Catalonia will return to confinement within the boundaries of local counties (comarques) on Thursday night at midnight. Faced with the rise in some coronavirus indicators in recent days and fears for the effects of the increased mobility that has occurred during Easter, the Procicat civil protection committee has decided to take a step back and return to this perimeter closure measure.
The decision, officially announced this Wednesday afternoon by Catalan health minister Alba Vergés, will enter into force virtually immediately - at midnight on Thursday night, so that it will already apply on Friday. This brings the measure forward, since the rest of the current Easter measures expire 24 hours later, at midnight on Friday. The reinstated perimeter closure measure will apply seven days a week and initially will last until Monday 19th April.
Catalonia is divided into 42 comarques, which group together a number of municipalities. The Barcelonès comarca, for example, is dominated by the the municipality of Barcelona city, and in addition contains L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Badalona, Sant Adrià del Besòs and Santa Coloma de Gramanet.
Measure reimposed after three weekends
Thus, after just three weekends when travel by household bubble groups throughout Catalonia has been allowed, mobility restrictions have been applied once more. In fact, yesterday Catalan health officials warned that increases in intensive care admission could be dangerous, since the pressure has not yet dropped since the last wave. Today, 1,712 new infections have been confirmed in Catalonia. At the last peak, on January 24th, there were 3,038 in a day. Intensive care Covid patients have gone up from 445 to 458. The Rt transmission index is, for the moment, below the critical level of 1, at 0.93
Here are all the measures decided by the Procicat which apply until April 19th, with measures that mark a change from current rules signalled as NEW:
MOBILITY AND GATHERINGS
- NEW: Perimeter closure by counties (comarques) will apply in Catalonia, and thus it will no longer be possible for people in the same bubble group to leave their comarca of residence, as was allowed during Easter. This measure is the only one that varies with respect to the latest resolution of the PROCICAT, and will enter into force from midnight Thursday, April 8th.
- All entries and departures from Catalonia are prohibited without justifiable reasons.
- NEW: Social gatherings are limited to 6 people, with no bubble group maximum, and once again it will be allowed to have gatherings of up to six in your home including people from other bubble groups - thus reverting the tighter restrictions on social gatherings that applied over Easter. This change comes into force a day later, on Friday at midnight.
- Curfew is maintained from 10pm to 6am, seven days a week.
BARS AND RESTAURANTS
- As at present, bars and restaurants are able to open right through the day from 7:30am until 5pm.
- NEW: As of Friday at midnight, up to six people can sit together at a table, from any number of bubble groups. This reverts the tighter Easter restrictions.
- 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.
- Weekend opening will continue to 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 ".
- Sports competitions can continue for those aged under 16. This is in addition to the already-resumed federated sports competitions for over-16s.
- 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.
Regarding sports 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 with controlled access.
- 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 & RELIGIOUS EVENTS
- Cinemas, theatres, auditoriums and concert halls can continue to open for regular programming.
- Special cultural events can be held: the prohibition on festivals, galas and awards ceremonies is lifted.
- 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.
- Gambling halls, bingo halls and casinos can open 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.
And with regard to religious events, they must be celebrated as follows:
- Religious events and acts can be held at 30% of the normal maximum 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.
All these measures are subject to publication in the Catalan government's official gazette (DOGC).