Nightlife to remain closed until ICUs empty out

Health Dpt angers employers by not presenting a protocol to facilitate the opening of premises

2 min
A queue of young people outside a nightclub in Barcelona last June, when venues were allowed to reopen

BarcelonaThere will be no date for the opening of night clubs until Catalan ICUs empty out. This is the answer that the Catalan Minister of Health, Josep Maria Argimon, has given to the representatives of sector companies in the new meeting held yesterday afternoon has ended without the answer nightclubs and late night bars have been seeking for months. The department will only allow the reopening of premises when there is a positive evolution of hospital admissions and, although he has not committed to any specific threshold, the Argimon has pointed out that 100 ICU admissions would be "good data", as explained by the secretary general of Fecasarm, Joaquim Boadas.

Boadas has left the meeting "disappointed and dissatisfied" because, although contagions of this fifth wave are dropping, the Ministry has not yet been able to present a protocol for access to these premises nor a modification of plan for the sector to recover its activity after months closed, unlike in other surrounding countries. These, for example, require the covid pass or a negative antigen test. None of these demands have had an effect on the Health Department, which is committed to continue working to bring back nightlife safely.

This morning, the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, had spoken in favour of opening this sector before the festival of La Mercè to avoid the repetition of illegal street parties as in Gracia and Sants neighbourhood festivals, with hundreds of young people gathering without keeping safety measures to consume alcohol on public roads. For Boadas, this option is "discarded" because there is no time to get the protocols ready to reopen and the hospitality sector prefers waiting than opening and closing again a couple of weeks later, as happened earlier this summer. "We either open with guarantees or we won't open: we do not want the blame for the worsening of the data," says the leader of the sector's employers.

Yesterday, Fecasarm filed an appeal for reconsideration against Catalonia's High Court ruling issued last week, which rejected the reopening of indoor nightlife - clients are allowed outdoors - and endorsed the closing time of all activity to 00.30 hours as decreed by the Catalan Government.

Good evolution

In the meantime, the fifth wave is in clear gradual decline. The week has begun with under 5,000 weekly infections and with the improvement of all epidemiological indicators: Effective Potential Growth is already at 111 points, close to 100 mark which indicates high risk and is recording similar data to that before Sant Joan. In addition, the positivity rate - the percentage of PCR and antigen tests which come back positive - continues to decrease and is below 4% (3.85%). As for hospitals, despite the increase in discharges, it is taking long to empty the beds and this Monday there has even been an upturn: there are now 959 covid patients, 25 more than on Sunday, although ICUs have three fewer patients (321), recording similar numbers as in mid-July.