Society 23/11/2021

Covid pass required to access bars, restaurants, gyms and nursing homes

Generalitat will ask court authorisation for measure to come into force this Friday at midnight

2 min

BarcelonaThe Government will request Catalonia's High Court to authorise a requirement to show a covid pass to access bars and restaurants, as well as gyms and nursing homes. This document shows whether a person has been vaccinated, has recently recovered from the disease or tested negative. This requirement is already in place for nightclubs, but the Generalitat wants it to be compulsory for all activities that take place in enclosed spaces or considered risky in preparation for the December bank holiday weekend. "More covid certificate to avoid new restrictions," summed up government spokeswoman Patricia Plaja.

As this restriction affects fundamental rights, it requires judicial authorisation to come into force. In fact, the Catalan government is meeting this Tuesday to polish the details of the resolution that will be transferred to the Catalan High Court so that it authorises the measure before this weekend. At the moment, the extension will affect restaurants and bars' interiors, but not outdoor seating. In practical purposes, the measure only affects the unvaccinated (16.1% of the population if you exclude children under 12, who may not be vaccinated) but it is the first restriction the Catalan government has introduced in the past couple of months.

Plaja recalled that the Government has pledged to expand the use of the covid pass only if the increase in infections threatened the some sectors' viability due to new restrictions, such as limiting capacity, modifying schedules or suspending activity. "Unfortunately we return to this point, Catalonia is in a high-risk area and it is necessary to expand the use of this certificate," she explained. She also claimed that the main goal of this measure is to reduce the risk of contagion in enclosed spaces where you cannot wear a mask and there is not enough social distance and thus avoid overloading the health system, anticipating an increase in hospitalisations, without having to apply tougher restrictions.

In short, the covid passport stands as a strategy to try to curb the rebound in the curve of infections, which this week has jumped up to 7,475 cases, i.e. more than a thousand daily new cases on average. "For some weeks now the upward trend [of infections] is going at a worrying rate for individual and collective health and for the proper functioning of the health system, which is already beginning to notice both in visits to primary care and hospital admissions and intensive care units (ICU)," explained Plaja.

Over the past few days, spokespersons of the Department of Health and experts who advise them had shown their support of applying this restriction in order to curb transmission in areas considered high risk. Although there is no guarantee that its use can prevent the rise in infections that began three weeks ago, the Generalitat is confident that it can slow the spread of new infections.

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