Judiciary gives go-ahead to 12.30 am business closures and 10-person cap on gatherings
Catalan high court allows access to parks and beaches to be limited at night as government's curfew request looms
The Catalan high court (TSJC) has given authorities the go-ahead to have all businesses close and events end by 12.30 am and to limit access to parks, beaches, and other places where crowds tend to gather at night as well as to reimpose a 10-person cap on gatherings.
In a decision made public on Wednesday, the judiciary accepted all of the new restrictions that the Catalan government had requested and that intends to enforce this week as soon as they are published in the official DOGC gazette.
This means all activities, including cultural and music events, in venues that are open to the public, must end by 12.30 am, which is when businesses such as restaurants must be closed too – including for both takeaway and delivery. Attendees must be seated at all events.
Local authorities are advised to close off all public places where crowds tend to gather from 12.30 am to 6 am, such as parks and beaches – something that has caused a stir among some mayors, who have asked for more "clarity" and have requested a full-fledged curfew.
The TSJC did not make any mention of a potential curfew as this has not yet been requested by the cabinet.
However, the government led by President Pere Aragonès is considering the measure, and institutions such as the Barcelona local council already assume that a curfew will be put in place. The Catalan capital is in favor of implementing the measure from 1 am to 6 am.
The local councilor for security, Albert Batlle, said on Wednesday morning that "in a matter of hours, not days," the decision will be made.
"The order of a new curfew is looming," he added, saying that the measure that was lifted on May 9 is likely to last two weeks.
Since the restriction would affect fundamental rights and Spain is no longer under a state of alarm, the Catalan administration is must obtain court approval before implementing the restriction.
Crucial meeting on Wednesday afternoon
President Aragonès will chair an extraordinary coordination meeting on Covid-19 on Wednesday from 5 pm, in which the decision of a new curfew may be made.
Vice President Jordi Puigneró, presidency minister Laura Vilagrà, interior minister Joan Ignasi Elena, health minister Josep Maria Argimon and the cabinet spokesperson, Patrícia Plaja, will also attend.
Aragonès will make an official statement at 7.30 pm to announce the outcome of the meeting.