Misc 09/12/2020

Civil Defense asks for a "rational" analysis of the Christmas plan, taking into account bank holiday effects

Delgado argues that queues outside of shops prove that access controls work

3 min
El centre de Barcelona amb gent de compres

BarcelonaThe December bank holiday effects will have to be analysed before making final decisions on what will be, and will not be allowed during the Christmas holidays. This is the announcement made by the deputy director of Civil Defense programmes, Sergio Delgado, in an interview with TV3 (the Catalan TV channel), in which he asked for a "rational" analysis of Christmas, leaving aside the usual holiday emotions. Delgado understands that the safest way to celebrate meals is only with people who are part of the same bubble of coexistence, but that the Government has made criteria more flexible, so that it allows up to a maximum of ten people from no more than two bubbles, to attend to situations such as those of people living in old people's homes, so that they can spend the holidays with their families. In any case, he has asked to act with "rationality" and reduce the contacts to those who are indispensable: "Whoever can, must do less, the Government's message is clear", he has defended.

"We are in a very extreme situation", he warned, which is why he argued that we will have to see the effects of the bank holidays before deciding what to do about the Christmas plan. He said that if there is a rise in cases associated with the social interaction of these last four days, we will have to reflect on the proposed measures. "We have the precedent of the United States with Thanksgiving", he said, referring to the rise in positive cases due to family meet-ups.

Regarding the bank holidays, he admitted that Civil Defense has been aware of people travelling to their holiday homes despite repeated calls to stay at home, although he noted that for the moment there is a "drop" in travelling back home of between 21% and 25% compared to last year's bank holiday. This data, he has warned, will have to be updated with what takes place today, since some people may have chosen to extend the holiday until Wednesday morning.

Delgado explained that the decision to extend the weekend lockdown to include Monday and Tuesday was on the table to avoid the "picaresque" of returning from the bank holiday later on, but it was not applied. "The most important thing is to avoid interaction with people who are not from the same bubble", he reminded. Regarding the images of shopping queues in cities like Barcelona, he has assured that queues are made out the open air, which is a safer environment, and that they show that accesses are being controlled. Therefore, he said, they are "positive", despite the fact that he called for crowd avoidance: "What we have seen these days has to be analysed to see what we have to do in the next few days to adapt commercial mobility", he said.

As for shopping centres in open spaces, which are still not able to open, he has assured that they have been the object of analysis to provide guarantees that allow them to resume their activity, and that the element of concern is the associated mobility they entail: "We must always keep in mind the analysis of the viability of opening these spaces, which are necessary to sponge commercial activity". In the specific case of El Corte Inglés, he has said that it can open because it does not have a shopping centre license but operates as a single establishment, but that in any case, it has to guarantee capacity limits and social distancing like any other store must do.