This Saturday night, exactly as the clocks strike midnight and Sunday, May 9th, begins, Spain's state of alarm will end and, with it, so will the major coronavirus measures that have been with us for months. Catalonia will say goodbye to its nightly curfew and perimeter confinement, and from Sunday, restaurants dinners and or an evening drink in a bar will be possible again. But apart from these changes, many of the other restrictions that have existed until now will remain in force.
The rules on maximum capacity of spaces, social distancing and limits on social gatherings will remain in place. Masks will continue to be compulsory. Thus, the Catalan government has called for caution, as these measures have been re-imposed for another two weeks (until May 24th) and it is hoped to be able to gradually relax them later.
But on Saturday, the first stage of this planned de-escalation will be ushered in by an extremely odd night, for which the Mossos d'Esquadra police have prepared a special operation. The state of alarm will continue to be in force on Saturday until midnight, and thus, people in Catalonia will be required to be off the street at 10pm. However, two hours later, as the church bells ring at midnight, Sunday May 9th begins, the state of alarm ends and going outside is permissible again. The Catalan government realistically expects that people will want to take to the street but calls for caution and responsibility and a large policing operation is planned.
The measures in force from May 9th in Catalonia are as follows. New or changed measures are in bold:
MOBILITY AND GATHERINGS
- Free movement within Catalonia continues.
- NEW: All entries and departures from Catalonia are permitted from May 9th, with no requirement to justify the reason.
- Social gatherings are limited to 6 people, with no bubble group maximum. This has been backed by the Catalan High Court.
- NEW: Curfew ends on Saturday night on the stroke of midnight. Thus, on Saturday night, a 10pm curfew will be in force as up till now - but at 12 midnight, when Saturday turns to Sunday, it will end. Thereafter, going out to the street will be possible at any time.
BARS AND RESTAURANTS
- NEW: Coinciding with the end of the state of alarm, bars and restaurants may open for dinner. Starting on Sunday May 9th, they will be able to open until eleven o'clock at night, with current capacity limits.
- Maximum number at a table is four, with an exception when all those at a table are part of the same bubble group.
- The maximum capacity of bars and restaurants remains at: 100% of usual maximum on terraces with space between tables, and 30% inside.
- NEW: All retail businesses will be able to open until 10pm at night, from Sunday 9th.
- As at present, all retail businesses, regardless of size, can now open their entire establishment.
- In shops, the maximum occupancy of 30% of normal capacity is maintained.
- NEW: Sporting activities can be held until 11pm at night from Sunday 9th.
- Assemblies of sporting bodies are now permitted, with occupancy of spaces up to 50% of the normal maximum, and an absolute maximum of 500 people (or 1,000 with good ventilation).
- Occupancy of all sporting facilities up to 50% of the normal maximum for the space is possible.
- Sports competitions and training sessions for both federated and Sporting Council activities continue to be permitted.
- The public are now allowed to attend all those sports competitions with a preassigned seat, except for national and international ones that have prohibitions from other bodies.
- Changing rooms are now in use again.
- Pools can operate at 50% of normal maximum capacity.
- NEW: All regulated courses can now return to in-person classes.
- Overnight stays are allowed on school outings as long as they involve the classroom bubble group.
- School extracurricular activities are open for all ages.
ENTERTAINMENT, CULTURE & RELIGIOUS EVENTS
- NEW: From May 9th, cultural activities can continue until 11pm at night
- NEW: Amusement parks and fairs can reopen with occupancy of 30% of their maximum capacity.
- NEW: Civic centres are able to re-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
- Spaces for children's play activities can open to 30% of normal capacity, without restaurant services.
- Children's playgrounds can now open beyond 8pm.
- Cinemas, theatres, auditoriums and concert halls can continue to open for regular programming.
- Special cultural events can be held: the earlier prohibition on festivals, galas and awards ceremonies has been 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.
And with regard to religious events, they must be celebrated as follows:
- Religious events and acts can be held at 50% of the normal maximum capacity. This measure has been approved by the Catalan High Court (required after the state of alarm, because freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed).
- 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.