Covid-19 certificate use extended to restaurants, gyms and care homes, pending court go-ahead
Government says increase in transmissions, especially among under 12s and 30 to 49 age group, "already noticeable" in hospitals
The use of EU Covid-19 certificates will be extended to indoor dining areas of bars and restaurants, regardless of their capacity, as well as gyms, sports centers, and elderly care home visitors in Catalonia if greenlighted by the High Court.
The government announced the measure on Tuesday after expressing concern about worsening indicators.
In a press conference, spokesperson Patrícia Plaja said that the increase in transmissions, especially among under 12s and 30 to 49 age group, is "already noticeable" in hospitals.
The cabinet intends for the new regulation to come into force on Thursday at midnight, as long as Catalonia's High Court approves it in time – usually, judges take one to two days to rule on restrictions.
In the Basque Country, where authorities had attempted to require health passes in nightclubs and restaurants with more than 50 diners, the Basque High Court ruled against the proposed restriction on Monday.
At the moment, Covid health passes demonstrating proof of vaccination, having had the virus, or a recent negative test are required in Catalonia to enter nightclubs or attend events in hotels and restaurants with indoor dance floors.
Curfew for restaurants and nightclubs being discussed
This comes only a few hours after it was revealed that Spain is considering tightening Covid-19 restrictions again due to the current surge in transmissions, 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.
Despite the increase in transmissions, spokesperson Plaja also said that the government celebrates that the vaccine rollout is picking up pace again.
Indeed, over 174,000 people have received a dose in the past week, although over 108,000 of those were booster shots.
The vaccine rollout began in Catalonia on December 27, 2020. As of November 22, 2021, 6,022,396 residents have been given the first dose of the vaccine, 76.1% of the total population. Out of those, 5,202,959 have also been administered a second dose (65.8% of the total population). 5,929,396 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.