With Covid case numbers worsening in Catalonia, Spain, the regional government has announced the closure of bars and restaurants for two weeks, including in Barcelona, while suspending all non-professional sports competitions.
Interim regional chief, Pere Aragones, said on Wednesday that Catalonia needed to act now in order to avoid a full lockdown in the future. Under the new measures, bars and restaurants will need to shut completely for 15 days from Friday, with the exception of takeaway and delivery services.
The new measures will also see the capacity of shopping centers and gyms reduced, as well as stopping face-to-face classes at universities, and suspending all non-professional sports competitions.
The restrictions are a huge blow to Barcelona’s tourism and hospitality sectors, but Aragones described the measures as “painful but necessary.” He added: “We have decided to apply restrictions where most people let their guard down.”
Similar measures have been introduced elsewhere in Europe in recent days. On Wednesday, Northern Ireland announced a four-week pub and restaurant closure, whilst Scotland’s central belt is currently subject to the same measures for a two-week period.
The Catalonian government’s decision is a stark contrast to developments in Madrid, where the right-wing regional government has fought the imposition of a partial lockdown by Spain’s central government.
The infection rate in Catalonia is considerably lower than the Spanish capital, at 263 cases per 100,000. The current figure in Madrid is currently around 490 cases per 100,000, although the infection rate had stood at 780 earlier in October.
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