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End of night curfew could come before May 9, say health officials

"The measure has been effective, but it’s taken an emotional toll on people," says Catalan government

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19 April 2021 11:28 AM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Health officials in Catalonia have opened the door to lifting the night curfew, in place since last October, before Spain’s state of alarm automatically expires on May 9.

Confining people to their homes from 10pm to 6am, the measure has remained in place ever since last fall, even when other restrictions to contain the coronavirus pandemic were eased as epidemiological indicators improved.

"The curfew has been an effective measure, but it has taken an emotional toll on people," Marc Ramentol, the Catalan government’s secretary-general for Health, said in a radio interview.

  • "I don’t know if we need to wait until May 9 to reconsider it"

    Marc Ramentol · Catalan government’s secretary-general for Health

Being a measure which restricts the fundamental right to freedom of movement, the Catalan government feared it lacked the authority to impose a curfew amid a surge in infections last fall, and asked Spain to declare a state of alarm to invoke extraordinary powers.

The Spanish government set a minimum curfew from 12 am to 5 am, and allowed regional authorities to extend it as much as 10 pm to 7 am.

Just like the county lockdown currently in place, exceptions to the curfew include people who have to leave their homes to work, take care of dependent people and for health reasons, among other extraordinary circumstances.

In the radio interview, which aired on Sunday, Ramentol also said that the pandemic emergency will be far from over after May 9, and explained that they will study legal mechanisms to impose a new curfew if needed.

Interior minister Miquel Sàmper said last week that police had detected a rise in illegal parties violating both the night ban and the limit of six people for social gatherings.

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  • The deserted 'Rambla Nova' street in Tarragona just after 10pm, the day the curfew was introduced (by Eloi Tost)

  • The deserted 'Rambla Nova' street in Tarragona just after 10pm, the day the curfew was introduced (by Eloi Tost)

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