Misc 10/12/2020

Barcelona calls for the reopening of shopping centres and the extension of the perimeter confinement to avoid crowding

City Council and shopkeepers promote a campaign to get Barcelona's citizens back on the Rambla

Maria Ortega
2 min
La Rambla de Barcelona

BarcelonaThe Barcelona City Council continues to call on the people of Barcelona to give a new boost to the city centre, which is the area that suffers most from the lack of tourists, but, aware that last weekend's crowds of Christmas shoppers are to nobody's taste, it has already made two requests to the Government. The first is to allow the reopening of shopping centres, a measure already being considered, and the second is to extend the perimeter of the weekend lockdown to greater Barcelona. In other words, to the whole of the metropolitan area to avoid everyone gathering in the same places. The city's first deputy mayor, Jaume Collboni, has made this double request to the Generalitat as part of the presentation of a campaign that seeks the longed-for challenge of getting Barcelona's residents to re-conquer the Rambla, where for the first time signs of premises being transferred can be seen and where 40% of the establishments are still closed.

The campaign is promoted by the association Amics de la Rambla, which considers that the current crisis is an optimal moment to rethink the commercial and hospitality offer on the Rambla and to shift it away from tourism. "When tourism returns, which it will, it has to find an offer that is not for tourists, but designed for the people of Barcelona and that can also be enjoyed by visitors", says Fermín Villar, president of the entity, convinced that the current moment has to be used for the people of Barcelona, especially youngsters, to discover Ciutat Vella.

La Rambla is one of the first places in Barcelona to have noticed the crisis associated with the pandemic. Many of the premises in the lower part of the street, usually selling large pitchers of beer and sangria, were the first to shift their offer and resize both prices and measures with a local client in mind. Yet the city centre is going through a rough patch. For this reason, the council has decided to hold a large part of the Christmas activities in places like Plaça Catalunya.

The campaign, called Baixa a la Rambla, seeks to get residents to go downtown to do activities such as contemplating the floral decorations on the facade of the Liceu or trying out foods from the Mercat de la Boqueria. Daily activities will be proposed during four weeks divided into two sections. The first, from now until Christmas, and the second, after the holiday period. Collboni has called for a return to the habit of walking up and down the Rambla and has said that these days have shown how the excess of tourists or the absence of Barcelonians in certain places "has consequences". When there is no tourism, the centre is empty.

Both Collboni and the Catalan Minister for Commerce, Montserrat Ballarín, have insisted that to reach the Rambla it is better not to take the car and travel on foot, by bicycle or public transport to avoid further traffic congestion.