Catalonia lifts county mobility restrictions as more Covid measures are eased
Bars and restaurants could reopen in evening in two weeks’ time
People can now move freely across Catalonia as of March 15 as long as they stay within their social bubble and fill in a self-responsible statement detailing the purpose of their journey.
County-level restrictions were lifted on Monday, putting an end to months of mobility limitations over coronavirus concerns, ranging from strict municipal lockdowns to a more permissive Christmas holiday allowing for travel to see relatives and friends.
Other measures that have been eased until at least March 28 include the weekend ban on opening non-essential stores, which is no longer in place, while large retail stores are now allowed to have up to 800 sqm open to the public as long as they are at 30% capacity.
Bingo and gaming halls can now reopen, sports competitions for under 16s can resume, and festivals, galas, and awards ceremonies are no longer prohibited.
Opening restaurants in the evening
In an interview with La 2 and Ràdio 4 on Monday, Catalan government spokesperson Meritxell Budó said it was time to begin considering reopening bars and restaurants in the evening in two weeks', past their current 5 pm closing time, given the favorable downward trend in Covid-19 figures.
"Now is the time to ease the pressure on businesses and people," Budó argued.
According to the politician, this could imply possibly pushing the curfew back another hour, from 10 pm to 11 pm, to provide people with enough time to dine out.
Over the Easter holidays, from March 26 to April 9, a number of other measures will be in place to prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases during a period that typically sees more travel than usual.
Regional borders within Spain will remain shut and the curfew will remain in place. Public gatherings will be limited to four people indoors or six people outside, while private gatherings amongst people who do not live together will not be allowed.
Covid-19 vaccine rollout
Authorities expect to be able to gradually begin to vaccinate the general population in April if doses arrive as planned.
According to public health secretary Marc Ramentol, the health system is prepared to do so starting with people in the oldest age groups who have not yet received the jab as well as those with chronic health issues.
Catalonia is studying legal mechanisms that would allow it to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to over 55s despite Spain's ban, Ramentol said, adding that there was currently no definitive causal evidence linking the shot to blood clots.