Court greenlights Covid pass for restaurants, gyms, and care homes from Friday
Pandemic indicators in Catalonia have worsened over past few weeks
Covid-19 certificates will be needed to enter bars, restaurants, gyms, and to visit elderly care home residents in Catalonia from Friday.
The new restriction will be in force for two weeks before, as always, authorities will again review the measures in force and decide on whether to extend them or alter them in any way.
It remains to be seen whether the measure will be extended to other establishments in the coming days after health authorities recommended introducing the use of Covid passes to enter cinemas and theatres.
The High Court greenlighted the measure on Thursday after the government first announced it on Tuesday after expressing concern about worsening indicators.
In a press conference on Tuesday, government spokesperson Patrícia Plaja said that the increase in transmissions, especially among under 12s and 30 to 49 age group, is "already noticeable" in hospitals.
Visits to primary care centers have gone up 36% in the past week due to Covid-19.
Up to now, Covid health passes demonstrating proof of vaccination, recovery from the virus, or a recent negative test have been required in Catalonia to enter nightclubs or attend events in hotels and restaurants with indoor dance floors.
Curfew for restaurants and nightclubs being discussed
Also this week, it was revealed that Spain is considering tightening Covid-19 restrictions again, and limiting the opening hours of nightclubs is among the measures being discussed.
The public health committee, which includes the Spanish health ministry as well as those of regional governments such as Catalonia's, could propose an 11 pm curfew for bars and restaurants, and force nightclubs to close by 1 am, as the ministry confirmed to the Catalan News Agency (ACN) after newspaper La Vanguardia first broke the news.
9-month limit for Covid certs
The European Commission has proposed reducing the validity time of the Covid-19 Digital Certificate for travelling between countries from twelve months to nine.
The proposal was made as it becomes more apparent that immunity among the vaccinated population begins to wane over time.
"Beyond 9 months [the certificate] will not be recognized," said European justice commissioner Didier Reynders.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has stated that immunity begins to be lost six months after the second dose is given, but has added three extra months to this permitted time period to travel so that vaccination campaigns can be adjusted.
Brussels hopes that the 27 will give the green light to this proposal and that it will enter into force on 10 January.
Despite the increase in transmissions, spokesperson Plaja also said that the government celebrates that the vaccine rollout is picking up pace again.
Indeed, over 191,336 people have received a jab in the past week, although 132,715 of those were booster shots.
The vaccine rollout began in Catalonia on December 27, 2020. As of November 24, 2021, 6,029,738 residents have been given the first dose of the vaccine, 76.2% of the total population. Out of those, 5,217,146 have also been administered a second dose (66% of the total population). 5,935,982 residents are considered to be fully immunized (74.8%).
Under 65s who have already had the virus are only required to have the first dose, and others have received a single-dose jab. Therefore, the % of two doses administered and % fully immunized do not match.
As of November 24, 2021, Catalonia has administered 523,690 booster shots to these groups.