Home Affairs announces "more effective control" on the hospitality sector
Mossos and local police have issued 1,027 fines to bars and restaurants during the last two months
BarcelonaThe Government has presented the new restrictions for this Christmas, focusing on the hospitality industry. A few hours later the Minister of Home Affairs, Miquel Sàmper, announced "more effective control" of bars and restaurants. "There will be police patrols who will only be dedicated to this", Sàmper said, who promised that from Friday on more agents will be seen. The Minister added that fines will be imposed on a tougher basis, because the dissuasive attitude that had been used until now has not been entirely effective, he admitted. Sàmper had warned in the morning that there would be tougher police controls, but he has extended the message this afternoon once he has met with the crisis committee of Home Affairs.
The minister has argued that since mid-October, when they applied the curfew, perimetral lockdown and other measures, the Mossos d'Esquadra (the Catalan police) and local police bodies have worked with a pedagogical intention to "not blame the population". In the last two months, officers have issued 67,000 fines, of which 1,027 were for bars and restaurants. But "for reasons of health safety", it has now been decided to be "more forceful": recommendations will be left behind, and will be turned into sanctions. "In the world of catering there has been compliance by the vast majority, but also non-compliance, which are sources of contagion", Sàmper warned.
However, the focus will not only be on the hospitality industry. the Minister has made it clear that if groups of 12 people are seen on the street, this will be "punishable", as well as the rest of the breaches of the restrictions that have been imposed for this Christmas. At this afternoon's meeting of the crisis committee of Home Affairs, there was, among others, the head of the Mossos, Major Josep Lluís Trapero, who this week had sent an internal communication to the staff in which he still avoided fining in a harsh way, because he had asked to reserve sanctions for serious cases - those of repeated non-compliance, or that put the health of citizens at risk.
Home Affairs will hold a meeting on Monday with the heads of the local police to coordinate this mechanism, despite the fact that Sàmper has assured that up until now they have already worked this way because half of the fines of the last two months have been imposed by municipal police bodies.