Nightclubs to reopen in Spanish regions with low Covid risk
Catalonia will not reactivate sector just yet, says health minister Josep Maria Argimon
Spanish authorities agreed on Wednesday to reopen nightclubs in regions with a coronavirus risk deemed to be low.
In a meeting between Spain's Health minister and regional governments, officials agreed to lift restrictions in regions reporting 50 or fewer cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the previous 14 days (IA14), among other conditions.
Places at medium-level risk that have 50 to 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, such as Catalonia, will be able to decide whether they wish to reactivate the sector just yet — something health minister Josep Maria Argimon said on Thursday would not occur this weekend.
"Will we reopen this weekend? No," he said. "We will make an announcement when the time comes."
In Catalonia, the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants stands at 110.
"We must learn lessons from last summer"
Carolina Darias · Spain's Health minister
As per these criteria, the last time Catalonia would have been considered low-risk was July 9, 2020.
The goal set by the Health Ministry, according to its head Carolina Darias, is to "gradually return to normality." The minister is wary of speeding up the reopening and says "we must learn lessons from last summer."
Catalonia could still decide to reopen nightlife
Spanish and regional authorities agreed that territories with an incidence rate over the past 14 days considered to be 'medium risk,' which includes Catalonia, should be allowed to decide whether to reopen the sector.
Catalan health minister Josep Maria Argimon has said that nightclubs should be able to reopen soon, as long as it is done in a regulated manner, as this could reduce the number of people meeting in public spaces to drink at night. But on Thursday he made clear that this will not happen this weekend.
Since the end of the nightly curfew almost one month ago, thousands of people have been gathering in spots such as the beaches and large squares, with police having to intervene and break up the groups.
The former health secretary general is in favor of allowing nightlife to reopen soon without suggesting any timeframe, and only as long as the pandemic indicators remain positive.
"Nightlife should open soon, we don’t have a specific date, but we need to have regulated nightlife," he said in a media briefing.
He acknowledged that the opening of nightclubs will not totally prevent groups from drinking in public, but said it would "help" reduce the number. "Young people also need recreation," he added.