Catalan Government considering reopening shopping centres but Procicat to have last word
Businesses consider that keeping them closed is discriminatory
BarcelonaThe Government of Catalonia is considering reopening shopping centres, although for the time being it rules out moving onto phase two of the easing of restrictions. The Government's spokesperson, Meritxell Budó, has said that the opening of shopping centres is being discussed, especially after the crowds seen this Bank Holiday weekend in the centre of Barcelona. However, the Government leaves the decision in the hands of Procicat.
Budó, who has described this weekend's crowds as "worrying", has called for responsibility to "avoid crowds" and has reminded the public that the criteria establish that there will be no change in phase unless the infection rate is below 0.9 (currently 0.97), which means that a change in phase has been ruled out for the moment. Phase 2 allows shopping centres to open with a maximum capacity of 30%.
"In the last few days there has been a debate about whether the health data allow the shopping centres to reopen, but it is Procicat who decides," spokespersons from the Business Department, responsible for commerce, have assured the ARA.
For the time being, shopping centres can open their doors, but only to allow the entrance of authorised establishments, such as restaurants, bars, hairdressers, supermarkets and food shops. The rest of the premises in shopping centres must be kept closed, unlike the shops on the street, which are allowed to open.
This creates a situation where there are chains whose high street shops are open but whose shops in shopping centres remain closed. When restrictions were eased after the spring lockdown, shopping centres were allowed to open their doors in phase 2.
Shopping centres protest
In view of this situation, the Barcelona Oberta employers' association, which groups together the main shopping centres in the Catalan capital, has called for a demonstration this Wednesday in Plaça Sant Jaume in Barcelona in which it has demanded the "immediate reopening" of all the shopping centre facilities.
According to the sector, all the necessary measures have been put in place to make them safe spaces and more than €3m have been invested in capacity controls, elimination of leisure spaces, reinforcement of surveillance to control compliance with the measures or hydroalcoholic gel dispensers, among other things.
They consider that the fact that the Generalitat does not allow shopping centres to open is a totally "unjust and unjustified" measure that entails "irreparable damage" and no benefit to society. For this reason, they have called on the Government to take into account the importance of guaranteeing the viability of the sector and to allow the reopening of these shops, as this could be the sector's "last chance" to make up for a very difficult year.
Along with the representatives of shopping centres, companies in the gambling industry, such as bingos and casinos, which have also been closed since the end of October, have also demanded to be allowed to reopen.