Misc 18/03/2021

Sant Jordi in Barcelona: decentralised, delimited and capacity-controlled venues

The booksellers' and florists' stalls will be distributed throughout the city in a dozen open-air venues

3 min
A couple at a book parade during the 23rd of July last year, when the summer Sant Jordi's Day was celebrated

BarcelonaThis year for Sant Jordi, on April 23, there will be no large crowds or concentrated stands. In Barcelona, the Diada will be decentralised: booksellers and florists will be distributed in delimited, capacity-controlled enclosures. As the ARA has been able to confirm, if sanitary conditions allow it, the stands will be located in a dozen points throughout the city that will be outdoors, easily accessible and will be perimetered. Landmarks have been sought that are easy to mark out, sufficiently far apart to avoid crowds and where circuits can be organised to allow people to move around without crowding, with access controls and separate entrances and exits.

The spaces that are being considered are the last stretch of Passeig de Gràcia (from the lower part, touching Ronda de Sant Pere, to Carrer Consell de Cent or Aragó), Plaça Reial, the gardens of Palau Robert, Passeig de Lluís Companys touching Ciutadella, and Diagonal at Plaça Francesc Macià. Each bookshop will be able to request where it wants to set up its stand. Depending on the requests, it is not ruled out to extend this network of decentralised points with some more spaces so that everyone can have a place. All this, however, is subject to the evolution of the pandemic, which will determine whether this plan is possible or whether it will have to be modified with more restrictions, depending on the epidemiological indicators as the Diada approaches.

A strictly professional Sant Jordi

Unlike other years, this time it will be a strictly professional Sant Jordi, that is, only booksellers, publishers and florists will be able to set up stands. Therefore, no stands of associations, organizations, political parties and media will be allowed, as it happened during April 23 until the pandemic arrived. In addition to these decentralized stops, the Barcelona City Council is preparing a mayoral decree so that from 21 to 23 April all bookstores can place a table with books in front of the store. In this sense, this year's celebration of the Diada will be similar to the summer Sant Jordi on 23 July, when only stalls were allowed in front of the establishments and some writers signed books directly in the bookshops.

While in the perimeter enclosures there will be staff specifically dedicated to control the capacity, in the case of bookshops that set up a table outside, it will be the booksellers themselves who will be responsible for ensuring that the number of people allowed is not exceeded. Bookshops will be able to invite writers to sign books outside during the two days before Sant Jordi, although they will have to organise separate queues in the street for the sale of books and for the signings. This will try to sponge Sant Jordi -which this year falls on Friday- throughout the week to avoid crowds on April 23. Book signings and meetings with writers will also be organised from the Saturday before the Diada on, on 17 April.

Regarding the Sant Jordi arrangements, Barcelona City Council explained to the ARA that work is still underway on the operation and that the logistics are "designed to ensure the emergence of professionals from the book trade and florists in the most decentralised way possible". The plan, which is being designed together with booksellers, florists and Civil Defense, "will ensure some spaces in various districts where a certain number of stands can be grouped together in a perimeter manner, with controlled capacity and with spaces for the sale of books, roses and author signings".

A rose stand during Sant Jordi's Day last summer, on July 23

In parallel, Procicat is developing a specific plan for Catalonia with the measures that municipalities will have to adopt to celebrate Sant Jordi with health guarantees. The plan, which is pending approval, will establish the regulations to be followed throughout the country to prevent contagion of coronavirus. Depending on their population characteristics, each city and town will decide how and where to place the stops. In Girona all the stops will be located in the esplanade of La Copa instead of the usual space, in the Rambla and Plaça de Catalunya. The area of La Copa will be limited with fences and will not be able to exceed 30% of the capacity, according to the Girona City Council. Lleida has also decided to celebrate Sant Jordi in a unique space in the city, although the Paeria has not yet announced which one it will be. According to the city council, the place will be decided when they know how many professionals want to participate and it will be large enough to accommodate them despite controlling the capacity.