De-escalation
Society 10/06/2021

Barcelona ignores Civil Defense and will open the beaches for San Juan, but without alcohol

The mayors of the metropolitan area also want to open them, according to the vice president of the AMB

Ara
2 min
Young people on a beach in Barcelona celebrating San Juan in an archive image.

Barcelona will open all the beaches during the festival of San Juan (the evening of the 23 June) until six in the morning. But with conditions: the use of tents, music equipment and the entry of alcoholic beverages will not be allowed. In addition, the Guardia Urbana (the City Police) will make controls at the entrances to avoid crowds - also in the parking lots, to ensure that there is not a large accumulation of vehicles - and will monitor that attendees meet the "elementary" health standards of coexistence, ie, that there is sufficient distance between groups, that everyone wears a face mask, and that no alcohol is drunk.

With this decision, the Barcelona City Council has chosen to ignore Civil Defense, which had recommended limiting the capacity on the beaches, and even close them to avoid crowds. The city's plan for "this emblematic celebration" has been carried out.

"Prudence [regarding the pandemic] is absolutely compatible with the possibility of allowing a reasonable use of these urban spaces that, in addition, have a very important role to avoid congestion [in other areas of the city]", defended the deputy mayor in Security, Albert Batlle, who added that an absolute closure of the beaches as last year "is unfeasible" now that restrictions are being eased.

Last year, Barcelona closed the beaches from 8 p.m. on the 23rd until 10 a.m. on the 24th so that "the large concentrations of each year" would not occur. This year, however, Civil Defense had only sent some recommendations to the town hall, said Batlle, and since the current epidemiological situation is different, the council "has pondered much the need to celebrate the festivity". "It's been more than a month since the night curfew was lifted and we have to recover normality in terms of the occupation of spaces", insisted Batlle.

The consistory also plans to vacate the beaches at six in the morning to do the necessary cleaning and maintenance work and reopen them to the public around nine o'clock.

Coordination with the Government

Barcelona is not alone in this decision: the coastal municipalities of the metropolitan area will also open the beaches, as agreed on Wednesday at a meeting of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB). Badalona, Sant Adrià de Besòs, El Prat de Llobregat, Castelldefels, Gavà and Viladecans will allow access to their beaches, as they want to coordinate with Barcelona to not send "confusing messages" to the population, as explained by the Deputy Mayor for Safety of Badalona, Irene Gonzalez.

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