonies is lifted.
  • NEW! Popular and traditional culture is allowed as long as activities are static and take place within perimeters or enclosed spaces, with the same capacity limitations as cultural activities, and with the audience seated.
  • NEW! Gambling halls, bingo halls and casinos can be reopened with a maximum of 100 people, or occupancy of up to 30% of maximum if they are ventilated spaces.
  • Museums, libraries and exhibition halls may also open.
  • Capacity must always be limited to 50% of normal maximum, with an absolute maximum of 500 people. If there is optimal ventilation, this can be extended to 1,000 people
  • "Civic centre" activities have been resumed for those over 60 in the open air and with a maximum of six people.

For religious events:

  • Religious events and acts can be held at 30% of the normal maxmimum capacity.
  • The absolute maximum number of people at an indoor event is 500, while those outdoors or with optimal ventilation have a maximum of 1,000.

EASTER MEASURES (March 26th - April 9th)

For the entire two-week period centred on Easter weekend, the following measures apply throughout the Spanish state:  

  1. Family and social gatherings limited to a maximum of 4 people indoors / 6 people outdoors unless they are a single bubble group; gatherings in private spaces (eg homes) are limited to only your own bubble group.
  2. Travel between Spanish autonomous communities is prohibited, except to the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
  3. Curfew: no change in Catalonia, where the nightly 10pm to 6am timetable continues. But throughout Spain a minimum curfew applies from 11pm to 6am from March 26th to April 9th, which will change rules in some areas. 
  4. In areas where the San José holiday is celebrated, these measures will also apply from March 17th-21st (Valencia, Extremadura, Madrid, Murcia, Galicia, Navarra and Basque Country)

Below, the measures for Catalonia as of March 15th, subject to publication in the official Catalan government gazette. 

mesures covid 15 març

Graphic: Maria López Moya

Main image: A police checkpoint by the Mossos d'Esquadra / EFE

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