Government considers reimposing curfew as local councils may struggle to break up nightly crowds
Barcelona demands "clarity" as to whether beaches should be cordoned off after closure of key public spaces recommended
The Catalan government is considering re-imposing a curfew in order to fight the fifth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. This restriction was lifted on May 9 after being in place for 195 days.
Its legal services gave their go-ahead to enforcing it as long as it is only for the regions with a higher rate of transmissions.
New restrictions were announced on Monday, including a forced closure of all activities held in public spaces from 12:30 am, but not a curfew.
Yet, the executive's lawyers began to look into a recent Valencian high court decision that allows the cabinet in the territory south of Catalonia to re-impose the restriction in certain towns.
After the judicial decision in Valencia, Catalonia's legal services were asked to prepare a report on whether a Catalan decree would be greenlighted by courts.
Because the restriction would affect fundamental rights and Spain is no longer under a state of alarm, Catalan authorities must obtain court approval before implementing said measure once again.
According to government spokesperson Patrícia Plaja, the decision in Valencia "paves the way" for Catalonia, although she did not imply that authorities would necessarily reinstate the measure either.
New measures pending court
The measures announced on Monday will not come into force unless the Catalan high court (TSJC) greenlights the 10-person limit gatherings once again.
Plaja believes the new restrictions will be in place before the weekend.
On Monday, the cabinet also advised local authorities to close all public places where crowds have been gathering from 12:30 am to 6 am, such as parks and beaches.
Yet, this has caused some stir, especially among municipalities in the metropolitan area, since they believe they do not have the resources to oversee all beaches, squares, and parks in which large gatherings can occur at night.
Indeed, Barcelona mayor, Ada Colau, demanded "clarity" as to whether beaches should be cordoned off.
In an interview with Catalunya Ràdio station, she said that recommendations are "ambiguous," since she believes that the government is trying to impose "an informal curfew."
"When activities are closed at 12:30 am, tens of thousands of people are in the streets, and this is not forbidden," she stated.
Local representatives of Barcelona and other entities held a meeting with a number of Catalan ministers on Tuesday in order to coordinate police operations.
"Sending a police car to every park, beach, and places that can potentially host crowds from 12:30 am is not possible," Plaja said. "Administrations are doing their job, but we call on people to be responsible."