Officials predict increase in mobility over weekend - checkpoints in natural parks and coastal areas to increase
Downloads of responsibility certificates fall by half despite regional confinement staying in place
Santa Coloma de GramenetOnly three days after travelling with your cohabitation bubble has been allowed, the Government has detected a generalised increase of journeys in Catalonia. The Department of Home Affaits has warned that the there was a 9% increase in road traffic within Barcelona metropolitan area on Monday and a 5% increase on Tuesday and Wednesday. These figures are close to those recorded during the period of September and October, before the perimeter confinements, and which represent only a decrease of 5% compared to the pre-pandemic period. Outside the metropolitan area there has also been an increase of 10% "or more", as reported by the head of the Department, Miquel Sàmper. This tendency worries the department, which foresees that road mobility will increase even further this weekend in spite of the bad meteorological forecasts, with rain and even snowfalls in some places of the country.
The Catalan Traffic Service foresees that 930,000 vehicles will move this Friday inside the metropolitan area and Sàmper has announced police checkpoints in the mountains, the natural parks and coastal areas to avoid congestions and to guarantee the reduction of social interaction outdoors. The Diputació de Barcelona will also increase control and surveillance in the areas of the Natural Parks Network during the coming weeks, to ensure their management and proper use. In addition, Home Affairs will maintain 400 random controls to ensure compliance with restrictions throughout the country and will recover the Traffic controls that were already being carried out regularly when an increase in mobility was expected during festive or holiday periods. "I reiterate: mobility has to be done with caution and always with the same cohabitation bubble," insisted Sàmper.
To ensure that citizens comply with the rules and do not travel with people from other bubbles, the Mossos d'Esquadra may require documents proving that they are part of the same group, such as ID cards. If a group of different coexistence nuclei are caught in a control, the Mossos can open an administrative procedure and fine them, as well as make them return home. According to the conseller the population has an "erroneous perception" that the county confinement is no longer in force and that meetings can be held outside the county of residence. "A part from the exception for coexistence bubbles, the regional confinement is still in place," he insisted. And he added: "The bubble should never be broken. We should not interact with different bubbles. The data are worrying."
Sàmper has launched a warning to the population after noting that there are fewer and fewer downloads of certificates of self-responsibility that allow travel outside the county: in three days the online demand for this document has fallen by half. "We have gone from having 80,000 on Monday to 40,000 on Tuesday, and yesterday, Wednesday, only 15,000 were downloaded," he lamented. The deputy director general of Civil Protection Programs, Sergio Delgado, added that "the rules of the explanations that have been given of the regional confinement may not have been entirely efficient," but remarked that you can not share a tourist apartment or stay overnight with people outside the bubble. However, it is possible to have meetings following the security measures, although the authorities do not recommend it in order to minimise the risks.
The Mossos d'Esquadra and the Guardia Urbana have launched a joint operation in El Born district and other areas of Barcelona to stop the proliferation of parties, after last weekends saw situations of non-compliance with large gatherings in the street and some people without masks.
Sàmper stated that the "pandemic fatigue" is leading to these situations in different parts of the country and added that it is especially "scandalous" in El Born. The commissioner spokesman of the Mossos, Joan Carles Molinero, has explained that this joint device already works since February 28 and not only in El Born, but also around Macba and other squares in Barcelona.