Bars and restaurants will serve uninterruptedly until 5 pm
Catalan Government seeks to ease restrictions but rejects lifting all measures due to covid situation
BarcelonaBars and restaurants in Catalonia will be able to serve uninterruptedly until 5pm from Monday and up to six people will be able to sit at tables without the need for them to belong to only two different bubbles. The Government has agreed to lift the slots with shifts for breakfasts and lunches that were introduced mid-December in the restaurant industry in order to "give more breathing space" to one of the sectors most affected by the restrictions. Despite the downturn in the epidemiological curve, the instability of the pandemic, heavily influenced by uncertainty as to the impact the British coronavirus variant, which is predominant throughout the country, may end up having, obliges the government not to take any major steps or announce a major de-escalation plan. In fact, the executive considers that the curfew and the restrictions on mobility will stay in place a little longer. In fact, it is expected that entering or leaving Catalonia will not be allowed until after Easter at the earliest. "We are maintaining most of the measures but we are making tentative openings that will be in force for the next seven days. We will monitor developments week by week to take the most appropriate measures," said the Catalan Health Councillor, Alba Vergés.
It remains to be clarified, for example, whether the change in opening hours will be applied every day or only on working days. And it will also be necessary to specify how the measure will affect bars and restaurants inside shopping centres.
The latest instructions given by Procicat to the restaurant sector were that they could open with shifts for breakfast and lunch: from 7.30am to 10.30am and from 1pm to 4.30pm. What will now be done is to allow them to work without fixed hours until early afternoon, but they will still not be able to open in the evening and at night, which is when there is more socialising. For some days now, different voices in the Government have been saying that they are working to give a little more air to sectors such as restaurants and shops - shopping centres were able to reopen on Monday - but that, given the current fragile epidemiological situation, a major de-escalation cannot yet be announced.
The changes also include allowing attendance at universities with a 30% capacity and the recovery of extracurricular and leisure activities in secondary schools, vocational training and baccalaureate. In sporting activities, changing rooms may be open, but caution must be exercised when using them. Federated sport may be resumed for people over 16 years of age. Civic centres will be able to resume outdoor activities for the over-60s.
Reducing social tension
The acting interior minister, Miquel Sàmper, is confident that the "air" now given to some sectors with the updated restrictions "will help to reduce social tension". In an interview on TV3 a few hours before the Government announced the new measures for Monday, Sàmper said that for the moment no measures have been closed for Easter, but called for "caution".