Coronavirus
Society 16/06/2021

No limit on gatherings in Catalonia as of Monday

Government continues de-escalation with more freedom for bars and nightclubs

3 min
A moment of the pilot test in Sitges.

BarcelonaThe Government will lift the ban on social and family gatherings of over ten people as of Monday. Catalonia moves towards a "normalisation of everyday life", according to the Secretary General of Health, Meritxell Masó. Nevertheless, the recommendations still are to avoid large gatherings. "In any case, the most important thing is to apply common sense, comply with protective measures and avoid crowds," said the director general of Civil Protection, Mercè Salvat.

The pandemic is not over, but good epidemiological data mean Procicat, led by the Departments of Health and Home Affairs, are pushing towards de-escalation . Thus, it will also allow tables in bars and restaurants to have up to six people indoors and up to ten outdoors. In addition, the distance between outdoor tables will be reduced slightly, to only 1.5 metres. Until now, they had to be separated by two meters. Coinciding with the festival season, the Procicat is also authorising dance floors at these events.

These measures are in addition to the reopening of nightlife announced by the industry and by the Department of Health last week. As planned, nightclubs will open from June 21, may operate until 3.30 am and will have to keep a record of attendees (with personal data) which they will have to keep for at least a month to ensure traceability in case of an outbreak.

Venues with a capacity of more than 500 attendees will have to sell tickets in advance over the internet, while smaller ones will be able to sell tickets conventionally.

Dancefloors

Clubs' capacity will be 50% indoors, whereas there will be no limit outdoors. Party-goers may only drink at tables, with a maximum of six revellers per table or ten if it is outside. Drinks will also be allowed at the bar as long as t here is a metre and a half distance between drinkers. The Generalitat defends the resumption of nightlife venues' activity highlighting that it is one of the sectors that has suffered most from the restrictions against the covid: it has been closed for fifteen months.

Clubs will recover dance floors - their biggest demand - provided that customers bring a mask and do not drink in this space. "We know that for the sector to open these dance areas was key. That is why, before opening, we have done several tests, in different environments, conditions, schedules and population segments: the Apollo, Sant Jordi and Sitges", recalled the deputy director general of Health Dpt's drug dependence unit, Joan Colom.

Dance floors will be cordoned off, with a way in and out, and Colom backed the sector: should there be a case among those attending a dance hall, "the situation till be analysed as it is possibble they didn't catch it there.

All this, Colom has indicated, will test the hypothesis that with an option for regulated leisure, thirst for illegal street parties will diminish. "Clubs can be spaces that give us guarantees of security," he insisted. According to Health , the sector has accepted the measures and is committed to prevention inside estabishments. For example, by DJs reminding of restrictions and putting up posters.

Secretary general of the Catalan Federation of Associations of Restoration and Musical Activities (Fecasarm), Joaquim Boadas, thanked the Generalitat's "courage and complicity" in reopening the sector and has ensured that all businesses will be proactive in enforcing the rules. However, he has asked for a rectification in the obligation to keep safety distances within premises, because he considers that this is "impossible to control". The reduction in capacity and the obligation to wear a mask are already enough safety measures, according to Boadas.

Capacity in bingos and assemblies

The general director of Civil Protection, Mercè Salvat, has explained that the new resolution also will allow casinos, bingos and game rooms to stay open until one o'clock in the morning. Up until now, they had to close at 10 pm. In the field of sports, closed facilities that do not have reinforced ventilation may also be used by groups of over ten people, but without exceeding 50% of the capacity and provided that users wear a mask.

As for children's leisure activities, the ten-child limit is eliminated. The Government also authorises associations and social entities to hold assemblies with a maximum of 1,000 people indoors and 3,000 outdoors. Until now the maximums were 500 and 1,000, respectively. The facilities without reinforced ventilation may also carry out group activities at 70% capacity.

Return to workplaces to be gradual and before the summer

The Generalitat will also begin to recommend "in the coming weeks" a return to workplaces. According to Masó, it is already working on protocols and recommendations for companies for workers to return gradually before the summer. "If we are going towards normality, the next immediate step has to be a return to workplaces," said the Secretary General of Health, who said that teleworkers would have to do in their working day as they do "in their social and economic life". The resolution approved by the Government will affect both the public and private sector.

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