Government establishes municipality-level lockdown from January 7 for 10 days

Non-essential shops not allowed to open at weekend, as shopping malls forced to close again

A closed down shop in the center of the town of Igualada in Catalonia, October 23, 2020 (by Mar Martí)
A closed down shop in the center of the town of Igualada in Catalonia, October 23, 2020 (by Mar Martí) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 4, 2021 01:33 PM

The sharp worsening of the Covid-19 figures due to the Christmas holidays has prompted the Catalan government to take action and further restrict mobility and social life.

On Monday, the health minister Alba Vergés announced that residents in Catalonia will not be allowed to leave their municipality of residence for 10 days from January 7 and until January 17, including all days of the week.

Only shops of up to 400 sqm will be allowed to open on weekdays, but retail will have to remain closed at the weekend except for those providing essential goods.

Shopping malls will be forced to close again from January 7, as will gyms. 

Leisure activities will also be cancelled, along with extracurricular activities, except for those involving participants belonging to the same group at school. 

The rules for restaurants and cultural venues remain the same as now.

This means that restaurants will continue only to be allowed to open from 7am to 9.30am and from 1pm to 3.30pm. In the evening, take away and delivery services are only permitted.

As for theatres, cinemas and concert halls, they can open at 50% capacity with a maximum capacity of 1,000 people, as long as there is sufficient ventilation and access is controlled, otherwise, the capacity remains at 500.

The home affairs minister, Miquel Sàmper, also confirmed that from January 7, the measures in Ripollès and Cerdanya – in county-level lockdowns now – will be the same as in the rest of the country.

Alt Urgell county and Andorra will no longer be considered as the same county for mobility reasons.

Vergés insisted on the need for "another social stoppage" for 10 days. 

The public health minister, Josep Maria Argimon, added that the recent surge in cases began during the early December long weekend, but was sharper over Christmas. Yet, he said "the total impact" of the festive season is yet to happen. 

Economic measure to compensate closure

Later on Monday, the government announced that it will compensate the shops forced to close during this 10-day period with €2,500 each.

The public expense will be €10 million, after the measure was agreed in a meeting between several cabinet members including interim president Pere Aragonès, and the sectors affected. 

The rules to apply will be announced and published in the official gazette DOGC in the coming days, but the executive has already made clear that those shops allowed to open during weekdays but forced to closed at the weekend will not be able to claim the economic help.