The lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, has changed the traditional Christmas reception to society each year for an extraordinary meeting of the crisis table of the health emergency, in which different government advisers, the mayors of the capitals, the deputies sit generals and the delegate of the Government of Spain. Two weeks after agreeing to relax some restrictions for the Christmas holidays and four days after ratifying them, Euskadi has chosen to differentiate the treatment of Christmas and New Year celebrations. On Christmas Eve there may be family reunions of ten people but on New Year's Eve it will be restricted to six.
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"We apply a more restrictive model on New Year's Eve to avoid higher risk social and family interactions," it is argued. Reservations, banquets or party favors are also prohibited in apartments, rural houses and hotels. "Attempts to organize end-of-year parties have been detected. We try to prevent this practice," the Basque Government understands.
It is a solution halfway between the initial approach of the Basque Country for Christmas - six people at the table - and the final formula agreed with the Ministry of Health - ten people. The Basque Country is in an epidemiological situation on the verge of the orange alert, with almost 300 cases per 100,000 inhabitants of accumulated incidence in 14 days. In the case of Vitoria, the capital, this incidence exceeds 400, more than any autonomous community. Although the peak of the second wave was left behind, the decline in the chain of infections has stalled.
Likewise, it has been decided to modify the special curfew on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve at 12.30 a.m., when the initial intention is for it to be at 1.30 a.m. On a normal day, it is set at 10 p.m. There are also changes to avoid the opening of bars in the early hours of Christmas or New Year's morning in anticipation of possible morning parties that give continuity to meetings in homes. The time is set at 9 a.m. and not at 6 a.m. The decisions, on this occasion, have been communicated by the Minister of Health, Gotzone Sagardui, and not Urkullu, who was the one who announced the closure of the hotel and its reopening.
There are more changes. On the days of December 24, 25 and 31 and of January 1, 5 and 6, bars and shops will close at 6:00 p.m. and not at 8:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m., as is the case now. It is to "avoid crowds," according to Sagardui. The counselor recalled that "a relaxation in the use of the mask is once again detected" in the hotel industry, and also that tobacco smoke "is a transmission agent" of the coronavirus. "It is the responsibility of citizens and all institutions to be extremely zealous in any context of risk," he emphasized.