Prosecutor's Office changes its mind and now backs curfew and limits on gatherings

Prosecutor's office does not oppose restrictions because High Court approved them ten days ago

2 min
La Rambla in Barcelona during the curfew.

BarcelonaThe Prosecutor's Office has changed its mind and now backs the night curfew and 10-person limit on gatherings. When the Catalan Government proposed these restrictions for the first time last December 23, the prosecutor's office rejected them because they did not see them necessary, but now, after the Government requested a 14-day extension, the Prosecutor's Office has decided not to oppose it: according to the report they have sent Catalonia's High Court, the extension of the curfew between 1 am and 6 am and the limitation of meetings is "duly justified" by the "necessity, suitability and proportionality of its maintenance and prolongation".

The argument is just the opposite of what the Prosecutor's Office said two weeks ago, when it opposed the restrictions proposed by the Catalan government because it believed they were "severe, extensive, very restrictive, intense and generalised". Despite that opinion, Catalonia's High Court ended up endorsing the restrictions because the magistrates considered that they were "suitable and necessary" to avoid "superpropagation" of the virus during the Christmas holidays, given "the merry attitudes, the crowds of people and the difficulty of maintaining social distancing with masks". Precisely the Prosecutor's Office uses to the fact that the restrictions were approved by the High Court as a justification for its own lack of opposition.

According to the Government, the 14-day extension to the curfew and the 10-person limit on gatherings are not "pleasant or desired" measures, but they are "necessary" to avoid the "greater damage" of the sixth wave, said the spokeswoman, Patricia Plaja, said that imposing these restrictions is "painful" and they "condition people's daily lives", in addition to having an economic and emotional impact after almost two years of the pandemic.

Curfew in 132 municipalities

If, as everything seems to indicate, the High Court again backs restrictions proposed by the Government, there will be a total of 132 towns and cities affected by the curfew (those with over 10,000 inhabitants and an accumulated incidence over 7 days of more than 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants), among which are Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona and the large metropolitan cities. The curfew will continue to affect around three out of four Catalans.

In addition, the executive has also imposed a two-week extension to other measures that do not require the courts' approval: nightlife remains closed, capacity inside restaurants and bars remains at 50%, while shops, sports facilities, concert halls, theatres, cinemas, auditoriums and circuses with tents will only be allowed 70% capacity.