Complaints from tourism and cultural sectors over new mobility restrictions
Beach towns, ski resorts and theaters face wave of cancelations after government reintroduces measures from Friday
Since the Catalan government announced on Wednesday that they will reintroduce the county-level lockdown from Friday, less than a month after mobility restrictions were eased ahead of the Easter holiday period, a variety of sectors have complained.
Hotels on the Costa Brava, for example, have suffered a series of cancelations of reservations due to the returning limitations on movement. Many had regained hope and reopened after the flood of bookings which took place over the Easter weekend, but now will likely have to close their doors once again, just one week after the success seen during the Setmana Santa holiday.
Beach towns are not the only destinations endangered by the new restrictions - Ski resorts in the Pyrenees will also not be expecting any visitors until at least April 19, the earliest possible date for the easing. The country’s Masella Ski Resort, the only one still open, announced on Wednesday that it will be closing once again from Sunday after the government’s announcement.
Fearing that Barcelona’s beaches and green spaces will be overcrowded as the weather gets warmer and people are not allowed to travel, the Barcelona city council requested that people should be able to move freely within the whole metropolitan area, rather than just the country. The Catalan health minister, Alba Vergés, has said that she understands the council’s concerns, but that a decision demands the consent from all affected municipalities.
New restrictions and the effect on culture
Complaints have also come from cultural sectors - theatercompanies have called for a “cultural permit” for the period of confinement which would recognise it as an essential good and enable the safe circulation of drama companies between counties for performances. They have also uniquely suffered from other covid measures, namely the 50% audience capacity limit and curfew.
On this issue, the Catalan government has made clear that even if tickets were already purchased prior to Wednesday’s announcement about the lockdown, this is not an excuse to break the new rules. If they were bought in advance, people are advised to seek a refund but are firmly reminded to stay in their municipality.
Their claims for a “cultural permit” have been supported by the Association of Representatives, Promoters and Managers in Catalonia, who have also spoken out about the potentially catastrophic effects of the new mobility measures on culture. They have asked the government that these kinds of exceptions are introduced “urgently” in order to “guarantee the survival of cultural activities”.
In response to these anxieties, the Catalan cabinet has said that it is “plausible” that night life will return in summer as will more in-person cultural events, but for that now, it is important to focus all efforts on reducing the potential impact of the fourth wave.