Society 28/09/2021

Catalonia to reopen nightclubs within days

Barcelona City Council will close 24h shops that sell alcohol to minors or after 11 pm

3 min
Customers wearing masks inside a discotheque when they were able to reopen.

night BarcelonaThe Catalan Government has proposed reopening nightclubs withing days, with revellers having to present the covid pass to access premises. According to RAC1, the measure would come into force on October 8, but the Government claims "the date is not definite". According to government spokeswoman Patrícia Plaja, the administration is considering the reopening of clubs "in the upcoming weeks" with compulsory "use of the covid pass", a measure that will have to be endorsed by Catalonia's High Court. Last week the Generalitat announced a partial opening of nightlife: only in outdoor spaces until 3.00 am and without dancing. "Today we are closer than last week to the reopening," Plaja said, who on several occasions clarified that the specific date has not been decided "due to legal and health issues".

"It is true that the data is favourable and today we are closer to opening than a few days ago, but it will be done at a time when all health, legal and technical requirements are met," he insisted. Thus, the Government wants to wait a few more days to lower the number of people admitted to ICUs (there are already under 200) and also to finish the legal services reports to justify the use of the covid pass. Plaja has argued that measures that "may violate or affect individual freedom" must be "surgical" because it is necessary to receive the High Court's endorsement. The spokeswoman refused to explain what the Government will do if the court do not approve the measure: "We are not yet in this scenario," she said.

The Catalan government has been considering the possibility of requesting the covid pass to manage pandemic restrictions for two weeks, ever since the Spanish Supreme Court backed a similar situation in Galicia. A week ago, Plaja said that the covid pass could be used in sectors which are still closed or to control future outbreaks. This decision could now be accelerated with the reopening of nightclubs after the illegal parties which were held over La Mercè weekend.

The decision to open nightclubs and bars, closed since late July, comes after a summer of quite a few mass parties in the streets, which in Barcelona have gained much prominence after the festival in Sants, first, and La Mercè, later, where they ended up degenerating into riots and violence in the streets. However, Plaja claims these images and the imminent reopening of nightlife "are not communicating vessels". "The intention to open the nightlife has been there for weeks, it is not a direct effect of the images of these days," she said. She has also made it clear that the opening of nightclubs will not put an end to botellones in the street: "It is a transversal phenomenon and there are very young people who will continue to take part so because they are not of legal age to enter nightclubs," she has said.

According to experts consulted by the ARA, some of the violence that occurred during La Mercè is "contextual" and could be explained by the mere fact that so many people gathered in one place, it was at night and alcohol was drunk. In this sense, today Barcelona City Council has announced that it will close 24-hour shops that sell alcohol to minors or after 11pm.

"Tough stance and zero tolerance".

According to deputy mayor Jaume Collboni non-compliance with these two prohibitions has been one of the causes of this weekend's macrobotellones and, to prevent them from happening again, he has promised a "tough stance and zero tolerance" against these infractions. Although there is now a sanctioning regime with fines of €20,000 to €500,000 for premises that sell alcohol after 11 pm and to minors, Collboni has said that they will go a step further and close the shops that violate these regulations.

ERC's municipal group have accused Collboni of being "opportunistic", because the Republicans proposed this measure in the presidency committee and the PSC voted against it. "Or is it pure cynicism to shirk responsibility for the management disaster of La Mercè?" asked the president of ERC in Barcelona, Ernest Maragall.

The parties will be able to discuss it in the extraordinary plenary session on the illegal parties that will be celebrated this Wednesday afternoon, which have been forced by ERC and Junts per Catalunya. The two groups will propose to reprove Ada Colau, Jaume Collboni, Albert Batlle and Jordi Martí's statements, "with a coarse internal of centrifugation of blames and affirming that these facts were inevitable". ERC and Junts describe the management as "very deficient" and demand the government design an "alternative" model of nightlife. The rest of the opposition parties have also criticised Colau and her team, even demanding their resignations.

Tables with 10 people inside and stadiums at 60%

Procicat will approve a new relaxation of anticovid measures this Tuesday as a consequence of improved epidemiological data. Procicat approved that tables in bars and restaurants can have up to 10 people, both indoors and outdoors. Until now there was a maximum of 10 people outdoors and 6 people indoors.

Another measure refers to sporting events: maximum capacity in stadia with over 10,000 seats is increased from 40% to 60%.

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