The Catalan Government has confirmed this Wednesday its decision to close the bars and restaurants of the entire community to avoid social interaction and try to stop the increase in infections. The decision, which only allows these businesses to enable a food and drink collection service, will take effect this Friday and has the opposition of the restaurateurs, who have already announced that they will appeal it to the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC ).
Contagions in Catalonia soar by 40% in a week and lead the Government to consider closing bars and restaurants
The measures, which for the moment will last until the end of October, also affect businesses, whose maximum allowed capacity will be 30% regardless of their area. Gambling halls, bingo halls and casinos will also be closed and congresses and conventions will be suspended. Cinemas and theaters must reduce their capacity to 50%, which currently stands at 70% and services that involve physical contact are also prohibited, with the exception of medical visits and hairdressers. The situation will be similar to the so-called phase 0 of the de-escalation, when the first reopening of some businesses was allowed.
After meeting this morning with the Gremio de Restauración and the Procicat, the Government has decided to adopt this measure given the rapid increase in cases in the community in recent days. With the new restrictions in bars and restaurants, the Generalitat seeks to reduce mobility and social interaction after detecting that most of the positives are infected in meetings or encounters with family and friends. If the cases of the last 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants are attended to, Catalonia, with 268, has once again exceeded the Spanish average, located at 263. Even so, the data is still far from incidents such as those of Madrid (488) or Navarra (759).
The Government’s strategy contrasts with that adopted by the Community of Madrid, whose Government led by Isabel Díaz Ayuso has outright rejected the restrictions of the Ministry of Health as well as the state of alarm decreed to impose them. On Tuesday, the Government spokeswoman, Meritxell Budó, announced that the Generalitat “would have no problem” in requesting a state of alarm if it were necessary to adopt the restrictions that her team deems appropriate.
The Deputy Mayor of Barcelona City Council, Jaume Collboni (PSC), has stated this morning that the measure is “disproportionate” and has argued that there is “a range of options” and “margin” in terms of capacity and timetables before making a decision of this magnitude. The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has not yet assessed the decision and will appear before the media during the afternoon of this Wednesday.
The restaurateurs, for their part, have already announced that they will appeal the decision before the TSJC through a statement from the Catalan Federation of Associations of Restoration and Musical Activities (Fecasarm). “Closing everything, apart from being disproportionate, is not the solution either and it will only achieve the same thing that has been achieved by closing all nightlife: unnecessarily ruining thousands of families who live in the sector”, Joaquim Boadas, Secretary General, has reproached of this employer.
The restrictions announced by the Government this Wednesday are in addition to the limitations announced in recent days. Catalan universities will go on to give theoretical classes electronically starting this Thursday to reduce the number of students on campus and non-professional sports competitions have also been suspended for the next two weekends. The Generalitat has also made a general appeal to companies to reinstate teleworking during the next 15 days.
Only in the last week, the growth of infections in Catalonia has been 39% and has reached the metropolitan area of Barcelona, one of the main concerns of the Department of Health and that had not suffered major alterations since the outbreak that forced to confine part of l’Hospitalet de Llobregat in July. Up to 55% more cases have been registered in the Catalan capital than just seven days ago.