Covid-19 restrictions extended without changes until April 9
Measures in force over Easter include permission to travel across Catalonia with same bubble, 10 pm curfew and bars not offering on-site dinners
The Covid-19 restrictions in Catalonia have been extended without changes until April 9.
The health department senior official, Marc Ramentol, announced it at noon on Thursday, arguing that the change of trend in the pandemic does not permit further de-escalation.
This means that the measures currently in force will also be in operation over Easter, including permission to travel across Catalonia as long as it is with the same bubble, a 10 pm curfew and limited opening hours for bars and restaurants.
Restaurants and bars will continue open from 7:30 am to 5 pm straight – takeaway can be provided until 10 pm and delivery services until 11 pm, but dining areas must remain shut.
As for mobility, the county-level lockdown will continue lifted, meaning people can freely travel within Catalonia as long as they are only with their social bubble and fill out a self-responsibility statement. Regional borders within Spain will remain closed over Easter.
The curfew, introduced in late October 2020, will continue between 10 pm and 6 am except for justifiable reasons – the Spanish government was considering stopping all non-essential activities at 8 pm during Easter but in the end, the proposal was dismissed, with cabinets such as Catalonia's against it.
Other restrictions over Easter include that public gatherings will be limited to four people indoors or six people outside. Private gatherings are not allowed except among people who live together.
Concerns over mobility and ICUs
Ramentol has said that the health department is concerned about the increase in mobility over the past weekend – the first weekend after the county-level lockdown was lifted – as well as the predicted increase in journeys due to take place over Easter.
Yet, he made clear that this movement "is not a risk in itself, but what is is the possibility that separate bubbles come into contact."
Thus, Ramentol has asked the public to travel exclusively with their household, as the current regulations already state – interior minister Miquel Sàmper has also predicted that the increase of mobility for Easter-related activities will begin on Friday, particularly from 2 pm to 9 pm and on Saturday, from 11 am to 2 pm.
The other concern that Ramentol has expressed is "the stagnation of patients in ICUs" – authorities expected more days to come of this number decreasing, which as of March 25 still stands at 420.
Last week, the director of the Catalan Health Service (CatSalut), Adrià Comella, said that with the current number of people in intensive care units, a new outbreak could lead to a fourth Covid-19 wave with up to 800 ICU patients – the current intensive care capacity is around 1,000.
Both Ramentol and the public health secretary, Josep Maria Argimon, have confirmed that after the decrease in Covid-19 figures stopped earlier in March, transmissions are once again "slightly increasing."